AI News, Do you believe that emotionally intelligent robots are possible, or is ... artificial intelligence

Wanted: Emotionally Intelligent AI that Understands the Human Mind

Though a lot of progress has been made in field of intelligent agents in the last 10 years, many researchers who are in the same camp as Samsonovich are now on a mission to develop human-like intelligence, cognitive abilities, emotional and social intelligence, and common sense reasoning.

Current Affiliations: Research Assistant Professor at the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, George Mason University When it comes to developing advanced AI, Dr. Alexei Samsonovich is of the belief that “emotional intelligence in particular is key and the easiest first step on the road map…it’s relatively easy to implement, it sounds like (something) only a human can possess, but no one can prove that an agent does or does not have emotions”.

Samsonovich is interested in believable agents, ones that we can believe are alive and can understand us, and he thinks this is something that we can implement today. Despite the lack of progress in what Alexei deems to be a key area, there has been a lot of progress in natural language and machine learning, with agents like Siri, Watson, or the Google Car.

“They don’t really create exactly what we need, how many users actually talk to Siri every day, I hate using it and I never did, I tried maybe a couple of times just to understand that this is not different from another cheap tool, an artifact that is not alive, not capable of understanding me”.

But if we develop an agent with relatively simplified language, we can still tell an automaton from a human. Is it possible to achieve mutual understanding through a common line interface rather than the “illusion” of fancy graphics and body language?

The key point is not the emotional state of the key agent, but that agent’s appraisal of every element of each possible action, each object, and then using those appraisals to generate resulting goals, actions, and behavior.

When Artificial Intelligence Becomes Emotionally Intelligent

The process that humans follow to complete a given task is strikingly similar to what AI does—identify data, analyze data, interpret the analysis, identify a suitable course of action, and implement that action.

Consequently, the jobs of personal assistants, drivers, delivery persons, factory workers, financial analysts, and even doctors are endangered, along with the hundreds of jobs that involve clerical work.

Even though the smartest minds in the world strive to make AI smarter by adding more neural networks and feeding it volumes of data, it is unable to express emotion.

While AI can become the cause of employee redundancy in various industries due to its superior data processing capabilities and hard skills, humans are at an advantage for their emotional processing capabilities and soft skills, two things that they can hold onto proudly.

For example, a robot cannot take the place of a psychologist, who has to dive deep and understand the emotions and problems of a patient and offer tailored solutions and suggestions that might improve the patient’s mental health, although gradually.

Only a manager in the form of a human being can motivate their team, tackle individual issues and conflicts and instill in them a sense to perform better and achieve greater results.

Amazon’s Echo for Kids communicates with children in a way that elders would, encouraging them to say “please” and “thank you”, suggesting that they should talk to their parents, siblings, or elders about sensitive subjects such as bullying, and even giving them leeway by recognizing “Awexa” instead of the usual name.

It’s a bright April day in Boston, and Gabi Zijderveld, a pioneer in the field of emotional artificial intelligence, is trying to explain why teaching robots to feel is as important as teaching them to think.

“We live in a world surrounded by all these super-advanced technologies, hyper-connected devices, AI systems with super cognitive abilities — or, as I like to say, lots of IQ but absolutely no EQ,” says Zijderveld, chief marketing officer of Affectiva, the startup that spun out of the MIT Media Lab 10 years ago to build emotionally intelligent machines.

“Just like humans that are successful in business and in life — they have high emotional intelligence and social skills — we should expect the same with technology, especially for these technologies that are designed to interact with humans.”

(The company says all participants in Affectiva’s database consented to be recorded.) The sheer size and range of the database allow the algorithms to detect patterns in facial movement that indicate nuances in emotion, such as the difference between a smirk and a smile.

The diversity of faces in its database works to eliminate algorithmic biases and pick up the differences in expressions of people of all ethnicities, ages, genders and cultural backgrounds.

For now, Affectiva’s biggest customers are market researchers working with big advertisers, from food manufacturers to media corporations, that use its cloud-based emotion recognition software Affdex, which culls from a database of 40,000 ads and millions of faces to measure seven emotions and 20 facial expressions.

Using a focus group of 200 viewers watching the show while being recorded on a webcam, Affdex tracked their facial movements, frame by frame, and was able to pinpoint scenes and moments where people connected with the show emotionally.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, one auto manufacturer used Affectiva’s technology to demonstrate ways that cars could use AI to analyze drivers’ feelings and adjust things like temperature, sound, light and scent inside the vehicle.

A promising new frontier is a developing field called “human perception AI.” Zijderveld describes this next phase as “technology that can understand all things human.” Going beyond detecting just emotion, computers will be able to detect complex cognitive states such as drowsiness and distraction, which will only broaden the applications within the realm of the auto industry.

With human perception AI, Affectiva is looking at ways to train its algorithms to understand not only how people feel internally but also how they interact with their environments, objects and other people — which has potential across industries.

So if you wake up feeling stressed, imagine if your digital assistant could sense it and already started playing your favorite meditation app, ordered you a chai latte and scheduled a yoga class.

“Especially in situations where there is surveillance and people are being monitored without knowing,” she says, “we have actively walked away from business opportunities that we felt [were] in violation of our stance on what we think is ethical deployment of our AI.” As Affectiva's technology and other machines learn to delve into the innermost feelings of humans, it is also critical to raise the question of ethics as it applies to this new form of AI.

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