The Promise of Affective Computing

Affective computing is really about instruments helping us understand what a person is feeling or what’s going on inside of a person and in a very un-invasive way.  

Affective computing is one group at the MIT Media Lab that is doing a lot of work around sensing things like your heart rate through cameras or your expression through facial expression recognition or through your skin conductivity.


A lot of the work was designed around trying to understand and support autistic children and helping them in their development.  But then it turns out that you can use a lot of these feedback mechanisms and an awful lot of this instrumentation – using sensors to understand what’s going on inside of a human and looking at the people’s responses to political speeches or for marketing and things like that. 

But it’s really about instruments to help understand what a person is feeling or what’s going on inside of a person and in a very un-invasive way.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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