These are not the droids you're looking for

New paper out with Jon Gratch


9/7/20232 min read

I just published an article titled These Aren’t The Droids You Are Looking for: Promises and Challenges for the Intersection of Affective Science and Robotics/AI with Jon Gratch in Affective Science. The article focuses on particular challenges in designing robots that are affect savvy or that may express emotions that can be addressed by the collaboration of engineers with emotion researchers (and others of course). Here is the abstract:

AI research focused on interactions with humans, particularly in the form of robots or virtual agents, has expanded in the last two decades to include concepts related to affective processes. Affective computing is an emerging field that deals with issues such as how the diagnosis of affective states of users can be used to improve such interactions, also with a view to demonstrate affective behavior towards the user. This type of research often is based on two beliefs: (1) artificial emotional intelligence will improve human computer interaction (or more specifically human robot interaction), and (2) we understand the role of affective behavior in human interaction sufficiently to tell artificial systems what to do. However, within affective science the focus of research is often to test a particular assumption, such as “smiles affect liking.” Such focus does not provide the information necessary to synthesize affective behavior in long dynamic and real-time interactions. In consequence, theories do not play a large role in the development of artificial affective systems by engineers, but self-learning systems develop their behavior out of large corpora of recorded interactions. The status quo is characterized by measurement issues, theoretical lacunae regarding prevalence and functions of affective behavior in interaction, and underpowered studies that cannot provide the solid empirical foundation for further theoretical developments. This contribution will highlight some of these challenges and point towards next steps to create a rapprochement between engineers and affective scientists with a view to improving theory and solid applications.

The article is open-access and can be found here

Kappas, A., Gratch, J. These Aren’t The Droids You Are Looking for: Promises and Challenges for the Intersection of Affective Science and Robotics/AI. Affec Sci (2023).