It seemed fitting that Oxford Technology & Media’s recent session, ‘Engaging with the Human Spirit,’ was held at Modern Art Oxford with an audience dominated by creatives from the TV, film and games industries. CrowdEmotion founder and chief executive Matt Celuszak was joined by the firm’s software engineer Evgeniya Mircheva and behavioural specialist Marlene Weber to describe the tools they have developed for quantifying the emotional responses of focus groups to different types of material.
Celuszak’s opening video of Bear Grylls munching an outsized caterpillar drew predictable reactions from the attendees. As the unfortunate critter’s insides exploded from Grylls’ mouth this action lined up perfectly with the CrowdEmotion graph registering surprise, disgust among other metrics the AI had served up.
The session focused on applications of the technology to video content. Celuszak explained how BBC Worldwide has been using the tools to assess where best to apply resources in a market comprising more than 70 countries, each with different cultural responses.
In the Q&A session, the room discussed how the technology might impact the director’s role at the editing stages and whether there was any danger the tools might be used nefariously by bad actors. Intriguingly, mathematician Mircheva suggested that with enough audience data, the team might eventually be able to create virtual audiences to assess content.
Applications of these tools are likely to extend to many other areas such as credit risk assessment, healthcare and the penal system. But the team were at pains to make it clear that the human interaction is key:
“We must design for how people behave, not how we want them to behave.”