There will be two workshops held in Japan (one related to commercial dimensions, and the other on security and policing) in July 2019; and one follow up workshop in the UK in September 2019. If you have academic, industrial, artistic, policy or NGO-based expertise and would like to be involved, please contact Professor Peter Mantello at or Andrew McStay at More details to follow but get in touch if you’re based in Japan, as we may be able to help with travel and accommodation.


Emotional AI: Exploring the Impact on Commercial and Civic Life (Workshop 1)

By ‘emotional AI’, we refer to technologies that use behavioural, affective computing and AI techniques to sense, learn about and interact with human emotional life. The scope for application is extraordinarily diverse, ranging from use in advertising billboards in public spaces that react to facial expressions to societal adoption of home assistants and affect-sensitive robots in less public spaces. What conjoins these is use of technology to understand psycho-physiological emotional reactions and enable technologies to interact with people in novel ways.

This workshop will explore the potential for these technologies by focusing on social benefits and harms. Collectively, we will learn about the technologies, commercial applications in Japan and the UK, how citizens feel about them, why they feel this way, laws and governance that guide these technologies, and how we can have the best of these technologies and fewer harms.

Date: Tuesday July 9th, 2019 (10am – 4pm, lunch provided)
Location: Ritsumeikan Tokyo Campus, 8th floor, Sapia Tower.

Security and Policing: Predicting and Feeling with Emotional AI (Workshop 2)

The rapid growth of security technologies augmented by artificial intelligence that can assess and respond to human emotions is increasingly central to national security, border control and local law enforcement. Worldwide, companies such as Thales and Motorola sell biometric technologies to police forces around the world that track the emotional and psychological states of officers themselves. In Japan, companies such as Hitachi are developing artificial intelligence systems to better understand the emotions of civic groups as well as heighten security efforts at large-scale public spaces.

This workshop will explore key issues and challenges surrounding the deployment of emotional AI in local law enforcement, cyber-security, conflict zones and border control. Topics include: predictive policing; voice and facial recognition technologies at borders; autonomous military systems; the role of smart bots in manipulating/triggering user emotions in social media and their use in computational propaganda. The goal of this workshop is to better understand factors unique to Japan and the UK, discuss citizen reactions, address questions of ethics and privacy in both Japanese and British contexts.

Date: Friday July 12th, 2019 (10am – 4pm, lunch provided)
Location: Ritsumeikan Tokyo Campus, 8th floor, Sapia Tower.


Emotional AI: Cross-Cultural Considerations (Workshop 3)

The final workshop will report project insights to UK stakeholders and generate UK-based insights for Japanese delegates, with view to building capacity for further knowledge exchange. Academics, policy makers, technologists, industry and the UK start-up community will:

  1. Discuss what emotional AI is (affective computing + machine learning/AI).
  2. Consider use-case examples (led by companies working in this area)
  3. Interactively explore ethical implications and opportunities for social good and harm.
  4. Consider cross-cultural dimensions (having reflected on a pre-circulated report).
  5. Utilise micro-workshops, each with a balance of technologists, ethicists, legal, policy, industry and NGO delegates.

Date: Monday 9th September 2019 (10am -3pm, lunch provided)
Location: Digital Catapult, London.
Reading for Delegates: Interim Report