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Note: This piece is part of the Superheroes section of our Opportunity Sprint. Check out the full do-it-yourself AI strategy workshop program here.

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

Incredible use of emotional AI
  • understanding customer reactions to advertisements

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/
  • analyzing video interviews and tracking emotional state, such as enthusiasm for what’s being discussed, in order to predict a job candidate’s success by analyzing an interview

Company video demonstrating how emotions influence assessments of candidates

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

At Sonder Scheme, we help humans win in the age of AI, with practical services, training and tools. We combine deep expertise in AI with decades of experience working with leading organizations including Adobe, Apple, Cisco, Fonterra, Google, Morgan Stanley, National Headstart Association, the New York Times, Quartz, Transpower NZ, US Department of Energy and the World Green Building Council.

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