YSUY: Your Smartphone Understands You - Using Machine Learning to Address Fundamental Human Needs

Ayten Ozge Akmandor, Xiaoliang Dai, Niraj K. Jha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Most machine learning (ML) models are geared toward improving some desired metric like classification accuracy or inference latency. Given the significant successes of such models, especially supervised ones, in addressing such metrics, the time has come to ask if they can also be put to direct use in understanding the users and addressing basic human needs, e.g., subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation, leisure, creation, identity, and freedom. A prerequisite to addressing such human needs is that the ML models exhibit a basic grasp of human psychology. In this article, we present ML models that can be embedded in our smartphone and enable it to understand us. We call this system your smartphone understands you (YSUY). YSUY uses wearable medical sensors to understand our physical, mental, and four-class (two-class) emotional states with 90.0%, 90.3%, and 98.4% (99.5%) accuracy, respectively. After verifying YSUY's ability to understand the human condition from various perspectives, we evaluate the relationship between the different states and discuss how YSUY can be taken one step further to start playing a helpful role in addressing human needs of the types mentioned above from four different perspectives: 'being,' 'doing,' 'having,' and 'interacting.' We show that YSUY is a a promising candidate for adapting ML models to human-centric needs. We view this only as an initial step, hopefully, spurring other researchers to investigate the relationship between ML models and fulfilling human needs in much greater depth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7553-7568
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Affection
  • Internet-of-Things (IoT)
  • classification
  • creation
  • emotional state
  • freedom
  • human needs
  • identity
  • inference
  • leisure
  • machine learning (ML)
  • mental state
  • participation
  • physical activity
  • physical state
  • protection
  • smartness
  • smartphone
  • state
  • subsistence
  • wearable medical sensors (WMSs)


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