Some time ago I made a review over a digital e-health program. The goal of the program was to reduce long term stress. It was quite complex due to the fact it needed to be interacted with once a week for eight weeks. We don’t really need to go into the result of study. But one of the interesting aspects was “affect extraction ”, something you can take into consideration when you’re doing content analysis and relations analysis. It has to do with individual feelings a user can have for a certain topic in relation to what you’re evaluating or analysing. When a finding in your evaluation it’s not due to the program itself, it only has to do with individual emotions a user has, often from previous experiences. Emotions you can’t prepare for when creating something.
One of the main topics for this review was “Affective Computing” which is a highly interesting field, but at the same time fucked up. Artificial Intelligence might have a nice ring to it, but it is at the same time a highly complex subject. I think it would be interesting with a program that can adapt to our own feelings and needs, especially when it comes to learning. But this to some extent, because somehow the technology itself needs to be able to read my emotions, and then act according to it. And I guess an algorithm would probably do a better job then most people (people are shit). But it is quite scary at the same time. I don’t want people to know my emotions, now why would I like to be stripped down by a robot?
The deeper you go into the brain the more primitive the brain gets. The human brain has developed outwards. So our most primitive behaviour, which stems from the stone age is located in the middle of the brain and the further out you go in the brain the newer it gets. And one of those things is being able to put things into contexts and acting rational on that. And to make conclusions out of things you experience based on knowledge. Rational behaviour was for a very long time considered something that was on one end of the scale and emotions on the complete other side, that emotional people could not be rational thinking human beings. Lately that has completely been proved wrong. It has been proved that the animals with the most developed rational thinking brains also were highly emotional.
Emotions is a topic that has interested me for quite some time, and it started after the e-health study, because it showed how important emotions is to take in to consideration when developing “things”. Don Norman who wrote that fucking book with that fucking useless piece of shit tea pot on the front page (design of everyday things), has also written Emotionally Design. If you want to read a fairly easy book to digest about this subject, I think that one is good. I just read “Descartes Errors” which was way too complicated for me, but I still find some of the things I understood really interesting.
Feelings, along with the emotions they
come from, are not a luxury. They serve as internal guides, and they help us communicate to others signals that can also guide them. And feelings are neither intangible nor elusive. Contrary to traditional scientific opinion, feelings are just as cognitive as other precepts. They are the result of a most curious physiological arrangement that has turned the brain into the body’s captive audience.
The organism interacts with the environment as an ensemble: the interaction is neither of the body alone nor of the brain alone; The physiological operations that we call mind are derived from the structural and functional ensemble rather than from the brain alone: mental phenomena can be fully understood only in the context of an organism’s interacting in an environment.
The lower levels in the neural edifice of reason are the same ones that regulate the processing of emotions and feelings, along with the body functions necessary for an organism’s survival. In turn, these lower levels maintain direct and mutual relationships with virtually every bodily organ, thus placing the body directly within the chain of operations that generate the highest reaches of reasoning, decision making, and, by extension, social behavior and creativity. Emotion, feeling, and biological regulation all play a role in human reason. The lowly orders of our organism are in the loop of high reason.
So emotions have everything to do with rational reasoning. Another thing carried on in this book and also in “Affective Computing” by Rosalind W. Picard is the connection between brain and body, that it is connected much more than we thought it was back in the days. So gut feeling might be something that we should consider.
So why do I talk about this? I don’t know, it’s interesting and it’s my platform so I do whatever I feel like. And also I think this is where we’re heading in the future when it comes to computer science. When responsive parallax scrolling fucking sites and applications which can geographical fucking tag you is not enough, this is where we all end up.
Technology can already adapt to human behaviour to some extent, but it can’t feel yet, and when that happens, I think I might not want to be around. I like the thought of taking for example Affective Computing into consideration when creating e-learnings or similar. But further then that, I’m not really sure.
Affective Computing Rosalind Picard, Emotional Design Don Norman and Descartes Errors by Antonio Damasio.