Emotional Intelligence (EI, or emotional quotient), has in recent years become a much-sought-after trait by enterprises. Ranked sixth in the World Economic Forum’s list of the top 10 skills, EI is sure to change the way enterprises operate. Today, enterprises want emotionally aware people (and machines) to deal with their customers and lead their organizations.
Advantages of superior EI
EI affects the decisions that we make in the workplace – a few examples include customer service, hiring talent and true leadership of teams. Multiple studies have shown that people with higher EI make better employees, work for long-term goals and collaborate better. In leadership, high EI has a trickle-down effect – a leader who practices and encourages EI can share her/his vision more effectively with employees, gain their trust and respect, and can guide them on how to deal with stressful situations.
EI + AI: A successful collaboration
If you’ve seen L3-37 in “Solo: A Star Wars Story”, then you’ve already seen an EI-enabled Bot in action – a bot capable of simulating empathy by interpreting the emotional state of humans, to give an appropriate response.
There are quite a few AI companies working on technologies where facial emotions and micro-expressions are analyzed to establish patterns, then evaluated to find out what provokes these emotions to determine underlying behavioral traits. This technology can be used for hiring, advertising, marketing, predicting customer behavior, and much more.
A real-life example is CIMON 2 (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion), which was recently sent to the International Space Station (ISS). CIMON 2 is an interactive AI assistant that floats around the station and answers astronauts’ questions, recognizes emotions, and socializes with the crew.
Similarly, Amazon and Google have brought in human scriptwriters to build state-of-the-art chatbots that can take appropriate actions based on the cognitive state of a customer. AI devices are being taught to recognize, interpret, process, and simulate human emotions, while companies like Affectiva, Sensay and BeyondVerbal are refining their sentiment analysis software to decode emotions.
Emotions and technology can co-exist!
Some of the applications where we can expect EI and AI to converge are automatic tutoring systems, health support, market research and even political polling. This trend will result in a shift from data-driven interactions to EI-guided experiences, giving brands the opportunity to connect to customers on a deeper and personal level.
Experts predict that emotional AI will be a technological reality very soon, and our personal device will know more about our emotional state than our own family!
A balanced approach
Despite advancements in science and technology, it still takes human traits and intervention (EI being one of them) to create and build software that enables disruptive technologies of automation. The ideal path ahead, in my opinion, would be the one where humans and technology (bots, IOT, virtual assistants, AR/VR and others we can’t even imagine) can interact harmoniously – making it more about coexistence rather than competition.
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