Does kindness make us happy?

Synthesis Software Technologies, a software development company that uses innovative technologies to make businesses competitive, has launched an AI-powered app in honour of International Happiness Day. The idea?  To test if kindness makes us happy. The company is calling it the Happiness App.

The app asks users to perform an act of kindness and then smile. The artificial intelligence then reads the person’s face and calculates their happiness score. The user is then promoted to share their score on social media and ask others to continue to spread happiness.

International Happiness Day takes place every year on the 20th of March. This was implemented by the United Nations calling for progress to increase happiness.

Synthesis saw this day as an opportunity to use technology for good. “We are officially extending International Happiness Day for a week – because why limit happiness?” says Howard Feldman, Synthesis Head of Marketing and People.

Numerous charities have joined Synthesis and are using this as an additional fundraising tool. Choc, Woodrock Animal Shelter, Afrika Tikkun, SA Harvest and Nasua Children’s Charity Foundation are just a few of many charities that have jumped on board to spread happiness. 

Synthesis designed the app with a space to insert a charity of choice so every charity can gain the assistance it needs. The company has also not limited acts of kindness to donations so everyone can perform an act of kindness that resonates with them.

The company will be collecting the information to see what acts lead to the greatest happiness and how far happiness has spread.

“We used computer vision deep neural nets to analyse facial expressions and gauge a participant’s happiness. The bigger the smile, the higher the score,” explains Marais Neethling, Synthesis Principle of Artificial Intelligence.

Synthesis has deep data, AI and ML expertise and saw this as an opportunity to spark viral kindness.

Kim Furman, Synthesis Marketing Manager explains: “There is always opportunity – opportunity for the negative and the positive. Today, we are seeing so much of the former. We decided to create an experience that will let people play with technology and use it for something good, even if it is a small act. The app is charity agnostic, easy to use and hopefully a catalyst for some much-needed kindness. We are excited to see what people do and the effects it will have. What is small to us can be magnanimous to someone else.”