Rana el Kaliouby co-founded and led Boston startup Affectiva, which uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to analyze mood and emotion.
Now she’s got a new job as deputy CEO of Smart Eye, after the Swedish eye-tracking company bought Affectiva for $73.5 million in June.
The auto industry is the prime market for el Kaliouby and competitors like Australia-based Seeing Machines. Carmakers are bracing for new safety rules and standards around the world that could require dashboard cameras to detect dangerous driver behavior, especially in vehicles that are partly driving themselves but still need human attention.
El Kaliouby says that’s just the beginning of where in-car AI systems are going. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Ten years from now, a family’s in a car. What might your technology be doing on their trip?
A: OK, family’s in the car. You’ve got two kids in the back seat. First of all, the kids are fighting. The car knows that and can see that mom, who’s driving, is getting frustrated, a little mad, distracted. The car intervenes by recommending content for the kids — or through a conversational interface, mediating a game between the kids. They play for a little. They fall asleep. The car can see that so the lights dim and the music or movie turns off. Then the car realizes mom is exhausted and also starting to doze off, so it gets into this chatty mode to reengage her. And then mom leaves the car, forgets the child is in there, and gets a text message that says, “Oh, you may have forgotten Little Baby Joe!’ I’m making this up on the fly. It can basically personalize the whole cabin experience — music, lighting, temperature, based on knowing who’s inside the car and what they’re doing.
Q: What is Affectiva bringing to Smart Eye, and vice versa?