The Affectional Economy

A technological revolution is now redefining the business of emotion: it is allowing advanced machines to read, recognize, decipher, decode, process and even mirror human emotion. We are entering The Affectional Economy propelled by the rapid rise of affective computing and machine-based emotional reasoning. Through affective computing – machines that can interpret, respond and simulate human emotion – we are building the digital equivalent of human emotional intelligence, and we are quickly reaching a new level of emotional transparency. Computers are starting to learn when to offer people immediate emotional support. That requires a deeper understanding of humans. Many roboticists want to get to a point where robots can successfully manipulate our emotions. Scientists are already using machine-learning algorithms, natural language processing, sentiment analysis and artificial neural networks to build robots that can understand human emotion. As we interact more with voice- and gesture-controlled machines, we may expect them to recognize emotions such as humor and sarcasm. A computer can now unmask hidden bias by scrutinizing people’s body language for signs of prejudice. This is leading to what scientists refer to as artificial general intelligence (AGI) – AI that has some personality and even emotions that allow it to interact naturally with humans and develop motivations to solve problems.

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