Emotional AI: Japan and UK Final Report on a Conversation Between Cultures

Lachlan Urquhart, A McStay, Peter Mantello, Vian Bakir

Research output: Book/ReportOther report

Abstract / Description of output

Usage of emotional AI across all aspects of society in the UK and Japan, two of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, is fast increasing. It raises urgent questions about the body, intimacy, identity, relationships, intrusiveness, dignity, manipulation and reliability of data inferences. The aim of this scoping project has been to understand ethical questions around emergence of these technologies in Japan and the UK, but also to find out what we can learn from each other.
To this end, we ran 3 workshops, 2 in Japan at the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific
University’s Tokyo campus in July 2019 and 1 in the UK at the Digital Catapult in September 2019. The first workshop on July 9th considered the impact of emotional AI on commercial and civic life. The second workshop on 12th July examined
security and policing uses of emotional AI. At the final workshop, we
further reflected on lessons from Japan, and engaged with UK
stakeholders for their perspectives on key emotional AI issues. This
short report documents key themes that emerged from discussions at
the various events. We had a wide diversity of participants from a range
of disciplinary backgrounds, including: anthropology, new media
studies, philosophy, computing, law, art, literature, journalism and
criminology, to name but a few. This led to a range of opinions and
The first workshop considered the potential of emotional AI,
exploring social benefits and harms. We considered the technologies and
their commercial applications in Japan and the UK. We also examined
how citizens might feel about them, why they would feel this way and
what laws and governance that guide these technologies are aiming to
do in order to enable citizens to live well with emotional AI. With the
second workshop, we explored the deployment of emotional AI in a
range of security and law enforcement contexts, particularly with
predictive policing and visual surveillance. We also examined recent
trends around voice and facial recognition technologies, particularly at
borders and in public spaces; the role of smart bots in manipulating and
triggering user emotions in social media and their use in computational
propaganda shaping civic discourse. With the third workshop, we
examined our preliminary analysis from the Japanese workshops and
considered future commercial and research agendas.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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