Did a computer really pierce Apple CEO's emotional distortion field?

By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
October 13, 2013

FORTUNE — Steve Jobs’ emotions are on display — literally — in a Sunday New York Times story about call centers, of all things.

To illustrate how new advances in voice analysis and emotion recognition could help customer service reps better deal with distraught customers, Technophoria columnist Natasha Singer points readers to the attached YouTube video.

It purports to show how software developed by a Tel Aviv-based start-up called Beyond Verbal was able to pierce the veil of Jobs’ words to show what Apple’s AAPL co-founder was really feeling in one of his last public appearances.

The video on the lower right shows Jobs talking about the iPad in 2010. The panels of text above are the output, according to the Times, of Beyond Verbal’s mood analysis software.

Put me down as curious but skeptical.

It’s one thing to tell from tone of voice whether a caller is angry or frustrated. It’s quite another for a machine to hear “loneliness” and “childish egotism” in the voice of a character as tightly wound as Steve Jobs.

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