Plutchik project/Senti(m)ent examines and questions the emotion-mapping ability of AI by producing a virtual and automated fashion show of designer bots, reacting to human presence and their emergent emotional cues through outfits and sounds. 

Concept Note

Plutchik/Senti(m)ent project is an AI-driven interactive environment with designer bots, reacting to human presence and viewership and their complex and emergent emotional cues through a multitude of handmade outfits and sounds. Drawing ideas from psychologist Robert Plutchik’s perspectives on an evolutionary history of human emotions and their derivative and compound states, the project aims to underscore the complex and emergent nature of emotions and tries to locate how a carefully developed data set through research can help AI detect this emergent nature of human emotion as a sentient being. The research includes psychoacoustic association between sounds and human emotions locating the associations between emotional expressions and equivalent sounds, and data mining of emotional cues expressed on the World Wide Web, e.g. in social media platforms, in the form of emoticons, memes and other sharable images. The project develops an interactive fashion bot that can see (e.g. colours) and hear (e.g. ambient sounds) through the interaction ports: webcam and microphone using the data sets of images and sounds related to eight primary emotional cues Plutchik proposed: Fear, Anger, joy, Sadness, trust, disgust, anticipation, and surprise, and their complex derivatives. The sentient bot recognizes these compound emotional states by responding in the changes in outfits and sounds. 

Process Notes

We used Google to see what emotions correspond with what kind of imagery. Based on that we trained an emotion recognition model. It may not be accurate, but it is a reflection of how we express ourselves online and how emotions are defined online.

As methodological process, we started with a question: How do we see ourselves but also how we are all seen collectively? We develop Senti(m)ent – a bot which absorbs tons of visual data and reflects it through the radar of Plutchik’s model of 8 human emotions through its attire/costumes and props updated with current data sets. This simulated avatar is constructed out of machine junks (both physical and digital) of contemporary societies e.g. mechanical parts, motorbike metal scraps, photographs, and recycled fabrics overlapped by data sets of thousands of images collaged to generate a digital fabric. This project also interrogates whether there can be a new way to document emotions that a post/neo-human can afford based on ideas of self and others, as a futuristic being how it can expresses its identity, knowing the limits of emojis. The elements or the template design for the costume is based on “generated aesthetic” by the reduction model of AI combined with compression of symbols reduced from feeding data in the algorithm. This sentient being documents sentiment in complex ways – a totem for anyone projecting itself in this virtual, global, data generated costume, which is not owned by anyone yet created through a collective effort. Through this co-owned personality that interprets the information as part of it, we wanted to generate dialogue about how much information we consume individually and collectively through a dedicated renewal of connection between technology and human emotions. This project has tried to challenge ways in which machine learning can be utilized to reinterpret empathy in a technology-driven realm.

Ayesha M. Ali: 3D modeling, costume design, visual concept and artwork execution 

Marcel Top: data collection, machine training, video editing, and creative coding 

Budhaditya Chattopadhyay: sound, video data sets, audiovisual synchronization and conceptualisation

Bibliography, References and Tech Stack

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