Emotional design summary

2010/03/03 by Lassi A. Liikkanen

Donald A. Norman (2004) Emotional design. Why we love (or hate) everyday things.
Basic Books, NY

Summary on emotional machines chapter

Representing one of the seven chapters of the book, the part of emotional machines was of great interest to me. This is because it touches one of the big open questions of affective interaction, what if machines should detect emotions, then what should they do?

Norman has strong opinion on the matter, but hardly provides a useful answer to the question. His argumentation is based on robotics. He sees that artificial intelligence and intelligent robots will necessarily need to have emotions in order to really achieve ultimately adaptive and intelligent behavior. The author greatly opposes simplification of emotional expression although it is difficult to see what he has to add to existing proposals about how “computer” could express emotions. If anything, he emphasizes the temporal dimension of emotion expression and the ambiguity of emotional states (you’re looking sad from earlier incident, although you’re starting to smile from a great joke)

It seems that Norman highly values the work done at MIT AI and affective computing lab, particularly the Kismet robot project. However, beyond robotics, he does not seem to have any ready answers for other types of interaction systems. But where do we really emotional interaction?

One thing that Norma has right is that emotions do server multiple functions. They can be helpful for controlling our behavior and communicating our mental states. This probably the part that currently is the most neglected in present affective computing approaches. Humans are extremely good at picking up emotional cues from our peers and interpret that as communicative signs. Exploiting this will probably be important in the future, but otherwise Norma cannot really answer the riddle of how should an artificial affective system organize its internals.

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[06] Nikander J. B., Liikkanen L. & Laakso M. (2014) Ownership effects in design concept evaluation. Design Studies 35(4) 473-499. DOI: 10.1016/j.destud.2014.02.006, 2015/01/31

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Keywords: [psychology] , [computers] Document's status: Ok (Document dates explained)

This document created: 2010/03/03
Modified: 2010/03/03
Published: 2010/03/03

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