Can Emotional Chatbots Empathize with Humans?

by October 23, 2018

Will 2018 finally be called as “The Year of the Chatbot?” Well, there’s a lot of development in this field since the time AI has been a groundbreaking revolution in the always changing field of technology. Chatbots are more like friends to us nowadays as they try to understand what we’re inquiring. But, one nouveau development in the field of chatbots is the introduction of Emotional AI.

Emotional AI has filled the escape clause for chatbots of “lack of emotions for more depth to the conversation” as until now they focussed essentially on the words. Emotional AI is genuinely necessary to become irreplaceable bits of customer experience.

Conversations with AI has been open-ended in nature. ‘How is the weather today. Book a flight for me. Make a reservation at the hotel.’ But Emotional AI can help us make feel better. This can sound like a sci-fi but IBM deployed AI tools that checked player’s feelings at Wimbledon to help naturally make game highlights for all fans out there.

In the meantime, Mei is a US-based startup which is developing a messaging app built in with something new called as the “relationship Ali.” This basically proposes ways to engage with end user’s contacts dependent on their gender, age and person’s profile. All this just from the history of their conversation!

Apart from improving customer experience, Emotional AI can also help businesses to solve sensitive issues at the workplace. Spot is one such chatbot that enables employees to namelessly report improper behaviour at the workplace without conversing with a human. The chatbot asks open-ended questions which would give them plenty of information to apply their algorithms and analyze the situation. Julia Shaw, Co-founder of Spot, who also happens to be a memory scientist and criminal psychologist believes that in such situations, no human involvement will cause more victims to tell the truth.

Additionally, Loris is a messaging software which will train people to develop their skills without a human trainer. It trains employees on building listening and empathy skills to deal with different kinds of customers as well as varied nature of colleagues.

As consumers are spending most of their time looking at their mobile screens, businesses can manage conversations with their consumers at a large scale and chatbots will play a major role in it.

A bot agency named Sciensio deploys an AI technique that comprehends client purpose and gives applicable answers that may not jump out to humans who take everything literally. One of its bots, an event bot understands the statement, “I’ve to pee!” as a crucial question, “Which is the way to the bathroom?”

While new apps are being developed, there are services building Emotional AI tools which can be deployed into systems. Affectiva is doing that pretty well wherein one of their solutions can tell whether a driver is distracted or drowsy.

However, let’s not forget that machines or bots have not reached to a level where they can understand different meaning of one word. Much recently in September, a Westjet client sent a message by Facebook Messenger to the Canadian aircraft, applauding a team member for enabling her to secure a “plant cutting” on her flight home with another succulent.

The word “cutting” stimulated the airline’s chatbot which recommended that the customer should get in touch with suicide prevention hotline.

So, can machines replace humans?

On the other hand, the travel industry is constantly approaching Emotional AI to interact with customers personally to offer them the best holiday. Marketing professionals, as well as governments, want to know how everyone feels when we fill out any form or reply to queries. Where personalization has been a turn around factor for companies to interact, gain and retain customers, companies want to be approached as more reliable and trustworthy. For this, they need to know more about their customers wherein they can genuinely solve their problems, offer products and services which are suitable for every customer according to their needs and requirements.

Well, nowadays where technology is constantly bringing up something new, chatbot seems to be the only rescue option which can provide flexible responses to how users feel and reaching out to the user during a crisis.

Also, medical appointments and other such sensitive tasks can be elevated and be solely handled by chatbots as they can detect someone in urgency or need, and accordingly respond to such situations where we humans can fail sometimes. This is very crucial as it enables to give the best service pouring in maximum customer satisfaction, and to some extent, customer loyalty too.

After seeing such use cases where Emotional AI can altogether help in having a deeper conversation with users, every business should assure to deploy Emotional AI as it can provide the most useful response.

With questions doubting the capabilities of AI, talking if AI can understand emotions? We might have an answer today!