Saturday, June 8, 2013

Kids: Do You Think Robots Should Be Programmed to Recognize Human Emotions?

"If Our Gadgets Could Measure Our Emotions

ON a recent family outing, my mother and sister got into a shouting match. But they weren’t mad at each other — they were yelling at the iPhone’s turn-by-turn navigation system. I interrupted to say that the phone didn’t understand — or care — that they were upset.

“Honey, we know,” my mom replied. “But it should!”
She had a point. After all, computers and technology are becoming only smarter, faster and more intuitive. Artificial intelligence is creeping into our lives at a steady pace. Devices and apps can anticipate what we need, sometimes even before we realize it ourselves. So why shouldn’t they understand our feelings? If emotional reactions were measured, they could be valuable data points for better design and development. Emotional artificial intelligence, also called affective computing, may be on its way.

But should it be? After all, we’re already struggling to cope with the always-on nature of the devices in our lives. Yes, those gadgets would be more efficient if they could respond when we are frustrated, bored or too busy to be interrupted, yet they would also be intrusive in ways we can’t even fathom today. It sounds like a science-fiction movie, and in some ways it is. Much of this technology is still in its early stages, but it’s inching closer to reality.

Companies like Affectiva, a start-up spun out of the M.I.T. Media Lab, are working on software that trains computers to recognize human emotions based on their facial expressions and physiological responses. A company called Beyond Verbal, which has just raised close to $3 million in venture financing, is working on a software tool that can analyze speech and, based on the tone of a person’s voice, determine whether it indicates qualities like arrogance or annoyance, or both..."

Read the full article at its source:

Student Focus Question(s):  Do you think that robots should recognize human  emotions?All robots or just some of them? Which types of robots  do you feel would be better if they could  recognize emotions? Which emotions would be most useful? If a robot couild recognize and react to human emotions, would that make it more like a real person or would it simply be a machine that worked better to serve humans?After thinking about this, you can enter your response using the "Comments" function, below (to the left of the envelope icon). Feel free to identify your school and/or class....

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