Our emotions influence every aspect of our lives — how we learn, how we communicate, how we make decisions. Yet they’re absent from our digital lives; the devices and apps we interact with have no way of knowing how we feel. Scientist Rana el Kaliouby aims to change that. She demos a powerful new technology that reads your facial expressions and matches them to corresponding emotions. This “emotion engine” has big implications, she says, and could change not just how we interact with machines — but with each other.
Rana el Kaliouby, chief science officer and co-founder of Affectiva, an MIT Media Lab spin-off, is on a mission to bring emotion intelligence to our digital experiences. She leads the company’s emotion analytics team, which is responsible for developing emotion-sensing algorithms and mining the world’s largest emotion data database. So far, they’ve collected 12 billion emotion data points from 2.9 million face videos from volunteers in 75 countries. The company’s platform is used by many Fortune Global 100 companies to measure consumer engagement, and is pioneering emotion-enabled digital apps for enterprise, entertainment, video communication and online education.
Entrepreneur magazine called el Kaliouby one of “The 7 Most Powerful Women To Watch in 2014,” and the MIT Technology Review included her in their list of the “Top 35 Innovators Under 35.”
“Kaliouby has a Ph.D. in computer science, and, like many accomplished coders, she has no trouble with mathematical concepts like Bayesian probability and hidden Markov models. But she is also at ease among people: emotive, warm.”