How Emotion-Detecting A.I. is Influencing Marketing


Affective computing, also known as emotional artificial intelligence, is a growing market that’s projected to reach to $41 billion by 2022. Such technology enables everyday objects to detect and respond to people’s emotional states, and it’s being used for positive pursuits like helping the elderly combat loneliness and treating soldiers that suffer from PTSD. For brands, affective computing offers the opportunity to understand customers on a more personal level (a business that should be approached with delicacy). Here’s how three brands are testing the waters.


Disney has been using affective technology to determine how audiences enjoy its movies, creating an AI-powered algorithm that can recognize complex facial expressions and even predict upcoming emotions. After a few minutes of tracking facial behavior, the algorithm was advanced enough to be able to predict when they would smile or laugh during films like Star Wars.



Ford has been using affective technology to implement car software that can detect human emotions such as anger or lack of attention, and then take control over or stop the vehicle in order to prevent accidents or acts of road rage. BMW is likewise experimenting with other forms of A.I., working with psychologists to help self-driving cars “befriend” passengers to help them feel safe.



Kellogg’s has been using affective computing to test audience reaction to cereal ads. It showed consumers multiple versions of an ad and discovered that while one version produced the most laughs during an initial watch, it produced little engagement on the second. In response, the company chose the version that generated steadier levels of engagement over the course of multiple views.