Affective Computing

Attended the Vlab Affective Computing event at the Stanford Business School on May 21, 2015. Zavin Dar, senior associate at Lux Capital moderated and provided an overview of the industry. #vlabAC
  • The three emotion analysis pioneers are Carl-Herman Hjortsjö who first classified human facial movements, that was later adopted on by the psychologist Paul Ekman in developing the Facial Action Coding System. Ekman subsequently creates the Atlas of Emotions with over 10,000 facial expressions. The term Affective Computing was developed by Rosalind Picard of the MIT Media Lab.
  • Can we decipher what emotions really are? Affective Computing digests a scene, processes it using AI, then displays / manipulates it
  • We spend $32 billion a year in consumer research
  • We convey emotions by vocal, gestural, emotional, muscle, skin, heart, and brain.
  • They cited the New York Times best seller book Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.
  • There are many applications for affective computing including education, wellness, healthcare, customer service, advertising, market research and entertainment.
Yuval Mor, CEO of Beyond Verbal spoke about his company:
  • As husbands know, it is not what your wife says, but how she says it, that indicates whether she is happy and relaxed or tense and stressed. Babies can sense this universal language.
  • It is hard to get sensing working in the wild, we are not there yet. As a field, we need to spark the imagination of people.
  • We are giving machines the ability to truly listen.
  • Emotional analysis is language and cultural independent. We have 1.5 million samples from 40 languages to prove it.
  • In essence we can do realtime emotion analytics and discovery.
  • The next phase for our field is listening to our body.
  • We can provide continuous and passive monitoring of Parkinson’s Disease patients by sensing the tone of their voice. It can be used as a device for monitoring pain and overall well being.
  • We can monitor kids with AD behavior and remind parents of appropriate coping behavior skills.
  • How we respond to content. Many people think is unnatural to think about our emotional state and what to do about it. We provide tools that are used to help you get better.
  • It is valuable to know how large crowds react, we can do automatic analysis of the emotions of everyone in the auditorium as they react to what is being said.
  • Our field needs to focus on narrow niches initially, but eventually these techniques will become ubiquitous.
  • Why do some ads work well and others flop? What types of ad are halfway effective?
  • Men are good at sensing emotions in others, but are poor at sensing their own emotions.
The other members of the panel with Rana el Kaliouby, co-founder and chief strategy science officer of Affective, Ken Denman, president and CEO of Emotient, and Mary Czerwinski, principal researcher and manager at Microsoft.
  • Mary designed ways of sending information from a wrist sensor on an autistic child to the cellphones of parents and other caretakers so they could know about the stress their children were under and respond accordingly. She has been in the field for four years.
  • Japanese are very guarded in public, their faces show much more emotion when they are in private.
  • Emotient has raised $20 million. Ken’s daughter is 25 and commented that there wasn’t enough color in a bright blue poster.
  • Different technologies are complementary.
  • Women smile 40% more than men in the United States, whereas there is no different in the United Kingdom.
  • Affective computing apps today are not fun. They need to be infused with social media to be more widely adopted.
  • There is no killer application. It will take time for this technology to happen. We need to validate the space.
  • We can use your cell phone camera to automatically identify your eyes and mouth, and from this, extract data points to extract facial expressions.
  • We can provide objective measurement of patient pain and depression. There are also PTS (post traumatic stress) and concussion diagnosis applications.
  • You have to ask yourself these questions. Are you solving a real problem? How will you deliver value? You will get a lot of conflicting advice, so ultimately you’ll have to go with your gut feeling.