The goal of artificial intelligence (AI) research has shifted over the years to pursue a more complex task of getting algorithms to understand emotions, making them more human. Achieving the ability to compute and automate specific tasks has given researchers confidence that other less tangible aspects of human experience can also be computed. It is believed that machines with emotional understanding will work better alongside with humans.

Current algorithms require human inputs of rules and data so that the machine can learn to react appropriately to keywords. In unfamiliar situations outside of the predetermined set of rules, the algorithm will not work as effectively.

In the foreseeable future, AI may be able to work in diverse environments that require sensible interpretation of social and emotional cues as comfortably as humans. For now, it has not yet reached that stage.

Read the full article on Forbes: Making AI More Emotional – Part One


Depending on how you look at it, making AI more human can be a boon or a bane for the future workforce.

If we take the perspective that robots would eventually take over the majority of our jobs because they eventually learn to be more human, the future seems bleak. Most manual, labour-intensive jobs could be done with machines. Humans would only be required for building and maintaining the hardware. If the AI can make sound decisions based on unscripted scenarios, understand human emotions, they could also provide services that we traditionally thought only humans can do.

However, proponents of AI believe that emotional AI seeks to improve the way humans interact. Current AI projects augmenting live conversations can obtain several data points from voice analysis, pace of speech, energy and empathy, to provide feedback to call agents to improve their conversations. If we see the new technology as an enabler for humans to improve their abilities, and challenge ourselves to create new relevant jobs complementing technology, it no longer seems as threatening.  

Questions for further personal evaluation:

  1. Would you advocate for making AI more emotional?
  2. What are the challenges faced by certain groups of workers left behind due to technology?

Useful vocabulary:

  1. ‘tangible’: perceptible by touch
  2. ‘nascent: just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential

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