What happens when media technologies are able to interpret our feelings, emotions, moods, and intentions? In this cutting edge new book, Andrew McStay explores that very question and argues that these abilities result in a form of technological empathy. Offering a balanced and incisive overview of the issues raised by ‘Emotional AI’, this book: • Provides a clear account of the social benefits and drawbacks of new media trends and technologies such as emoji, wearables and chatbots • Demonstrates through empirical research how ‘empathic media’ have been developed and introduced both by start-ups and global tech corporations such as Facebook • Helps readers understand the potential implications on everyday life and social relations through examples such as video-gaming, facial coding, virtual reality and cities • Calls for a more critical approach to the rollout of emotional AI in public and private spheres Combining established theory with original analysis, this book will change the way students view, use and interact with new technologies. It should be required reading for students and researchers in media, communications, the social sciences and beyond.
Chapter 1: Introducing Empathic Media
Introducing Empathic Media
Emotions matter. They are at the core of human experience, shape our lives in the profoundest of ways and help us decide what is worthy of our attention. The idea behind this book is to explore what happens when media technologies are able to interpret feelings, emotions, moods, attention and intention in private and public places. I argue this equates to a technological form of empathy. As we will see, there are many personal and organisational drivers for using technologies to understand how individuals and groups of people feel and see things. These include making technologies easier to use, evolving services, creating new forms of entertainment, giving pleasure, finding novel modes of expression, enhancing communication, cultivating health, enabling education, ...