Just over a year ago, at the end of 2018 we closed Netek; my emotion AI company. The reason? Just like every startup that’s funded, we ran out of money. I tried over many months to raise more money. We had the tech and the team. But when I took the reigns as CEO I knew that the technology was still in it’s nascent stage and would need to evolve further than what the industry was operating on.
After working for a year on emotion AI, I can confirm that human emotions are complex; we don’t really understand them. And training a computing system to recognize them as a human does is even more difficult.
EmTV – Channel on Global Innovation and Social Impact – is an online channel that brings biweekly Live Chats at the confluence of Design, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Social responsibility and Sustainability with a true global perspective. It is co-hosted by Sunil Malhotra in New Delhi, India, and myself in Tijuana, Mexico.
While machine and deep learning are advancing the state of artificial intelligence, there’s still a long way to go before machines can replace us; if ever. Still, we have to recognize that today we are surrounded by computing power: devices, virtual assistants and robots; it’s everywhere.
Right now machines are really good at replicating and doing a better job than humans at repetitive tasks that require a lot of processing power and pattern recognition. But AI has trouble replicating those things that humans are really good at: understanding, motivating, and interacting with human beings.
Which is why you shouldn’t be worried machines will take your job: Machines will not replace us until they become emotionally intelligent.
This is important because as artificial intelligence continues its journey into the mainstream in 2018, and emotion AI becomes more present in discussions about AI; it’s worth asking: why does AI need emotional intelligence?
AI needs emotional intelligence to facilitate machine-human interaction
Before we can share our lives with machines, we must teach them to understand and mimic human emotion. Today machines can recognize faces, and they can also read our emotions:
With that said, beyond the “cool” factor, why does AI need emotion?
Here are three reasons why:
- To assist us. For now, bots are mindless minions that do our bidding. Google Home is a sidekick that tells us NFL scores. But when we want to send a bot on an errand to pick up the kids in an autonomous car? When the bot will fill in for us in an interview? When we want a bot that cares for an elderly person? The AI of the not-so-distant future had better be ready to tackle more complex challenges than simply looking up the weather.
- To understand us. If we are going to empower machines, algorithms, and software to do more of the work that humans used to perform, we have to imbue them with some of the empathy and limitations that people have; aka emotional intelligence.
- To make us better human beings. Just because technology can do something doesn’t mean it should. But we believe emotionally intelligent technology can makes us better human beings.
The future is already here. For a look into how this looks like, checkout our last post where we outlined 10 useful things emotion AI can do.
Originally posted in Vibetek blog.
This was the year most every large company took notice of the rise of artificial intelligence. But while it encapsulates many categories – machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, natural language processing, speech recognition and others – there is still one category that hasn’t been recognized, beyond academia, and that’s emotion recognition; or affective computing.