Artificial Intelligence is getting in touch with emotions as we speak. Artificial Emotional Intelligence or AEI is an advanced form of a generic AI. Artificial Intelligence is now making its way in human life more than ever. It has taken several roles from performing backend data processing tasks to front desk virtual assistant duties. Making Artificial Intelligence ‘human-centric’ is a necessity now. That is enabling AI to understand human preferences, moods, and feelings. Artificial Emotional Intelligence is helping in achieving this empathy connection between machines and humans.
In recent Artificial Intelligence news, a Boston-based AI startup named Affectiva is working on emotion recognition and analysis software. This AI software is to process sentiments and emotions through voice levels, eye movements, and facial expressions. Using all this data, the software will produce an appropriate response for the end-user. AI in other terms will not be tone deaf! An algorithm is also being trained to sense the tone of the emails to produce better and effective responses.
We can easily foresee the benefits of Artificial Emotional Intelligence around us. Human-centric machines will prove helpful in hospitals and even in personal life. Where AI software with emotion-sensing technology will cater better to patients. Where your AI personal assistant will play the music sensing your mood. The benefits go so on and so forth. According to Gartner, 10 percent of all personal devices will make use of emotion AI in some form within the next 2 years.
For the past 5 to 6 months, the world is facing a pandemic. The talks of business going down or online have created much hype. But it is a reality that almost 55 percent of businesses especially startups have employed digital strategies to strengthen their business and in the present crisis just even to keep them alive. Things have gone online. When software is interacting with a customer, a business wants nothing but a great experience for their customers. Artificial Emotional Intelligence is capable of fulfilling this need. If designed and developed according to the requirements, AI software can bridge the sentiment gap between online virtual assistants and end customers thereby increasing sales through more personal user experience.
The chief executive and co-founder of Affectiva, Ms el Kaliouby, has been in the field of Human Robot Interaction (HRI) for more than 20 years now. Her career’s main highlight is to work on machines making them understand humans. She believes that “Technology today has a lot of cognitive intelligence or IQ, but no emotional intelligence, or EQ. We are facing an empathy crisis. We need to redesign technology in a more human-centric way.”
In her recent book, Girl Decoded, Ms el Kaliouby states how Artificial Intelligence can be used effectively to make technology more human. She presents a case that Artificial Intelligence is a perfect tool to make machines more human-centric. She talks about an empathetic and understandable relation between humans and the latest technology. During her academic research, she worked on how facial recognition technology can help autistic children to interpret feelings.
Recently a surge in Emotional AI is seen. Businesses like call centers and insurance companies are willing to adopt technology familiar with human sentiments and thus capable of delivering better outcomes. Amazon has already filed a patent for emotion technology. Alexa, a virtual assistant device by Amazon that is used by millions of people now, will be able to play music and turn on TV shows just according to the user’s mood. The emotion AI technology will detect how a person is feeling at the moment.
Affectiva has also developed Emotion recognition software to be used in vehicles. Through sensors, cameras, and microphones software can sense the driver’s mood. Is he drowsy or in anger? It can further make suggestions to fasten the seatbelt or lower the vehicle’s temperature.
As every coin has two sides, every technological advancement appears with two outcomes. Artificial Emotional Intelligence is even more critical as it is more intimate and at the same time more ambiguous. Although AEI is capable of boosting online customer experience, it also involves risky emotional data. This report from Accenture highlights the same risk that comes with employing Artificial Emotional Intelligence.
The AI research institute at New York University, AI Now Institute, also presented the cases where Emotional AI or ‘affect recognition technology’ could go wrong. It further suggested that such critically advanced technology should not be used exclusively for critical scenarios that involve decision makings such as hiring people, user score assessment, in short cases that involve a high percentage of human judgment. As the report by AI Now Institute states, “There remains little or no evidence that these new affect-recognition products have any scientific validity,”
Ms el Kaliouby herself states that such Emotional AI technology should be used with the full consent of the user. Where the user has full knowledge about the data collection, processing, and usage.
In a nutshell, Artificial Emotional Intelligence comes with many possibilities. At the same time, it also brings forward challenges of data security and even misuse of advanced technology. A check and balance on the use of such technology are mandatory such that it neither violates the user’s privacy nor falls into wrong hands bringing destruction more than the fruitful outcomes.