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. This site represents a project that is studying the implications of ‘affective computing’ and ‘emotional AI’, that senses, learns about and interacts with human emotional life. Techniques are diverse, including computer vision and machine reading of words/images or seeing/sensing facial expressions, gaze direction, gestures, voice and bodies. The latter includes heart rates, temperature, respiration and electrical properties of skin.


Funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), we seek to generate conversation among UK and Japanese academics, industry, artists, NGOs and regulators about these technologies. The goal is to understand the constitutional, commercial, civic and security implications of a world where emotional AI increasingly plays a central role.

Cross-cultural conversations

While certainly interested in state-of-the-art technologies, what we really want to understand is their significance and what the UK and Japan can learn from each other. In both countries, how are emotional AI technologies being used? What laws and values guide them? How do people feel about emotion sensing? What are the emerging relationships between people and AI systems? What are the social benefits? What of the harms? How should we guard against consequences that are difficult to anticipate?

Centrally, are ethical and privacy considerations the same in the UK and Japan, or do they emerge out of a situated social context? If so, what are the similarities and differences? What can we learn from each other?

The Workshops

To answer these, we will host three workshops: two in Japan and one in the UK. Interested in attending or want to know more? Visit the Workshops page.

Want to know more about Emotional AI?

Please see overall project page for work on Emotional AI.