Artificial Emotion Intelligence: How It Can Enhance Our Lives, Advances Over The Past Few Decades, And Some Valid Concerns

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Mary Czerwinski is the Research Manager at the Visualization and Interaction (VIBE) Research Group at Microsoft. She worked in computer-human interaction for Bellcore, the Johnson Space Center, and Compaq, and also held an adjunct position at Rice University while at Compaq. She moved to Microsoft in 1996, as a usability tester in product development.

Czerwinski’s research focuses primarily on emotion tracking, information worker task management, and health and wellness for individuals and groups. Her background is in visual attention and multitasking. She holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington.

Her research group of 10 has very diverse talents. One area that they work on is information visualization – how to see patterns in large amounts of data. Another area is to look at tools for programmers as well as making the environment better and more productive for them.

What is an intelligent system? It is a system that uses algorithms to characterize your behavior. It is a software system that can get to know you personally to help you focus and get work done. For example, perhaps there is a piece of software that is making you frustrated. The software developers want to know this so they can work on adjusting and modifying the software based on that feedback.

Another use for the intelligent system can be to create an assistant that is more personal. They are trying to make assistants that will interact in a more human, personal way –ways in which people find more natural.
One example Czerwinski shared is when a person uses Cortana. If the person says, “Hey Cortana!” in a cheerful voice, then Cortana should answer back in a similar happy tone. Or if the person says something to Cortana in a panicked voice, then she should come back in a calming tone.

Czerwinski says, “This takes a lot of data and training but it is not clear to me that humans are not that much better [at understanding emotions]. Humans hide their emotions a lot – especially at work.” So it takes long user studies to approach this level of detail.

Czerwinski’s advice to listeners is to stop being scared about machine learning and algorithms. Over the next 5 – 10 years we will see some amazing changes in technology that will allow us to get more work done which may encourage some of us to become consumed with working, but she encourages everyone to remember to take time to go for walks and spend time with loved ones.

She also believes we need to manage the technology thoughtfully to make sure we avoid some of the concerning aspects that come with technological advances.

What You Will Learn In This Episode:

● How and why users’ emotions are tracked
● What is Artificial Emotion Intelligence?
● Real life examples of how Artificial Emotion Intelligence is being used
● Some challenges and concerns that come with AEI, AI and VR and how we can avoid them
● The future of personal assistants
● The current state of AI

Link from the episode:
Mary Czerwinski On LinkedIn

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