Artifact Details


Engineering Emotional Intelligence: Affectiva CEO Ran el Kaliouby in conversation with Museum CEO John Hollar

Catalog Number



Moving image




el Kaliouby, Rana, Speaker
Hollar, John C., Moderator


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, CA




What could your computer or phone do if it knew how you were feeling? Through a combination of psychology, technology, and cognitive science, one startup is bringing emotional intelligence to the digital world. Affectiva has developed new artificial intelligence that allows machines to not only read your feelings, but also react to them. Spun out of the MIT Media Lab, the company has developed sophisticated face and emotion algorithms that can detect even the most nuanced expressions with a high degree of accuracy. This technology is trained and tested by incorporating information from Affectiva’s emotional data repository of 4.8 million faces from 75 different countries, amounting to more than 50 billion emotion data points.

Affectiva’s software is already in the hands of developers, content creators, market researchers, and advertisers, who are using it to learn more about how audiences react to products. Companies like Unilever, CBS, Kellogg, and Mars are current customers.

During this conversation Dr. Rana el Kaliouby, Affectiva CEO and co-founder, shares how the company’s technology was invented, the creative ways the software is being used, and her vision for the future of emotion-aware computing. Prior to starting the company, Rana worked as a scientist at MIT, leading efforts to apply emotion-sensing technology to mental health and autism research. Rana is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. Rana holds a BSc and MSc in computer science from the American University in Cairo and a PhD from the computer laboratory at the University of Cambridge.



Collection Title

CHM Live


Computer History Museum

Lot Number