Empathy and EQ in the Age of Artificial Emotional Intelligence Panel Discussion

The Centre for Emotional Materiality

Empathy and EQ in the Age of Artificial Emotional Intelligence Panel Discussion

***NOTE DATE CHANGE****Tuesday, December 4, 2018 7:00 – 9:30 PM

A Panel Discussion Moderated by: Sophia Wang

Panelists: Katherine Isbister, Dorothy Santos, Caroline Sinders and Rita Popova 

Speculations on the present state and future possibilities of machine intelligence reframe questions that are intrinsic to our social, political, and labor relations: whom do we consider the “other;” which bodies are privileged over others; and who is assigned the work that others prefer not to carry out? As machines begin to perform more care and empathy-based work – from responsive agents in handheld devices to robots designed for companionship – how will the value and measure of emotional intelligence and empathy evolve? This panel invites creative researchers across academic, artistic, and entrepreneurial practices for a conversation on current work in the field, and how to navigate our new technologies and human horizons.

Katherine Isbister is a full professor in the University of California, Santa Cruz's Department of Computational Media within the Jack Baskin School of Engineering, where she is the Director of the Social and Emotional Technology Lab. Her research focuses on designing games and other interactive experiences that heighten social and emotional connections, toward innovating design theory and technological practice. Isbister’s most recent book from MIT Press is How Games Move Us: Emotion by Design, winner of an American Library Association Outstanding Academic Title Choice award. Isbister’s research has been covered in Wired, Scientific American, and many other venues. She was a recipient of MIT Technology Review's Young Innovator Award, as well as a Humboldt Foundation Experienced Researcher fellowship. She is an ACM Distinguished Scientist and a Founding Fellow of the Higher Education Video Games Alliance.

Dorothy R. Santos is a Filipina American writer, curator, and researcher whose academic interests include digital art, computational media, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She is currently a Ph.D. student in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz as a Eugene V. Cota-Robles fellow.

Caroline Sinders is a machine learning design researcher and artist. For the past few years, she has been focusing on the intersections of natural language processing, artificial intelligence, abuse, online harassment and politics in digital, conversational spaces. Caroline is the founder of Convocation Design + Research, a design and research agency focusing on the intersections of machine learning, user research, designing for public good, and solving communication difficult problems. As a designer and researcher, she's worked with groups like Amnesty International, Intel, IBM Watson, the Wikimedia Foundation as well as others. Caroline has held fellowships with the Yerba Buena Centers of the Arts, Eyebeam, the Studio for Creative Inquiry and the International Center of Photography. Her work has been featured at MoMA PS1, the Houston Center for Contemporary Art, Slate, Quartz, the Channels Biennale, as well as others. Caroline holds a masters from New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Rita Popova is the product lead of Replika, an AI-powered chatbot which provides emotional support in a safe, non-judgemental space. In her work, Popova explores possible advantages and limitations of emotional AI, as well as user experience in opening up to a chatbot. Born in Moscow, Popova was the editor-in-chief of Look At Me, one of the biggest Russian publications mainly focused on exploring relationships between technology, society, and art. Her work has been featured in the Guardian, Fader, Vice, and Calvert Journal, amongst others.

Sophia Wang creates and performs movement-based works in collaboration with performance artists, writers and visual and sound artists. She is co-founder of the biotechnology company MycoWorks and of the Brontez Purnell Dance Company. She has danced for artists Xavier le Roy, Tino Sehgal, Jérôme Bel, Xandra Ibarra, and Amara Tabor-Smith. She earned a PhD in English from U.C. Berkeley, and integrates her research and performance practices through writing and curatorial projects focused on critical somatics: thinking with and as bodies. Since 2015, she has co-produced Heavy Breathing, a discussion and movement workshop series that has featured over 30 presenting artists working at the intersection of performance, visual arts, and pedagogy. Heavy Breathing’s current program launches in 2018 at YBCA (San Francisco), the Bangkok Biennial, and Meme Space (Taipei).