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Emotional AI report launched by international team of investigators

Wed 23 October 2019

emotional ai

A new report on ‘Cross Cultural Conversations on Emotional AI in Japan and the UK’ has been launched by a team of academics comprising Dr Lachlan Urquhart (Co-I – Edinburgh Law School), Prof Andrew McStay (PI – Bangor University), Prof Vian Bakir (Co-I – Bangor University), and Prof Peter Mantello (Co-I – Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University/APU). The report documents work completed by the team and forms part of their ESRC-AHRC funded UK-Japan SSH Connections grant on Emotional AI.

The report charts the emergence of emotional AI technologies in UK and Japan, beginning a cross cultural discussion about the societal, ethical, interactional, and regulatory implications of emotion sensing in robotics, internet of things, and social media.

The team ran a series of workshops in Japan and the UK this summer and autumn with nearly 30 stakeholders from industry, academia, NGOs, and civil society. The full list includes attendees from: New School for Social Research in New York, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU), Bangor University, University of Edinburgh, Northumbria University, University of Cambridge, Keele University, Kyoto University, Freie Universität Berlin, Meiji University, University of Sheffield, Rikko University, University of British Columbia Chapel Hill University, Chuo University, Japanese Ministry of Defence, Digital Catapult, Sensum, Nvidia, Sensing Feeling, Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, Privacy International, Dyson School of Design Engineering, Internet of Things Privacy Forum, Coventry University, ITD-GBS Tokyo, Doshisha University UK Cabinet Office & Independent artists.

Two workshops were hosted in Tokyo in July, and following this the investigators visited APU to deliver a series of talks. In September, another workshop was delivered at the Digital Catapult in London. The report explores and develops on points discussed at these events, such as the importance of not just designing Emotional AI for privacy, but also for wider notions of societal respect. The challenges of unpacking how emotion is sensed and modelled by these technologies was also a key focus, with this latter point being explored in more detail in a recently published journal paper from Dr Urquhart and Prof McStay.

The report is available in both English and Japanese. For more information on the project and report, please see the project homepage and Dr Urquhart’s recent research blogpost.