While it sounds like something from a Sci-Fi film, research firm Gartner predicts that by 2022, approximately 10% of personal devices will be equipped with emotion AI capabilities to better assess our emotional state.
“Emotion artificial intelligence (AI) systems are becoming so sophisticated that Gartner, Inc. predicts that by 2022, personal devices will know more about an individual’s emotional state than his or her own family.”
The reports highlight how AI is “generating multiple disruptive forces that are reshaping the way we interact with personal technologies”.
In your short, your phone or any other personal devices for that matter, will understand you better than the humans in your immediate social circle. We just don’t realise how reliant we’ve become on technology.
Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, explained that emotion AI systems “are allowing everyday objects to detect, analyse, process and respond to people’s emotional states and moods”.
This is done to “provide better context and a more personalised experience” when we interact with our personal devices. Why? Unfortunately, the answer is more mundane than you may have hoped.
“To remain relevant, technology vendors must integrate AI into every aspect of their devices, or face marginalisation.”
Cozza adds that “prototypes and commercial products already exist and adding emotional context by analysing data points from facial expressions, voice intonation and behavioural patterns will significantly enhance the user experience”.
Apart from our smartphones and home devices, Cozza explains that wearables will also collect, analyse and process users’ emotional data via computer vision, audio or sensors capturing behavioural data to adapt or respond to a user’s wants and needs”.
If you think it sounds far out, allow me to remind you that my Huawei Watch GT2e can monitor my heart rate, blood oxygen saturation levels, stress levels and sleep patterns. Let’s take it one step further.
My wearable and the corresponding app can also provide tips and tricks on reducing stress or getting a good night’s rest, based on the data it collects. It’s equally exciting and somewhat frightening if I have to be honest.
Rana El Kaliouby, founder and CEO of Affectiva and the first pioneer of emotion AI, is exploring how such a world will look, a world where our devices understand our emotions and interact with us based on ‘their’ observation.
El Kaliouby explained in her Ted Talk that today’s technology “has lots of I.Q., but no E.Q.; lots of cognitive intelligence, but no emotional intelligence”. She added:
“So that got me thinking, what if our technology could sense our emotions? What if our devices could sense how we felt and reacted accordingly, just the way an emotionally intelligent friend would?”