Businessolver Blog

Why using empathy with AI is necessary

Why using empathy with AI is necessary
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2018 by Sony SungChu
Empathy and AI.jpg
The uses of AI are deeper and wider than we may have imagined years ago. Empathy and AI

Past literature and film depicted AI as robots helping command a spaceship or as an iron superhero saving a city from evil. While AI today may not look like a Transformer or R2D2, its expanding list of use cases is changing our daily lives.

A few years ago, your thermostat would not have been able to adjust its temperature based on your usual Wednesday evening routine. And your car would not have been able to parallel park itself when the spot was a little too tight for your own maneuvering. AI has a come a long way, and with technology continuing to advance at a rapid rate, the possibilities of where it will go next remain unknown.

However, it’s no secret that there is a need for empathy within all uses of AI, and developers must infuse humanity into their innovation. Here are three reasons why:

Humans are still humans. At the end of the day, while technology will advance, evolve, and adapt, the human users will continue to have needs and emotions that must be met with empathy. For example, if my Amazon Echo isn’t answering my question the way I’d like, and I’m getting agitated, she has no way of picking that up. My emotions will only be conveyed to her if I explicitly state that I am agitated, which is not how human-to-human interactions naturally work. In order for AI to fully understand and then meet human needs, it must be empathetic.

Ethical issues. There have been issues with AI technologies crossing the line of ethical boundaries. For example, Microsoft’s AI chatbot Tay learned based on algorithms that helped interpret what humans said, and then used that data to evolve. Unfortunately, Tay became corrupted by users who miseducated her using politically insensitive phrases and feeding her offensive viewpoints. If Tay had any sense of empathy, in this instance in the form of filters, then this situation could have been avoided. In a world where we are socially conscious, the necessity of empathy for ethical reasons is even more relevant.

Inclusivity. As you look around you today, within your office, your neighborhood, or even your home, there are a range of technology users. While you may be able to code a complicated website, the person next to you could still be figuring out how to update their mobile apps. Connecting with technology users of all levels is imperative to creating AI solutions. At Businessolver, our AI-enabled benefits assistant Sofia is mobile friendly and has voice control, making her accessible for all. There’s no denying that AI can be used to solve a range of challenges, but to reach its full potential it must be empathetic enough to include all human users.