Rhea Myers

Artificial Affectivity, Artificial Affectivities

Artificial affectivity is the emotional equivalent of artificial intelligence. It is the simulation, emulation, or functional replacement of human affect by software or hardware models. Not neccessarily or just the simulation of emotion, but the simulation of the effects and expression of emotion.

In software the history of artificial intelligence has moved from rule based and expert systems through production systems and frame-based systems to statistical models, state machines and collective intelligence algorithms. Even crowdsourcing through Amazon Mechanical Turk is a form of machine intelligence, although an inversion of the original idea of artificial intelligence through the lens of economics.

All of these techniques are open to artificial affectivity. An artificial affectivity (the equivalent of an artificial intelligence) can be constructed using any of them or any combination. They can function as characters in a narrative, performers, pets or shamans. The question of whether a computer can feel can be framed in a kind of affective Turing Test; not whether it feels but whether you feel that it feels.