Transparent AI: Episode 1/4 Definitions

©2021 audEERING GmbH       Soroosh Mashal         22.01.2021

In this series, we learn what Emotion AI is about and what we can do with it. It provides definitions and the basics of modeling emotions. Furthermore, it describes machine learning methods to train models, and what applications of Emotion AI there are.

I was just a teenager when I watched the movie I, Robot. Not knowing anything about Artificial Intelligence, my plane paper of mind was filled with the image of a group of rabid robots that were friendly, hostile, and friendly again. I did not understand that much, but it drove me to read the books by Isaac Asimov and step further into this field. Almost two decades later, here at audEERING, we are doing our best to form a less fictional, more scientific, and more clear picture of reality, and we invite you to join our journey.

This journey starts with understanding the terms we use exchangeably every day and their definitions: Feelings, emotions, affect, mood. The term emotion itself is roughly two centuries old. Beforehand, people were using words like passion to explain the same concept.

The original role of emotions was to motivate adaptive behaviors that in the past would have contributed to the passing on of genes through survival, reproduction, and kin selection. Due to this importance and connection to survival, our brains are trained for thousands of years to create these emotions, detect them, and interpret them.

Feelings vs. emotions: What’s the difference?

Feelings are a subjective representation of emotions. Not every feeling includes emotion. For example, you can say: I feel that I know this. The feeling of knowing is in fact a feeling but has no emotion in it.

The next one up the ladder is emotion. When the feeling is strong, and you express it and put it into motion (in your facial muscles, voice, etc.), we have emotions like excitement, anger, surprise, sadness, etc.

A more subtle one is mood. A mood is an the emotion that lasts longer, and you can’t even see the source. For example, if you hear bad news, you become sad, and you know the cause. However, if you feel sad for a long time (ususally longer than two weeks), it’s depression.
Last but not least, affect, in psychology, refers to the underlying affective experience of feeling, emotion, or mood. It helps us in modeling and understanding emotions.

We will dive further into it in our next chapter: modeling emotions. If you want to cheat and see the end of the story, take a look at our product page to see how the industry is using our technology.

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