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Mobile and Ubiquitous Media

Critical and International Perspectives

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Michael S. Daubs and Vincent R. Manzerolle

What does the phrase "ubiquitous media" actually mean? Individual definitions are just as varied and ubiquitous as the media to which they refer. As a result, there is to date no large-scale theoretical framework through which we can understand the term. The goal of this volume is to provide a diverse set of critical, theoretical, and international approaches useful to those looking for a more diverse and nuanced understanding of what ubiquitous media means analytically.

In contrast to other existing texts on mobile media, these contributions on mobile media are contextualised within a larger discussion on the nature and history of ubiquitous media. Other sections of this edited volume are dedicated to historical perspectives on ubiquitous media, ubiquitous media and visual culture, the role of ubiquitous media in surveillance, the political economy of ubiquitous media, and the way a ubiquitous media environment affects communities, spaces, and places throughout the world.

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Chapter Sixteen: Ubiquitous Emotion Analytics and How We Feel Today (Susan Currie Sivek)

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chapter sixteen

Ubiquitous Emotion Analytics and How We Feel Today

Susan Currie Sivek

Emotions are complicated. Humans feel deeply, and it can be hard to bring clarity to those depths, to communicate about feelings, or to understand others’ emotional states. Indeed, this emotional confusion is one of the biggest challenges of deciphering our humanity. However, a kind of hope might be on the horizon, in the form of emotion analytics: computerized tools for recognizing and responding to emotion. Technologies containing this capability—such as market research tools using webcams, and apps for mental health—are becoming commonplace, even though they are unfamiliar to much of the public. Major technology companies are working to endow their devices and platforms with the ability to understand emotion. While humans struggle to master this skill throughout their lives, the increasingly ubiquitous nature of emotion analytics may mean that our devices will soon be better equipped to understand feelings than we are.

Though shifting this emotional facility to technology could seem potentially liberating to humans, the soon-to-be-ubiquitous use of emotion analytics carries complex implications regarding humans’ experience of emotion in our society. As Dourish and Bell argue (2011, 46), ubiquitous computing is “already a sociocultural object, both in its artifacts and its practices.” In other words, even before we can examine the likely consequences of emotion analytics’ usage, we can look closely at what the implementation of these tools says about our interactions with technology today and...

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