Empathic Media seminar, Nov 12th

Wednesday 12 November, 4.15pm
Room 311, University of Westminster, Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Dr Andy McStay, Bangor University
“Exploring the Pharmacology of Empathic Media: Health, Wearables and Analytics​”

This talk provides an account of  ‘empathic media’ in relation to health, wearable technologies and data analytics. Developed in Andy McStay’s recent book Privacy and Philosophy: New Media and Affective Protocol (2014), this odd sounding expression has less to do with sympathy, but technologies able to interpret people and their environments by means of text, images, facial recognition, speech, behaviour, gesture and bodily movement. Although there are questions to be asked in regard to data and privacy, the focus of this talk is on the ‘pharmacological’ dimensions of empathic media – or that which is both poison and cure. Developed by Bernard Stiegler (but appropriated from Jacques Derrida and originally Plato), this principle of moral ambivalence applies well to the growth of emotion-sensitive technologies in the area of health. In developing these topics, the paper reflects on interviews conducted with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office on empathic media and data processing, and wearable health companies in the Silicon Valley region of the US.

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