Yoga, meditation, smartphone?

Artificial intelligence can recognise and anticipate our feelings and moods with increasing accuracy. For algorithms, we have become an open book. No psychiatrist could sketch as precise a picture of our minds as this technology.

Artificial Emotional Intelligence

This text is an excerpt from the GDI study "Wellness 2030", which is available for free.

The developers of artificial emotional intelligence (AEI) see it as primarily beneficial, claiming that AEI will help us make better decisions. But it is not only the creators of such technologies who see opportunity in them; the philosopher Alain de Botton, for example, listed the following benefits in an article for the tech magazine Wired.

Self-awareness

Emotions are complicated and we often fail to recognize what is really good for us. AEI could help us to understand ourselves better and make smarter decisions, in particular when it comes to important emotional questions like «what should we learn?» and «with whom should I build a relationship?»

Empathy boosting

Empathy is the capacity – and the willingness – to recognize and understand another person’s perceptions, thoughts, emotions, motives and personality features. The basis of empathy is self-awareness: the more open a person is to their own emotions, the better they can interpret another person’s. AEI could help us to better understand and empathize with other people. This would allow us to deal more intelligently with conflicts.

Education

Learning is often an inefficient process. This is because we often don’t know what kind of teaching suits somebody best, when a person is most receptive, when they need a break, and what motivates them. AEI could help us to change all that.

Consumption

Consumer decisions are generally a mixture of intuition, hope, habit, peer pressure and chance. The result is that many people feel unhappy with their purchases. AEI could help us get to grips with our true motivations and allow us to make consumer decisions that leave us happier in the long term.

Emotion recognition technology is not yet fully developed and the areas where it could – or should – be employed are still very much open. The fields of application for «emotion tracking» and psychometrics, however, are broadening. As the examples above show, relatively few data points are required to get an idea of a user’s mood. It already seems likely that emotion tracking will gradually replace traditional customer satisfaction surveys. The more we interact with machines in our day-to-day lives, the more important emotion recognition technology will become. If smart assistants are to converse with users and establish a relationship with them, they will have to understand how that user feels. Without the capacity to recognize emotions, smart assistants and robots will fail in everyday life.