The importance of emotional expression as part of human communication has been understood since the seventeenth century, and has been explored scientifically since Charles Darwin and others in the nineteenth century. Recent advances in Psychology have greatly improved our understanding of the role of affect in communication, perception, decision-making, attention and memory. At the same time, advances in technology mean that it is becoming possible for machines to sense, analyse and express emotions. We can now consider how these advances relate to each other and how they can be brought together to influence future research in perception, attention, learning, memory, communication, decision-making and other applications.
In the video below, Peter Robinson surveys recent advances in theories of emotion and affect, their embodiment in computational systems, the implications for general communications, and broader applications. The combination of new results in psychology with new techniques of computation on new technologies will enable new applications in commerce, education, entertainment, security, therapy and everyday life. However, there are important issues of privacy and personal expression that must also be considered.
Perter Robinson is Professor of Computer Technology in the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, where he leads the Rainbow Research Group working on computer graphics and interaction. Professor Robinson’s research concerns problems at the boundary between people and computers. This involves investigating new technologies to enhance communication between computers and their users, and new applications to exploit these technologies. He has been leading work for some years on augmented environments in which everyday objects acquire computational properties through user interfaces based on video projection and digital cameras. Recent work has investigated inference of people’s mental states from facial expressions, vocal nuances, body posture and gesture, and other physiological signals, and also considered the expression of emotions by robots and cartoon avatars.