Taniya Mishra is a speech and artificial intelligence scientist for Affectiva. She is working to make the relationship between humans and technology easier through emotion AI. "Discovering You: Engineering Your World" is produced by NBC News Learn in partnership with Chevron, the American Society for Engineering Education and the National Science Foundation.
Discovering You – Engineering Your World – Taniya Mishra
TANIYA MISHRA (A.I. Scientist):
What are the overlapping emotions? You can be sad and angry. How does one become sad and angry?
My name is Taniya Mishra and I am an A.I. scientist. I grew up in India. I had two parents who were physicians and they were very community-focused. Their goal, every single day of their lives, was to help people and that is what they ingrained in me and my sister as children. I lived there until I was 18 years old. I finished high school and then came to the United States to go to school here.
I found that my skills lay in mathematics and, later in college, I discovered, in computer science so I always wanted to marry sort of my passion for community and people, and doing something that really transforms people's lives with the skills in mathematics and computer science.
All right let’s do this together.
I work with a team of about 10 researchers where we focus on how do humans display emotions? And how do humans perceive emotions?
What did you do to get rage? How did rage show up for you?
AFFECTIVA COLLEAGUE: It’s mostly brow furrow.
MISHRA: And what are the machine-learning approaches we can take to build automatic systems that can recognize emotions like a human would?
Let's do contempt.
Our goal is to take frustration out of our interactions with systems…
…disgusted and angry at the same time…
…and replace it with empathy and trust.
A.I. stands for artificial intelligence. It is algorithms that can mimic human intelligence. Emotion A.I. is our approach for being able to detect human emotions using machine learning.
AFFECTIVA COLLEAGUE: We can track a face all the way to 90 degrees now.
MISHRA: We focus on emotions, expressions and cognitive states. Specifically, we look at seven different emotions, 20-plus expressions, as well as looking at cognitive states, such as drowsiness, distraction, cognitive load, stress. And we do all of this from face, from voice, and now we are starting to look at bringing both of these together in order to understand your emotions and your cognitive states even better.
Oh, there he found me and he is awake.
Our vision is to transform people's lives whether it is by helping a child who is having trouble understanding information and then for the app to recognize that they are frustrated and presenting them with a different way of understanding the material, or whether it is by building technology that, in a car, can help a driver be safer.
AFFECTIVA COLLEAGUE: If I yawn one time, it's going to say signs of fatigue detected.
MISHRA: What I see in the future happening is that all of our devices are going to be enabled with emotional intelligence. They are going to be able to understand your emotion and they are going to be able to respond to it in real time.
By doing the work that I do, I feel like where I work and what I want, are perfectly matched. It really makes me reaffirm my commitment to the career path that I've chosen every single day.
Hi dragon. Yay, you found me.
I think being an engineer or a scientist is very, very empowering because you can build computer games, because you can build robots, because you can get your favorite voice agent to say things in the voice that you want. It gives you the ability to make your own fun.
Taniya Mishra is changing how humans and technology interact. The relationship is important to those who design personal assistants such as Alexa and Siri. Learn more in this TIME for Kids story.
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