Virtual Event: Rana el Kaliouby
A Scientist's Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity
by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology
April 27, 2021
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome RANA EL KALIOUBY—a pioneer in Emotion AI and co-founder and CEO of Affectiva—for paperback release of her celebrated memoir Girl Decoded: A Scientist’s Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology.
Contribute to Support Harvard Book Store
While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of Girl Decoded on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
About Girl Decoded
Rana el Kaliouby is a rarity in both the tech world and her native Middle East: a Muslim woman in charge in a field that is still overwhelmingly white and male. Growing up in Egypt and Kuwait, el Kaliouby was raised by a strict father who valued tradition—yet also had high expectations for his daughters—and a mother who was one of the first female computer programmers in the Middle East. Even before el Kaliouby broke ground as a scientist, she broke the rules of what it meant to be an obedient daughter and, later, an obedient wife to pursue her own daring dream.
After earning her PhD at Cambridge, el Kaliouby, now the divorced mother of two, moved to America to pursue her mission to humanize technology before it dehumanizes us. The majority of our communication is conveyed through nonverbal cues: facial expressions, tone of voice, body language. But that communication is lost when we interact with others through our smartphones and devices. The result is an emotion-blind digital universe that impairs the very intelligence and capabilities—including empathy—that distinguish human beings from our machines.
To combat our fundamental loss of emotional intelligence online, she cofounded Affectiva, the pioneer in the new field of Emotion AI, allowing our technology to understand humans the way we understand one another. Girl Decoded chronicles el Kaliouby’s journey from being a “nice Egyptian girl” to becoming a woman, carving her own path as she revolutionizes technology. But decoding herself—learning to express and act on her own emotions—would prove to be the biggest challenge of all.
Praise for Girl Decoded
“As an entrepreneur and computer scientist, Rana el Kaliouby has done pioneering work to infuse technology with emotion and leverage technology to enrich our understanding of emotions. In this forthright, engaging memoir, she takes us behind the scenes of her work and through the key events that have shaped her life and worldview.” —Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take
“el Kaliouby’s dream was to enable computers to engage human emotions, but she needed to engage her own emotions to invent machines with emotions. Her remarkable life story is a captivating way to understand this new technological frontier: machines with emotional intelligence.” —Kevin Kelly, futurist, founding editor of Wired, and author of The Inevitable
“Brilliant and inspiring—words that describe both Rana el Kaliouby and her extraordinary new book, which tells the story of her life and of the crucial role she played in the invention of artificial emotional intelligence . . . a poignant and deeply personal tale about love, loss, and coming of age on a new scientific frontier.” —Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University and author of Stumbling on Happiness
The Harvard Science Book Talks series is a collaboration between the Harvard University Division of Science, the Harvard Library, and Harvard Book Store. The series features talks by the authors of recently published books on a variety of science-related topics and is open to both the Harvard community and to the general public. Typically, lectures are followed by a book signing with the author and refreshments. Learn more and watch recordings of past talks here.
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