Andrew McStay, from the School of Creative Studies, University of Bangor, will provide an account of what he terms ‘empathic media’ in relation to health, wearable technologies and data analytics.

Developed in his recent book Privacy and Philosophy: New Media and Affective Protocol (2014), this odd sounding expression has less to do with sympathy, but technologies able to interpret people and their environments by means of text, images, facial recognition, speech, behaviour, gesture and bodily movement. Although there are questions to be asked in regard to data and privacy, the focus of this talk is on the ‘pharmacological’ dimensions of empathic media – or that which is both poison and cure.

Developed by Bernard Stiegler (but appropriated from Jacques Derrida and originally Plato), this principle of moral ambivalence applies well to the growth of emotion-sensitive technologies in the area of health. In developing these topics, Andrew will reflect on interviews conducted with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office on empathic media and data processing, and wearable health companies in the Silicon Valley region of the US.