What is Affective Computing?


Affective computing is the idea that humans can program machines to recognize, interpret, process and simulate the range of human emotions. This concept centers on the development of programs and hardware that create the faculties for a computer to do this, such as implementing a video camera to capture facial cues and gestures that works in conjunction with an algorithm that can detect and interpret these human affects. Not to be confused with facial recognition technologies associated with security, like those that facilitate secure payment transactions, affective computers recognize emotional and behavioral cues that trigger a reactionary process in the computer. A potential application of affective computing is in online learning situations wherein a computerized tutor reacts to facial cues of boredom in a student in an effort to motivate or boost their confidence. With researchers already working on educational applications, and start-up companies exploring other novel uses, growth in the field of affective computing has deep implications for the future of human and computer interactions.

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1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Learning is at least in part based on emotions, so any opportunity to rule out emotions as a factor that prevents learning could be valuable. Sometimes instructors are unable to respond to cultural or behavioral queues, so having a machine that could do this, and potentially even alert the instructor, could be very valuable. - deone.zell deone.zell Sep 18, 2016deone.zell
  • I believe this belongs in educational games where students are required to learn how to interact and communicate as part of their professional competency. It of course wouldnt hurt for all learners, and many others to be able to practice their social skills, and communication techniques. Especially as it comes to different cultures. (- rneuron rneuron Sep 27, 2016)
  • 7 Things You Should Know About Affective Computing - - mayaig mayaig Oct 3, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Deep and Machine Learning
    Deep and Machine Learning is likely to help bring in innovations to teaching and learning. Smart Flower recognition system is an example. This reminds me of Genome matching databases etc that has been around for sometime. I feel innovations in technology with deep and machine learning would mean that there can be more novel applications, which allow students to say for instance, take a photo, research on information on that, communicate on that etc. Searches need not be restricted to texts. It could be by pictures, voices. - nacha_sockalingam nacha_sockalingam Sep 30, 2016. [Editor's Note: Adding here from RQ2.]
  • Machine Learning This may be a stretch in the 5 year horizon, but a vast amount of work is being done in this field. At CMU, we've been talking with colleagues in our Machine Learning Department (http://www.ml.cmu.edu/) about implications for sophisticated information retrieval and mining technologies. I could imagine a world in which searches are personalized and enhanced, targeting highly relevant material to the individual searcher. - cmkeithw cmkeithw Nov 11, 2016 Agree that machine and deep learning tech will have big impact on personalized and pro-active tailoring of information environments, and applications are entering the market quite fast - erik.stattin erik.stattin Nov 13, 2016 [Editor's Note: This discussion was added here from RQ2.]

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • Acellerated learning and the recognition by instructors of the role that emotions play in learning, and the ability to act on this knowledge. - deone.zell deone.zell Sep 18, 2016deone.zell
  • The ability to put this kind of tool into a format that learners and faculty could use for practice, and provide an objective assessment will be key and will be highly used. There are likely many ways it could be used outside of higher education too. (- rneuron rneuron Sep 27, 2016)

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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