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Photo of a Stanford GSE event near Cubberley Building

Empathic media: The case of gaming

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Lane Hall, Rodriguez Lecture Hall

mediaX, Interactive Media & Games Seminar

Andrew McStay, Reader in Advertising and Digital Media, Bangor University

Andrew McStay, Empathic Media: The Case of Gaming. Emotion-sensitive technologies are wide-ranging and can be found in advertising, education, health, gaming, marketing, retail, sport and other domains that take advantage of sentiment analysis, developments in user experience, body-sensing technologies, and face and voice analytics. Some of these are online technologies, others are worn, many make use of big data processes, but all involve comprehension of feelings and emotional life. I account for these affective processes as empathic media. Drawing on examples from gaming, in this talk I will outline conceptual principles of empathic media, what they portend for the future, and important but non-obvious critical questions for industry, regulators and privacy groups. As will be developed, gaming is a leading example of empathic media because it was first within the media industry to market rich consumer-level biometric entertainment; but also because it offers a clear sense of the value exchange implicit in consumer-level empathic media (data for services). In addition to discussion of insights generated from interviews with a wide range of media practitioners, technologists, policy makers and privacy NGOs, I will also present nationally representative survey data I collected about what the UK citizenry feels about these developments in both gaming and other spaces making use of empathic media.

Andrew McStay is a Reader in Advertising and Digital Media from Bangor University, UK. Awarded a Future Leaders research grant by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, he is working on a project titled 'Empathic Media: Theory-Building and Knowledge-Exchange with Industry, Regulators and NGOs' (Ref AH/M006654/1). His most recent book is Privacy and Philosophy: New Media and Affective Protocol for Peter Lang. He is also author of Creativity and Advertising: Affect, Events and Process (Routledge, 2013); The Mood of Information: A Critique of Behavioural Advertising (Continuum, 2011); and Digital Advertising (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009/2nd ed 2016). He is a member of the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office Privacy Network, and has advised the UK Government Office for Science about social implications of emotional analytics.