Emotionally Aware AI – Is It Worth It?

Emotionally Aware AI – Is It Worth It?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has always caused heated debates among the masses. No matter how truly we believe it is something from the future, AI is already here. Just think of all the applications you use on a daily basis.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has always caused heated debates among the masses. No matter how truly we believe it is something from the future, AI is already here. Just think of all the applications you use on a daily basis.

But is it even possible to narrow the gap between data storing machines and emotional humans? If we manage to do this, then we are able to create a better society.

Yes, eventually jobs we believe can be done only by humans will be automated, thanks to AI. However, it does not mean that we should look at technologies with a bad eye. Researches have shown that humans and machines perform better when they work together. A White House report from 2016 says that when AI “doctor” diagnoses cancerous lymph node, its error rate is 7.5%, while the real human doctor makes mistakes in 3.5% of the time. Now the interesting part, when human doctor collaborates with AI the error rate is as low as 0.5%.

The results clearly show us that despite the progress of technology we still need human touch in certain areas. Of course, AI is unable to understand patients’ pain or to show compassion, but it can definitely help real doctors when diagnosing.

Currently, researchers are working on the development of emotionally intelligent AI systems. If this ever comes to reality, should we do a robot doctor that can feel the emotions of its patients? It is quite difficult to say we should, after all nothing can mimic human interaction.  However, there are benefits of automation – we would eventually have the chance to show more empathy and social awareness. Imagine how education will change, since AI will take care of analytical thinking. Then men can focus on interactions with other people.

In a way AI already reflects our cognitive biases, even prejudices can be perfectly copied by machines. Remember Microsoft’s Tay rants on Twitter? What about Google Photos tagging systems? This seriously questions how we should design machines’ behavior. Supposedly, they must interact like humans but if we want to build more ethical world, should they mimic even our ugliest traits?

Moreover, we need to change our attitude towards AI. Often we tend to forget that they are just algorithms, programed to act in a certain way. Therefore, it is maybe unfair to judge them when they reflect the world as it is. We should rather place responsibility in designers’ hands. After all AI is already here and it is up to us, whether we use it to make ourselves better human beings.

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