Get ready for compassionate computers that feel your pain, share your joy, and generally get where you’re coming from. Computers that can tell by your voice whether you’re pumped up or feeling down, or sense changes in heart rate, skin, or muscle tension to determine your mood. Empathetic electronics that you can relate to.
But wait a minute – we don’t always relate to other humans. Our behavior can be impulsive and even self-sabotaging – our emotions are often conflicted and irrational. We cry when we’re happy. Frown when we’re pensive. A suite of factors, much of them out of our control, govern how we behave, from genes to hormones to childhood experience.
One study says that all it takes for a defendant to receive a harsher sentence is a reduction in the presiding judge’s blood sugar.
So grab a cookie, and find out how the heck we can build computers that understand us anyway.
- Rosalind Picard – Professor at the MIT Media Lab and co-founder of the companies Affectiva and Empatica.
Robert Sapolsky – Professor of neuroscience at Stanford University, and author of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst.