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  • Can a device ever hope to understand human emotion?
  • Can a device ever hope to understand human emotion?
    Dennis Yang, Creative Commons (2012) ©
CASE STUDY

Affectiva: emotionally intelligent technology

The day when your phone can automatically comfort you when you’re down is a long way off. But emotionally intelligent tech is on the rise, with Affectiva’s Affdex helping the likes of Unilever and CBS to gauge reactions to shows and adverts. Can algorithms judge emotions better than humans?

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Scope
Imagine whipping your smartphone out after a hard day at the office and hearing it ask “Is something wrong?” after scanning your angry expression. While this use of emotion analytics is a way off, a number of companies are working to make this sci-fi future a modern reality.

On-screen worlds like Her and Ex-Machina depict how emotionally intelligent tech might fit into our lives, but scientists developing artificial intelligence in the real world have always prioritised IQ over EI. Yet some feel this approach neglects an important facet of human-computer interaction, suggesting that for AI to ever progress as ...

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