Elaboration Teaches Computers and Companies to Understand Human Emotion

Startup Sandbox member company detects underlying feelings and frustrations in text interactions


This post is based on an article appearing in Santa Cruz Tech Beat. Read the full article


20 February 2020


The Internet is littered with chat bots that try to determine peoples' needs by asking questions and searching for keywords in their responses, but those bots can’t gauge frustrations and feelings. And real human connection, personal understanding and excellent service all depend on assessing those emotions.


Quantifying Human Emotion and Experience Elaboration, a member of Startup Sandbox, is a natural language processing company in a branch of computer science known as Affective Computing, which is in a broader field known as Sentiment Analysis. In an industry focused on binary classification, Elaboration quantifies the abstract, subjective and emotive aspects of the human experience.


Product Strategy

The Elaboration platform examines casual text using machine learning and Big Data techniques to detect and gauge human feelings and opinions. It is the first detection system to recognize the subtleties of human feeling without compromising accuracy, objectivity or dimension.

Elaboration wants their technology to improve well-being, relationships, and machine-human interactions. It offers an API and custom-built solutions that track emotional linguistics – twenty products that focus on nonprofit, creative and political sectors.


“It’s really the Venn diagram of linguistics, statistics, human factors and computer science. All of these aspects are equally important when working with machines on understanding human emotion in the words we use.” Joy MacKay

The Startup Sandbox Connection

Elaboration’s Joy MacKay and Deo Ferrer feel that Santa Cruz is the natural center for a company centered around emotion. Becoming a member of Startup Sandbox, Santa Cruz’s UCSC-affiliated incubator, was a natural fit for the rising stars in understanding the human experience.

“Some of my favorite memories of childhood were in the ocean at Main Beach, or on a rope swing in the redwoods.” Joy MacKay “To do something different, you have to be in an atmosphere that isn’t bogged down by status quo. Santa Cruz has always had a reputation for new thought.” Deo Ferrer

For more details about Elaboration, see this article at Santa Cruz Tech Beat or the Elaboration website.



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