Pioneers of Affective Computing

Machine learning is beginning to move into the business world. Affective computing is a technology which helps in recognizing human decision making through analyzing facial expressions, heart rate, voice and other body parameters. Brands, advertisers and market researchers need to understand consumer emotional engagement with their brand content. Rana el Kaliouby and Rosalind Picard, who co-founded Affectiva, are the pioneers of affective computing. Affectiva, spun out of MIT media lab, has created a way to measure emotions in human-computer interaction by teaching computers to recognize human emotions in facial expressions and in speech.

Affectiva co-founder Rana el Kaliouby says:

Today, our lives play out in a digital world. We are surrounded by lots of hyper-connected systems, smart devices and advanced AI (artificial intelligence) systems. In other words, lots of IQ, but no EQ (emotional intelligence). That’s a problem, especially as our interactions with technology are becoming more conversational and relational.

Just look at how we use our mobile devices and interact with intelligent agents such as Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. These technologies that are designed to interact with humans need emotional intelligence to be effective. Specifically, they need to be able to sense human emotions and then adapt their operation accordingly. My company, Affectiva, is on a mission to humanize technology with artificial emotional intelligence, or as I like to call it: Emotion AI.

Artificial emotional intelligence which Affectiva calls Emotion AI, is also known as emotion recognition or emotion detection technology. In market research, this is commonly referred to as facial coding. The face provides a rich canvas of emotion. Emotions influence consumer behavior and decision making. Understanding consumer emotional engagement with digital content, such as videos and ads, is key to creating the best ads and optimizing media spend. Affectiva’s facial coding solution provides deep insight into unfiltered and unbiased consumer emotional responses to digital content.

The effects of artificial intelligence and global affective computing market will be magnified in the coming decade, as manufacturing, retailing, transportation, finance, health care, law, advertising, insurance, entertainment, education, and virtually every other industry transform their core processes and business models to take advantage of affective computing solutions such as face expression recognition and speech recognition.