Emotionally Intelligent Design Workshop

UXPA@Pratt organised the ‘Emotionally Intelligent Design Workshop’ on 16th February 2019. It was conducted by Pamela Pavliscak and the theme of the workshop was ‘Love’.

The motive of the workshop was to give the participants a basic understanding of how emotion-sensitive artificial intelligence works and how to design the same. The session was broken into parts like that of a four-course meal. The participants were divided into pairs to mimic a setting of a date. Each pair was given a topic and a situation for which they had to design an emotionally intelligent device.

Each pair conducted an interview in relation to the situation provided to them, where one played the part of an interviewer and the other, the interviewee. The situations or problems given were all with the context of love like, cohabitation or being single. The devices to be made by the end of the workshop were to solve the given problems faced the by participants.

The workshop was well-structured and all the parts were highlighted right in the beginning. All the problems and solutions were personal and unique because they were in context with the participants’ personal experiences. Ways to uncover the emotions behind every design or prototyping steps taken were shown. Methods to design any device, not only mobile or web-based applications but physical products as well so that they can read and adapt to human emotions, were discussed.

The ways emotional intelligence shapes the future of technology were discussed, where AI would be able to interact with humans on an emotional level and as Sengers describes it “The hope is that rather than forcing humans to interface with machines, those machines may learn to interface with us, to present themselves in such a way that they do not drain us of our humanity, but instead themselves become humanized.”

There has always been a debate, whether AI is a benefit or a risk to the society. But this workshop emphasized on how AI and emotional design could be used to impact society in a positive way. The participants were made to explore the world of ‘Emotional Intelligence’ in a much deeper sense, which resulted in creative and adaptive designs at the end.


  • Sengers, Phoebe. (1999). “Practices for a machine culture: a case study of integrating cultural theory and artificial intelligence.” 

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