Rosalind W. Picard (born May 17, 1962 in Massachusetts) is Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT, director and also the founder of the Affective Computing Research Group at the MIT Media Lab, co-director of the Things That Think Consortium, and chief scientist and co-founder of Affectiva. In 2005, she was named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Picard is credited with starting the branch of computer science known as affective computing with the publication of Affective Computing. This textbook described the importance that recognizing human emotions has to relationships between people, and the possible effects of such recognition by robots. Her work in this field has led to an expansion into autism research and developing devices that could help humans recognize nuances in human emotions.
Picard holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a certificate in computer engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (1984), and master's (1986) and doctorate degrees (1991), both in electrical engineering and computer science, from MIT. Her thesis was titled Texture Modeling: Temperature Effects on Markov/Gibbs Random Fields. She has been a member of the faculty at the MIT Media Laboratory since 1991, with tenure since 1998 and a full professorship since 2005.
Picard is a researcher in the field of affective computing and the founder and director of the Affective Computing Research Group at the MIT Media Lab. The Affective Computing Research Group develops tools, techniques, and devices for sensing, interpreting, and processing emotion signals that drive state-of-the-art systems which respond intelligently to human emotional states. The key aspect that Picard focuses on in her research is not in the difference between "excited" and "calm" emotions, but in the difference between "excited-happy" and "excited-angry-or-upset", which are complicated for a computer to determine. Applications of their research include improved tutoring systems and assistive technology for use in addressing the verbal communications difficulties experienced by individuals with autism.
She also works with Sherry Turkle and Cynthia Breazeal in the fields of social robots, digital image processing, pattern recognition, and wearable computers. Picard's former students includes Steve Mann, professor and researcher in wearable computers.
While working in the field of affective computing, Picard published Affective Computing. MIT's press release for Picard's textbook states, "According to Rosalind Picard, if we want computers to be genuinely intelligent and to interact naturally with us, we must give computers the ability to recognize, understand, even to have and express emotions."
Picard explains the need to monitoring emotional cues and how this is present with humans when she states:
- "Whatever his strategy, the good teacher detects important affective cues from the student and responds differently because of them. For example, the teacher might leave subtle hints or clues for the student to discover, thereby preserving the learner's sense of self-propelled discovery. Whether the subject matter involves deliberate emotional expression as is the case with music, or is a "non-emotional" topic such as science, the teacher that attends to a student's interest, pleasure, and distress is perceived as more effective than the teacher that proceeds callously. The best teachers know that frustration usually precedes quitting, and know how to redirect or motivate the pupil at such times. They get to know their student, including how much distress that student can withstand before learning breaks down."
But such emotional cues are not part of robotic intelligence.
In order to portray how such a recognition would alter interactions with robots, Picard gave an example situation:
- Imagine your robot entering the kitchen as you prepare breakfast for guests. The robot looks happy to see you and greets you with a cheery "Good morning." You mumble something it does not understand. It notices your face, vocal tone, smoke above the stove, and your slamming of a pot into the sink, and infers that you do not appear to be having a good morning. Immediately, it adjusts its internal state to "subdued," which has the effect of lowering its vocal pitch and amplitude settings, eliminating cheery behavioral displays, and suppressing unnecessary conversation. Suppose you exclaim, "Ow!!" yanking your hand from the hot stove, rushing to run your fingers under cold water, adding "I can't believe I ruined the sauce." While the robot's speech recognition may not have high confidence that it accurately recognized all of your words, its assessment of your affect and actions indicates a high probability that you are upset and maybe hurt.
In such a situation, it is necessary for the robots to understand the emotional aspects of humans in order to better serve their intended purpose.
Her work has influenced many fields beyond computer science, ranging from video games to law. One critic, Aaron Sloman, described the book as having a "bold vision" that will inspire some and irritate others. Other critics emphasize the importance behind the work as it establishes an important framework for the field as a whole. Picard responded to Sloman's review by saying, "I don’t think the review captures the flavor of the book. However, he does raise interesting points, as well as potential misunderstandings, both of which I am grateful for the opportunity to comment on."
In 2009, Picard co-founded Affectiva, along with Rana el Kaliouby, Ph.D., and became the company's chief scientist. The company was based on technologies the two began developing at the Affective Computing Research Group within the MIT Media Lab.
Besides researching robotic intelligence, Picard has performed research in the field of autism. Her team uses an "ESP", or "emotional-social intelligence prosthesis", which is a tool that allows a person with autism to monitor their own facial reactions in order to educate them on social cues in others. This device has a 65% accuracy rate for reading the emotional state of an individual. She revealed parts of this technology at the 11th Annual International Symposium on Wearable Computers.
Picard has put forward theories to improve the research of emotions through the implementation of new technologies with a focus to gather emotional information outside of a lab setting. With devices that can measure heart-rate or other physiological changes that are non-obtrusive and simple to wear (Picard uses an example of MIT iCalm sensor) emotional responses can be more accurately observed in a real life. She also argues against nomothetic research over idiographic research when it comes to studying emotions claiming that and individualized approach would be more fruitful than just throwing out data when a group correlation is not found. In this way, data from individuals could still be kept and analyzed and then paired (not averaged) with data clusters that were similar.
Religion and science
Picard says that she was raised an atheist, but converted to Christianity as a young adult. She does not believe there is a separation of the "material body and immaterial spirit" but that there is "something else that we haven't discovered yet", and believes "that scientists cannot assume that nothing exists beyond what they can measure." She believes it likely that there is "still something more" to life, beyond what we have discovered, and sees DNA as too complex to have originated through "purely random processes". To her, the complexity of DNA shows "the mark of intervention," and "a much greater mind, a much greater scientist, a much greater engineer behind who we are." She sees her religious beliefs as playing a role in her work in affective computing, and explains that when "Digging into the models of how the emotions work, I find I feel even greater awe and appreciation for the way we are made, and therefore for the Maker that has brought this about."
Picard is one of the signatories of the Discovery Institute's A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism, a petition which the intelligent design movement uses to promote intelligent design by attempting to cast doubt on evolution. Although her view about the complexity of DNA "sounds similar to the intelligent design debate", reporter Mirko Petricevic writes, "Picard has some reservations about intelligent design, saying it isn't being sufficiently challenged by Christians and other people of faith." She argues that the media has created a false dilemma by dividing everyone into two groups, supporters of intelligent design or evolution. "To simply put most of us in one camp or the other does the whole state of knowledge a huge disservice," she said.
- Georgia Engineering Foundation Fellowship(s) 1980, 81, 82, 83
- Society of Women Engineers: “The Outstanding Woman Engineering Student” 1981, 82, 83, 84
- National Science Foundation Fellow 1984
- AT&T Bell Laboratories “One Year On Campus” Fellow 1984
- Georgia Institute of Technology Department of Electrical Engineering Faculty Award 1984
- Voted Omicron Delta Kappa, Georgia Tech and Southeast U. S. “Leader of the Year” 1984
- AAUW “The Outstanding Georgia Institute of Technology Woman Graduate” 1984
- IAPR Pattern Recognition Society Best Paper Prize (with Tom Minka) 1991
- GA Tech College of Engineering “Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni Award” 1995
- NEC Career Development Chair in Computers and Communications 1992, 96
- Assoc. of American Publishers, Inc. Computer Science Book Award, (Hon. Mention) 1997
- Senior Member of IEEE 2000
- ICALT 2001 Best Theory Paper Prize (with Rob Reilly and Barry Kort) 2001
- Creapole’s Committee of Honour (Paris) 2002
- Fellow of IEEE 2004
- Chamblee High School Hall of Fame 2005
- Groden Network Distinguished Honorees, Research Award 2008
- R. W. Picard, Affective Computing, MIT Press, 1997.
- R. W. Picard, F. Liu, R. Zabih, G. Healey, and M. Swain (Eds.) “Content-Based Access of Image and Video Libraries,” Proceedings of IEEE Workshop, IEEE Computer Society. 1997.
- J. Tao, T. Tan, and R. W. Picard (Eds.), Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction 2005, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3784, 2005. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg 2005.
- A. Paiva, R. Prada, and R. W. Picard (Eds.), Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction 2007, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 4738, 2007. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg 2007.
- T.P. Minka and R.W. Picard (1997), "Interactive Learning Using a 'Society of Models,'" Pattern Recognition, Volume 30, No. 4, pp. 565–581, 1997. (Winner of 1997 Pattern Recognition Society Award)
- B. Kort, R. Reilly and R.W. Picard (2001), "An Affective Model of Interplay Between Emotions and Learning: Reengineering educational Pedagogy-Building a Learning Companion," In Proceedings of International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT 2001), August 2001, Madison, WI. (Winner of Best Paper Prize.)
- M. E. Hoque, M. Courgeon, J.-C. Martin, B. Mutlu, R. W. Picard, "MACH: My Automated Conversation coacH", 15th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp), 8-12 September 2013. (Winner of Best Ubiquitous Computing Paper Award)
Patents and patents pending
- “Method and Apparatus for Relating and Combining Multiple Images of the Same Scene or Object(s)” U.S. Patent 5,706,416. Issued January 6, 1998. (With Steve Mann.)
- “Sensing and Display of Skin Conductivity” U.S. Patent 6415176. Issued July 2, 2002. (With Jocelyn Scheirer, Nancy Tilbury and Jonathan Farringdon.)
- “System and Method for Determining a Workload Level of a Driver” (With Walton L. Fehr, Judith L. Gardner and John R. Hansman) Docket No. IS01739AIC
- Affective computing
- Digital image processing
- Pattern recognition
- Social robots
- Wearable computers
- "Media Lab Faculty Biography". MIT Media Lab. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- "Meet Our Team". Affectiva. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
- Kerstetter, Jim (February 2, 2013). "Building better Super Bowl ads by watching you watch them". CNET. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
- "2005 Fellows". IEEE Boston. 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- Kleine-Cosack, Christian (October 2006). "Recognition and Simulation of Emotions" (PDF). Archived from the original on May 28, 2008. Retrieved May 13, 2008. "The introduction of emotion to computer science was done by Pickard (sic) who created the field of affective computing."
- Diamond, David (December 2003). "The Love Machine; Building computers that care.". Wired. Retrieved May 13, 2008. "Rosalind Picard, a genial MIT professor, is the field's godmother; her 1997 book, Affective Computing, triggered an explosion of interest in the emotional side of computers and their users."
- "Publication of Affective Computing". MIT Press. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
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- "Affective Computing Group - Current and Past Projects". MIT. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- Picard, Rosalind. Affective Computing. MIT Press, 1997. p. 93-94
- http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Affective_computing (article by R.Picard)
- Binkley, Timothy (1998). "Autonomous Creations: Birthing Intelligent Agents". Leonardo (The MIT Press) 31 (5): 336. doi:10.2307/1576591. JSTOR 1576591
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- Sloman, Aaron (1999). Review of Affective Computing. AI Magazine
- Diehl, Stanford (February 2008). "Book Review: A Computer to Love". Byte. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- Picard, Rosalind (1999). Response to Sloman’s Review of Affective Computing. Volume 20 Number 1, AI Magazine
- Bosker, Bianca (December 24, 2012). "Affectiva's Emotion Recognition Tech: When Machines Know What You're Feeling". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
- Schuessler, Jennifer (December 2006). "The Social-Cue Reader". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- Wertheimer, Linda (October 8, 2007). "Look out, Logan: Software is soft wear". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- Picard, Rosalind J. (July 2010) Emotion Research by the People, for the People. Volume 2 Number 3. Emotion Review. 250-254.
- Petricevic, Mirko (2007-11-03). "A scientist who embraces God". The Record (Kitchener, Ontario: Metroland Media Group Ltd.). Retrieved 2008-05-06.
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- "Publications in Affective Computing". MIT. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- Affective Computing Group Web Page
- Things That Think Consortium Web Page
- Rosalind W. Picard Homepage
- MIT Course on Autism Theory and Technology