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Emotional AI

Emotional AI
The Rise of Empathic Media

First Edition

May 2018 | 248 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

What happens when media technologies are able to interpret our feelings, emotions, moods, and intentions? In this cutting edge new book, Andrew McStay explores that very question and argues that these abilities result in a form of technological empathy. Offering a balanced and incisive overview of the issues raised by ‘Emotional AI’, this book:

  • Provides a clear account of the social benefits and drawbacks of new media trends and technologies such as emoji, wearables and chatbots
  • Demonstrates through empirical research how ‘empathic media’ have been developed and introduced both by start-ups and global tech corporations such as Facebook
  • Helps readers understand the potential implications on everyday life and social relations through examples such as video-gaming, facial coding, virtual reality and cities
  • Calls for a more critical approach to the rollout of emotional AI in public and private spheres

Combining established theory with original analysis, this book will change the way students view, use and interact with new technologies. It should be required reading for students and researchers in media, communications, the social sciences and beyond.



Chapter 1 Introducing Empathic Media
Chapter 2 Situating Empathy
Chapter 3 Group Sentimentality
Chapter 4 Spectrum of Emotions: Gaming the Body
Chapter 5 Leaky Emotions: The Case of Facial Coding
Chapter 6 Priming Voice-Based AI: I Hear You
Chapter 7 Affective Witnessing: VR 2.0
Chapter 8 Advertising, Retail and Creativity: Capturing the Flâneur
Chapter 9 Personal Technologies that Feel: Towards a Novel Form of Intimacy
Chapter 10 Empathic Cities
Chapter 11 Politics of Feeling Machines: Debating De-Identification and Dignity
Chapter 12 Conclusion: Dignity, Ethics, Norms, Policies and Practices

Empathic media and technologies will shape future societies. This is a great book to jump-start your knowledge so you can have an educated opinion on how that future will look.

Gawain Morrison

This thought-provoking, lucid, empirically rich book shows how technologies become sensitive to human emotions – and why we should care. Compulsory reading for students, researchers, technology developers and policy makers with feelings.

Bert-Jaap Koops
Tilburg University

The entangling of digital media with human affect is one of the most transformative technological developments of our age. This book confirms Andrew McStay as one of the most insightful and empirically engaged scholars exploring this phenomenon.

Will Davies
Goldsmiths, University of London

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Introducing Empathic Media

Andrew McStay

Andrew McStay is Professor of Digital Life at Bangor University, UK. His most recent book, Emotional AI: The Rise of Empathic Media, examines the impact of technologies that make use of data about affective and emotional life. Current projects include study of emotional AI, children and parents, and (separately) cross-cultural analysis of emotional AI in UK and Japan. Non-academic work includes IEEE membership (P7000/7014) and ongoing advising roles for start-ups, NGOs and policy bodies. He has also appeared and made submissions to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on the right to privacy in the digital age, the UK House... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781473971110
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