Not all computers need to pay attention to emotions, or to have emotional abilities. Some machines are useful as rigid tools, and it is fine to keep them that way. However, there are situations where the human-machine interaction could be improved by having machines naturally adapt to their users, and where communication about when, where, how, and how important it is to adapt involves emotional information, possibly including expressions of frustration, confusion, disliking, interest, and more. Affective computing expands human-computer interaction by including emotional communication together with appropriate means of handling affective information.
This paper highlights recent and ongoing work at the MIT Media Lab in
affective computing, computing that relates to, arises from, or deliberately
influences emotion. This work currently targets four broad areas related
to HCI: (1) Reducing user frustration; (2) Enabling comfortable communication
of user emotion; (3) Developing infrastructure and applications to handle
affective information; and, (4) Building tools that help develop social-emotional
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