AI software is the best technology for understanding humanity based on hard numbers and history. Internet users may be familiar with AI that takes information from user activity or Google searches and analyzes it to become the most knowledgeable technology on the planet. But is AI software so advanced it can understand complex human emotions?
How Aware Is AI Software in 2023?
When people consider AI, they may think of robotic arms winning games of chess or Siri answering questions. However, today’s AI reaches even further, making determinations from databases with machine learning (ML) that alter companies’ trajectories forever.
While impressive, these examples are reactive and limited scopes where AI can only analyze data sets objectively. They relay information matter-of-factly without considering how the human will respond emotionally. Additionally, it cannot judge how to deliver information with empathy, even if the content is heavy or triggering.
However, theory of mind AI could achieve this — if humans advanced tech far enough. Theory of mind explains a human ability to achieve empathy or distinguish emotional reactions from others. Eventually, theory of mind AI will differentiate individual people by perceiving their emotional state, motivations and desires — yet it won’t have an emotional understanding of itself.
The branch of AI study called affective computing — also known as emotional AI — works to bring this into reality. Diving deeper into this field will eventually allow AI to:
- Glean emotion from text, like novels or speeches.
- Hear how humans emphasize syllables or employ emotive language with volume.
- Read facial expressions for empathetic response delivery.
- Understand environmental, cultural or social conventions that would adjust how AI delivers or frames information.
“Algorithms give the illusion of understanding humans because they can recommend the perfect Netflix show to binge when in a slump, but does that make it an emotionally compassionate friend or an excellent parser of data?”
What Are the Risks of Emotional AI?
Misconstrued emotions are the most severe risk, especially when misconceptions could lead to a whirlwind of consequences in varying degrees. Simultaneously, AI engineers must be the most vigilant they have ever been when overseeing the software’s decision-making capabilities.
Would it be possible for AI software to understand how loaded the word “weight” is based on context when natural language processing can only do so much? Could it know if someone was passionate or angry? How would it know if someone needs space or comfort after a loved one’s passing?
Additionally, emotional consideration could cause anomalies in data more frequently. Human biases could promote unsavoury viewpoints through AI because the software could “understand” and empathize with problematic perspectives or struggle to read sarcasm. It could be equally successful at interpreting mutually beneficial and optimistic emotions that drive positive change.
These complexities compound when privacy becomes a widespread concern. If users don’t want their emotions monitored or submitted for AI software use, their omissions could eliminate entire demographics from the AI’s opinion mining. It creates a vicious cycle as biases could become a software feature instead of an oversight, as companies couldn’t control customer willingness to share data.
“It’s inevitable emotional AI software in its infancy will not conceptualize every nuance of human emotion accurately, so humans would have to exercise patience to give it time to adapt.”
How Could Humans Use Emotionally Aware AI?
Individual and corporate use of emotional AI could change everything from grant rewards to personal voting motivations. Companies administering financial awards, either via grant, scholarship or loan, could read pathos-driven stories in organizational descriptions to determine the honesty and legitimacy of applicants. AI software could also attempt to familiarize voters who are researching ballots, assisting with decision-making based on motivations and cost-benefit analysis.
It’s impossible to know how accurate any AI application would be without extensive testing. Optimal AI software implementation with emotional awareness could change industries for the better if:
- Hospitals used emotionally intuitive AI to help calm patients down before surgery.
- Automated customer service could change the tone of voice in reaction to caller behavior.
- People with disabilities were empowered to use emotional AI to communicate their needs more confidently.
- Virtual reality gaming adjusted environments based on player anxiety levels.
“f business or leisure technologies could perfect an emotionally intelligent AI, humans could have the most immersive, curated experiences in existence because the tech could meld with your reactive priorities and individualized story.”
Expanding AI Capabilities
Emotionally aware AI software could be nearer than humans think. Eventually, it could write novels with sentiment analysis that drives audiences to tears or provide advice during the stress of university based on how you receive advice most effectively.
AI experts must collaborate with psychologists, linguists, sociologists and more worldwide to get the most accurate view of emotional understanding from countless backgrounds, regions, upbringings and influences. However, the planet must have realistic expectations for its potential efficacy — it will not be accurate or even ideal all at once, but it could get there.