Artificial Emotional Intelligence and the Intimate Politics of Robotic Sociality

Authors: Casey Lynch*, University of Nevada - Reno
Topics: Social Geography, Social Theory, Political Geography
Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Social Geography, Algorithmic Governmentality, Intimate Politics
Session Type: Virtual Paper
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This paper examines the emergence of Artificial Emotion Intelligence (AEI) and its application in social robots. It does so through a critical analysis of the technical literature in computer science—exploring questions of emotion recognition, emotion augmentation, and emotion generation in artificial agents—and a review of social robots currently available on the commercial market, including BUDDY, LIKU, Misty II, QTrobot, and others. I show how AEI and social robotics aim to intensify practices of data-capture and algorithmic governance by extending the spatial reach of digital surveillance deeper into intimate spaces and individual psyches, with the goal of manipulating human emotional and behavioral responses in ever more targeted ways. The paper demonstrates the need for geographers to more thoroughly engage with the multiplicity of theoretical and applied approaches to building artificial intelligence, to question assumptions as to the kinds of intelligence being created, and to consider how a diversity of AI systems infiltrate and reshape the spaces of everyday life.

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