Can machines understand emotion? Curiosity Challenge winners announced

Photo courtesy of Alex Smye-Rumsby

We are pleased to announce the winners of the Curiosity Challenge are Oliver Davis and his team here at the University of Bristol: Zoe Reed, Nina Di Cara, Chris Moreno-Stokoe, Helena Davies, Valerio Maggio, Alastair Tanner and Benjamin Woolf.

The team will be collaborating with We The Curious on a prototype, which is due to be ready in October and will be going live to audiences when the new exhibition at We The Curious opens next year. Oliver Davis is an Associate Professor and Turing Fellow at Bristol Medical School and the Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit (MRC IEU), where he leads a research team in social and genetic data science. Together his team and We The Curious will develop a ‘Curiosity Toolkit’ for a public audience called ‘Can machines understand emotion?’ The team’s toolkit will invite audiences to:

  • Share the idea that humans can produce data that help to classify emotions
  • Recognise that humans produce lots of data every day that expresses how they feel, and that researchers can use these data to teach machines to interpret those feelings
  • Experience a live example of how the type of data they produce can contribute to an Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution to a problem
  • Understand why researchers need computers to help them to analyse huge volumes of data
  • Contribute to and influence current research being undertaken by the team
  • Appreciate how these data can be used on a large scale to understand population health.

Oliver Davis says “Our toolkit will guide participants through the process of teaching machines how to recognise human emotion, using a series of five activities. This is directly relevant to our current research using social media data in population cohorts to better understand both mental health difficulties and positive emotions such as happiness and gratitude.”

Helen Della Nave at We The Curious said “The enthusiastic response from researchers to work with our public audiences was fantastic. Working with Oliver’s team will give audiences the opportunity to influence development of a new database of emotions and support future research. We are very excited about our audiences having the opportunity to get actively involved in this project.”

Through this competition, We The Curious have also offered Rox Middleton, a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Bristol a research residency for her project ‘How to use light’.

For further details of the competition requirements and background, see Curiosity Challenge.

The Jean Golding Institute data competitions

We run a number of competitions throughout the year – to find out more take a look at Data competitions.