AI is learning to recognize human emotions, then using that knowledge to improve everything from marketing campaigns to recruitment. Emotional AI measures, understands, simulates and reacts to human emotions and provides for more natural relationships between humans and machines.

Humans are social creatures. A lot of each of our brains is devoted to emotional learning. Just like we can understand speech and machines can communicate in speech, we also understand and communicate with laughter, fear, anger and other kinds of emotions. And machines that can speak that language — the language of emotions — are going to have better, more effective interactions with us.

This is powerful technology and is being used in a variety of applications. Many technologies are a combination of computer vision (for observing facial configurations), voice analysis (intonation and pace) or gesture (movements of a mouse) with AI that recognizes consistent emotional patterns. However, this is an area where the science of emotions hasn’t kept pace with the technology used to categorize emotions so, while powerful, is best used in to augment, rather than replace, humans.

It can be quite spooky and it’s clear that machines that can manipulate us emotionally require a different kind of oversight. Examine your own emotional reaction when you watch some of these. Do you love or loathe the idea?

The most inspirational applications of emotional AI include:

  • incredible digital humans for helping customers, patients and students

  • enhancing human performance in a car

If you have time, run the demo on the Affectiva site which shows you how you react (camera required). https://www.affectiva.com/experience-it/
  • improve mood, help with anxiety, based on cognitive behavioral therapy from Stanford.
A quick demo of the Woebot chat

Watch these videos, discuss what you think is inspirational and imagine what could happen next.

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