Dell is working on software for existing brain-reading headsets that can accurately identify a user's mood, the company says.

The company could release a mood-reading app as soon as 2017, according to the BBC.

Dell's head of research and development Jai Menon said the company's mood-reading tech has applications both at home and in the workplace, which frankly is worrying.

What will the office be like if you can't pretend you're happy and productive whenever the boss walks by?

Dystopia rising

Companies monitoring workers' moods directly is straight out of dystopian sci-fi, but Menon is optimistic.

He said Dell researchers have used brain activity headsets by companies like Neurosky to identify users' moods about 50% of the time.

These headsets cost anywhere from $100 (£60, AU$108) to $200 (£120, AU$217), which makes it easy to imagine overbearing corporations buying them in bulk once the tech improves.

Menon suggests Dell's software might sense when a worker is concentrating and automatically direct incoming calls to voicemail, or suggest they take a break if they've been concentrating for a while. There are possibilities for gaming as well.

Of course it could also administer workers a small electric shock if they take too many breaks.

Maybe that's just paranoia talking, but then again, every website you visit is also allegedly doing experiments on you, so maybe not.