Can AI Learn to Understand Emotions? -- NOVA Next PBS


Growing up in Egypt in the 1980s, Rana el Kaliouby was fascinated by hidden languages--the rapid-fire blinks of 1s and 0s computers use to transform electricity into commands and the infinitely more complicated nonverbal cues that teenagers use to transmit volumes of hormone-laden information to each other. Culture and social stigma discouraged girls like el Kaliouby in the Middle East from hacking either code, but she wasn't deterred. When her father brought home an Atari video game console and challenged the three el Kaliouby sisters to figure out how it worked, Rana gleefully did. When she wasn't allowed to date, el Kaliouby studied her peers the same way that she did the Atari. "I was always the first one to say'Oh, he has a crush on her' because of all of the gestures and the eye contact," she says.

Response to Sloman's Review of Affective Computing

AI Magazine

Sloman was one of the first in the AI community to write about the role of emotion in computing (Sloman and Croucher 1981), and I value his insight into theories of emotional and intelligent systems. Alas, Sloman's review dwells largely on some details related to unknown features of human emotion; hence, I don't think the review captures the flavor of the book. However, he does raise interesting points, as well as potential misunderstandings, both of which I am grateful for the opportunity to comment on. Sloman writes that I "welcome emotion detectors in a wide range of contexts and relationships, for example, teacher and pupil." This might sound innocuous, but its presumption of the existence of emotion detectors is not.

Building Emotional Artifacts in Social Worlds: Challenges and Perspectives

AAAI Conferences

This paper discusses ideas relative to the construction of emotional artifacts that have to interact in a social world, and in particular with humans. It first examines some of the ways in which emotions can enhance social interactions with artifacts, and some of the challenges posed to the designer. After considering the debate that opposes "shallow" versus "deep" modeling, it sketches some ways in which we can anchor emotions in the architecture of artifacts in order to make emotional interactions meaningful not only to the human, but also to the artifact itself. It finally outlines some of the cognitive capabilities that artifacts should incorporate for their emotions to be properly grounded and to give rise to rich social exchanges with humans.

Empathy: The Killer App for Artificial Intelligence


After studying the tribe, which was still living in the preliterate state it had been in since the Stone Age, Ekman believed he had found the blueprint for a set of universal human emotions and related expressions that crossed cultures and were present in all humans. A decade later he created the Facial Action Coding System, a comprehensive tool for objectively measuring facial movement. Ekman's work has been used by the FBI and police departments to identify the seeds of violent behavior in nonverbal expressions of sentiment. He has also developed the online Atlas of Emotions at the behest of the Dalai Lama. And today his research is being used to teach computer systems how to feel.