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What Every Engineer and Computer Scientist Should Know: The Biggest Contributor to Happiness

By Rosalind Picard

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 64 No. 12, Pages 40-42

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My teams at MIT and our spin-out companies have worked for years to create technology that is both intelligent and able to improve people's lives. Through research drawing from psychiatry, neuroscience, psychology, and affective computing, I have learned some surprising things. In some cases, they are principles we have embedded into technology that interacts with people. Guess what? People like it. After one year of the COVID-19 pandemic, I realize that the principles we learned apply not only to making smart robots or software agents, but also to the people around us. They give us lessons for how to live happier lives, and happier engineers are better at solving creative problems and have more fun.

Researchers have studied what brings happiness in life, and what, at the end of life, people wish they had done. While many factors contribute, do you know the biggest one?


Tathagat Varma

Very good thoughts. Goes on to demonstrate that human relationships are built on universal principles of being social, caring for each other and being able to relate to one another and to a larger group. And....reminds me of Naisbitt's golden advise - high tech requires high touch!

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