It's all about the feelings... was a performance that takes a peek inside AI and emotion recognition, presented as part of EFI's Love Machine Spring Event Series, with a Q&A chaired by Dr Karen Gregory.
Emotional, empathic, sentiment recognition systems, is an area of AI of significant implication for our current and near future lives. Pitched as capturing ‘real-time emotion’ and ‘non-conscious responses’, they have been developed as a method to measure and map our emotional expressions. Current real world use cases include HR, market research, post-natal parenting and education, near future uses include potential use within border control and a planned integration within the production of all new cars in the EU from 2024.
However, there are serious concerns about both the efficacy of these technologies and the ethics of use. In October 2022, the UK Information Commission warned companies to steer clear of emotional analysis technologies or face fines, due to “pseudoscientific” nature of the field as well as citing the potential of technology to breach people’s rights and break laws. Central to these concerns is the reductive nature of these systems and the problematic standardised categorisations embedded within their databases, which present serious issues of representation and bias, with the potential to reinforce inequalities, including racism, sexism, ageism and ableism.
But how does sentiment recognition technology actually work and how accurate is it? This performance will reveal how emotional AI databases actually work, behind the smoke and mirrors. It will tease out the affect these technologies might have on our near futures and behaviours, and present an opportunity to think about appropriate, fair real-world application and uses of AI technologies.
‘It’s All About the Feelings…’ is a creative research project led by Beverley Hood, an artist and Reader in Technological Embodiment & Creative Practice at the University of Edinburgh, featuring actor, Pauline Goldsmith.
This event was presented by the Centre for Data, Culture and Society, and supported by The New Real, Tramway Supports, Edinburgh College of Art, the Edinburgh Futures Institute, Creative Informatics and Cove Park.