January 4, 2017

Zuckerberg should have given Jarvis emotional intelligence

For those of who you aren’t already aware, Jarvis helps Mark get dressed in the morning, make his breakfast, learn Mandarin and keep his baby daughter Max entertained. But we think he’s missed one huge trick to making Jarvis really indispensable.

Giving him emotional intelligence…

Emotional intelligence, the ability to recognise emotions and guide behaviour appropriately, is integral to success. Unsurprisingly those with the ability to use these skills have been shown time and time again to be more likely to succeed than those with a high IQ or relevant experience. Someone who’s emotionally perceptive is naturally far better able to gauge situations in real-life and alter their behaviour accordingly to achieve the best possible outcome.

It seems natural then that AI’s should follow suit. Jarvis would be far better able to meet Mark and his family’s needs if he could understand how they are feeling. For example, if baby Max woke up crying during the night then Jarvis could play soothing music to lull her back to sleep. Similarly if he could detect that Mark was feeling stressed out about the latest Facebook product launch, then he could proactively offer to help out with additional tasks or make the house a more relaxing and calming environment to be in.

It might sound like science fiction but the technology required to make this a reality is already available. Biometric sensors which monitor the physiological signals of emotional reactions in humans, such as pupil dilation, heart rate, sweat rate, tone of voice and facial expression, can be plugged directly into AIs like Jarvis.

Many are already beginning to make use of this ability. A handful of banks have been working with Humanyze, a startup founded by MIT graduates that produces sensor-laden badges that transmit in real time data on speech, activity and stress patterns. The devices would allow managers to assist employees who are “out of their depth” and take decisive action, and also to highlight positive behavior, which can be used in team training. What’s more, BRAIQ is a startup that is teaching autonomous vehicles how to read the comfort level of its passengers and learn to drive the way they prefer. This personalization is intended to both help increase passenger comfort as well as foster trust in self-driving technology.

It’s only a matter of time before this kind of emotional intelligence is adopted by the big players, and ultimately in a world full of Amazon Alexa’s and Zuckerberg’s Jarvis - it is what will determine who is the most successful.

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