Professor and Entrepreneur


Emotions are vital to our everyday experiences; they're essential to helping us discern what matters – to ourselves and to others. Yet, when it comes to understanding emotions and their influence on everything from behavior and learning to customer loyalty and decision making, "we're not as good as we think we are," says Dr. Rosalind Picard. But with her help and that of the rapidly growing field of affective computing, humans and technologies alike are making important progress in creating better ways to measure and communicate emotion.

MIT Professor, and founder and director of the MIT Media Lab's Affective Computing research group, Picard first coined the term "Affective Computing" in her seminal book of the same name (MIT Press, 1997). She explained then, "for computers to have some of the advanced abilities we desire, it may be necessary that they comprehend and, in some cases, feel emotions." The age of emotional machines is coming. Today, the field has its own academic journal, international conference, and professional society and groups devoted to its study around the world. Picard is its foremost authority - and one of its most influential champions.

Picard co-founded Affectiva, Inc., to deliver the technology to help measure and communicate emotion, quickly ushering in an era in which businesses are increasingly using sophisticated machine learning technology to better understand consumer tastes and preferences. It also paved the way for breakthroughs in medical applications, including autism, epilepsy, depression, PTSD, sleep, stress and dementia. Named one of seven "Tech SuperHeros to Watch" by CNN, Picard is also co-founder of Empatica, Inc., which is creating the medical-grade wearable sensors and analytics designed for health care, based on her inventions and patents.

Entrepreneur, scientist, engineer and active inventor, Picard is a woman of numerous talents, strengths and achievements. She is a popular and engaging speaker, and has given more than 100 keynote talks. She's also authored or co-authored more than 250 scientific articles and chapters – many of which received best paper prizes – spanning computer vision, pattern recognition, machine learning, human-computer interaction, wearable sensors and affective computing.

Picard is co-director of the MIT Media Lab's Advancing Wellbeing Initiative and faculty chair of MIT's Mind+Hand+Heart Initiative. She has served on numerous international and national science and engineering program committees, editorial boards and review panels. She also interacts regularly with industry and has consulted for many powerhouse companies, including Apple, AT&T, HP, i.Robot, Merck, Motorola and Samsung.

Picard holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and master's and doctorate degrees – both in electrical engineering and computer science – from MIT.

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