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SIG Ethics

The ambition of the SIG Ethics is to collect the main ethics, goals and societal impact questions of our community.

SIG Ethics


Laurence Devillers (LIMSI-CNRS, France)
Bjoern Schuller (Imperial College London, UK)

Content and Events

Ethics, Goals and Societal impact in Affective Computing have already been a central subject during the early days of AAAC and a topic for a special issue of our journal T-AC. The aim of this SIG is to continue this excellent initiative by creating a group of discussion and brain-storming. The AAAC provides an excellent place to establish a more intense dialogue on ethics, goals and societal impact with the researchers and industrial partners in affective computing not just because having an ethics and societal impact brain stormings are in the "air du temps " but because these subjects are of the utmost importance for this field.

Events of the SIG Ethics

ETHI-CA² 2016: ETHics In Corpus Collection, Annotation and Application. A workshop at LREC 2016.

Motivations for the SIG Ethics

Scientific results in affective computing and the first products such as speech analytics (emotion detection) in call centers, sentiment analysis in website, or affective robot for elderly people inspire questions around the ethics, the goals and the deployment of innovative products that can change our lives and consequently, the society. The emergence of such systems that keep us more and more connected to machine will modify the way we socialize, our reasoning capabilities and our behavior. This technology promises new forms of affective relations and interactions, as well as new market opportunities. Affective computing systems have a large field of applications: conversational agent, robot, e-bot, etc. Such systems are envisioned to interact with humans (with children, adults and frail people such as for example very young children, autistic or elderly) in a seamless non verbal and verbal dialogue in a variety of real-life contexts such as at home, at the hospital, on your phone, in your car, at the classroom, in public transports with different roles such as assistive, companion or still seller systems. Such systems are also envisioned to survey humans for safety reasons (for example in car). The deployment of such affective technology will lead to profound modifications of the way people interact with systems. Achieving seamless multimodal interaction with multiple people and planning for executing system’ speech, movement, expressions or still gestures in response to observed and interpreted user behavior requires an inherently multidisciplinary approach. We need a new interdisciplinary mix of computer science, social/psychological sciences and engineering to understand such affective Interaction, and the substantial impact of affective computing systems will have in terms of new applications. As researchers in the affective computing community, it is important for us to have these discussions and to enlarge our community. We propose to question/interview/challenge international experts who are still not members of the AAAC community for example experts in sociology, psychology, neuroscience or philosophy about specific ethical questions.

Goals of the SIG Ethics

The ambition of the SIG Ethics is to collect the main ethics, goals and societal impact questions of our community. We will first synthetize all the documents resulting of the AAAC's root endeavours on these subjects. We also will initiate a bibliography on new links, papers, reviews, interviews on these topics on this web-site of the SIG group. We aim to write a document about the ethical issues in affective computing together with a set of recommendations for our specific domain and some elements for a roadmap to overcome any problems we identified. We will also collect the existing legal issues that we can applied in affective computing (ex : data privacy law, criminal and civil law). As the starting point we create a survey that will be send to all the members of AAAC to collect information for building a first draft of the document on the main questions. The results of the survey will be first summarized on the website, then discussion will be programmed by mail/skype meeting.
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