AI and the Emotions

We are all aware of the news where Google’s chatbot LaMDA gained sentience and ‘behaved like a human’. Though Google has dismissed the claims, the recent incident has again brought into the spotlight the discussion over AI and the Emotions.

Unlike humans, robots cannot sense, feel or understand emotions & feelings on their own. They can only be programmed to replicate them. Even LaMDA is programmed to have a “free-flowing” discussion on an “endless number of topics” and “unlock more natural ways of interacting with technology”, as per Google.

The discussion now narrows down to Emotional Intelligence of AI. The terminology is known as ‘Affective Computing’. Adding the emotional element, AI can gain a complete insight into the individual’s mood. If we have a look at the multiple technologies under AI, the infusion of the emotions will increase the accuracy levels. Gaining an insight into the body language, speech pattern, facial expressions and other behavioural metrics, AI can more accurately predict the emotions and thoughts of the user.

You all would’ve heard about ‘Sofia’, a humanoid robot developed by a Hong Kong based company Hanson Robotics. She is capable of showing emotions of humour, sadness and happiness. Emotional recognition and the decision tree which is used in chat boxes brings her this close to depicting and predicting emotions.

An immense amount of research right now is going on in Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) that is capable of taking AI close to or maybe surpassing humans one day in terms of intelligence and emotions. But still there would be a debate on whether AI is exhibiting true understanding of emotions or is it all ‘artificial’.

But even after all the advancement in technology and research, can AI or robots really match the Emotional Intelligence displayed by humans ? Because even after having the emotions as a natural trait, humans miss out on the sub text beneath. Apart from this, we humans involve multiple factors while processing our emotions like biasedness, opinions, judgements etc. Thus in that case, we doubt if the Emotion AI can reach up to that level. Or who knows there is some other way of processing the emotions apart from how we humans do.

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