emotion / know is a project devoted to exploring the intersection of artificial and emotional intelligence.
I started this project when I realized that I needed more help in understanding and regulating my own emotional life and in understanding others’ emotions and thoughts. It was motivated by a series of crises that occurred in my personal life. I became interested in how artificial intelligence could be used to support and promote emotional wellness. This led me to a more broad interest in equipping artificial intelligence systems with emotional intelligence.
Importantly, this project bases itself on a new scientific paradigm of emotions: the theory of constructed emotion. In short, this theory says:
In every waking moment, your brain uses past experience, organized as concepts, to guide your actions and give your sensations meaning. When the concepts involved are emotion concepts, your brain constructs instances of emotion.
This can be contrasted with the classical theory of emotions, which says that we have built-in emotion circuits for fundamental emotions such as anger, happiness, and fear. The theory of constructed emotion has important ramifications for how we manage our emotions and how we develop tools and supports for emotion management. For example, current artificial intelligence approaches to detecting emotions are based on the old theory of emotions, and are likely to fail because of this.
Professionally, I am trained and work as a data scientist. I hold a PhD in Research Methods and Statistics from the University of Denver, a master’s in Statistics from Stanford University, and an undergraduate degree in Economics and Philosophy, also from Stanford. I have worked in a variety of fields including enterprise software development, professional blogging, and math teaching. In my personal life I am a mother of three living in sunny Denver, Colorado.