This article in New Scientist has me thinking about how to endow artificially intelligent machines with emotions. This shouldn't be a hard task.
Referring to a previous post on mood, as well as one on emotions, a computerized machine can be fitted with sensors to facilitate machine learning, with unconditioned and conditioned stimuli as incentives. Reward would be determined by the required rate intake of resources, and the net intake of resources deemed available. Resources can include energy, and even social approval. In the latter case, machines can detect facial features and be programmed to associate them with social signals, such as those revealed by facial expressions, for example. The sum of all available resources can be operationalized as mood.
The machine is then capable of attaching values to various stimuli and now emotions can be added. Anger, for example, can be programmed as an unexpected subjective loss. But could machines feel?
I think emotional feelings in human beings serve as signals to the working memory in the prefrontal cortex, allowing for metacognitive differentiation. That is, with regard to our thinking about our emotional reactions, it helps to be able to distinguish each emotional response from others. Hence, there is no reason to think such differentiation cannot be programmed into artificial intellgence systems.
Quantitative Psychological Theory and Musings