Empathy is Key to Human Bot Relation

Written by SPI Group

The human element in Artificial Intelligence has always been a hot topic among the leaders in business and technology. There have been those times when AI put off customers because they are not human enough.  At other times the human element in AI has been seen as a threat to humanity itself and a target that is too high to achieve.

It is a fact that the AI and robotics will continue to grow sophisticated with every advancement in technology. The business world and the world at large seem to be happy about this progress but the question still remains –

  • How human like should AI actually be?
  • Where should we draw the line between technology and humans?

The world of technological discussions is abuzz with probabilities that point either at a more inclusive view by bringing in concepts of robot citizenship or on a more speculative note about a world controlled completely by AI.

Why AI Requires the Human Element?

The Chatbots in customer care had been the first experience of humans with AI. They had been often criticised for the fact that they could not perform the basic tasks at hand that they were asked to do. For those who were unaware of the AI behind chatbots these interactions came as real heartless customer care service. Bots were rightfully criticised for having a lack of empathy. Customers naturally expect that when they are talking to customer care service about their problems that it would express some empathy. They naturally want to feel understood about their problems. It is quite natural that machines cannot express empathy the way humans can.

This experience has brought to light the fact that AI needs to be more empathetic towards human feelings during an exchange.

Every entrepreneur is jumping the AI bandwagon when it comes to interacting with customers. This growing trend is supposed to make business seem like a piece of cake but it has not helped much with growing customer dissatisfaction. While the dissatisfaction grows AI has already penetrated into the business world with almost all the consumers owning a smart speaker, etc. There has been a dissatisfaction growth that has really made the early popularity of the AI in business shake.

Interestingly consumers have now started to accept the tone deaf feature of AI. The advanced and modified solutions of AI has come but it has not been able to solve this issue. The human and chatbot relation is on the rise where humans assume that it is okay to bear with the emotionless response to a question that by all morals and etiquette deserve to have some human reaction to it.

The question that arises now is ‘How will this insensitive response affect the future generations?

Are we going to set the trend for a future of completely etiquette-less people who seem to be okay with the wrong tone of conversation? How would it affect us?

The chatbots clearly do not know how to respond to cases of harassment, rude behaviour etc. An automated response to serious issues like this topped with the lack of sensitive response clearly is a concern. The fact that there are many robots that would find itself amongst humans like Sophia raises this concern manifold.

It is very possible that AI can very easily make the society completely insensitive and non-human. This probability is no longer a debate or discussion that can be carried on with the assumption that a society like this is in a far distant future. People have already started accepting the tone-deaf features of bots for convenience. The future can only become colder unless of course decision makers and leaders take a responsibility to come up with bots that understands empathy. Empathy like everything is a skill and as far as bots are concerned if they can learn hate speech of course they can develop the softer side of empathy too.

Entrepreneurs who are Eager to Make AI a Part of Their business must Train AI on Empathy

It is important that entrepreneurs train the AI that they wish to work with in Empathy.  The things in a conversation like tone of voice, words that express sentiments and an observation as to how humans would react to an interaction can be included in part of the training. It is very important that bots understand whether the conversation is happy, angry, frustrated and how to lead it from there.

Customer care services are something that people resort to to calm their nerves. If AI does not know how to do it, it does not make sense why it is there in the first place.

The success of AI in business depends a lot on how it makes the consumer feel. It is very important that training AI includes the teaching of subjective sentiments from a conversation with humans to being able to decipher how exactly to react to them. If there is a customer who needs to be heard AI should give that customer exactly that. A response that makes him/her feel heard enough. AI must recognize emotion and empathy to be able to learn how emotion affects human behaviour, their needs and desired responses.

The business world no matter how technologically advanced will remain a place of human interaction. There are not many people who would be interacting with the likes of Sophia but there will be a large number of people who would interact with the Alexa’s and Siri’s. This number will grow in the future. Entrepreneurs must take care that they do not only jump in the AI bandwagon but also make sure that the AI they choose to implement in their business is well equipped to respond to a human. There are already those entrepreneurs who have started to work with this thought. Businessmen who chose not to upgrade would have only a strong competition to face. It is time for businesses to start to teach AI to behave in a way that makes a human-bot exchange successful.



About the author

SPI Group

An integrated platform created to serve entrepreneurs and service providers. SPI engages with over 100,000 Entrepreneurs & Senior decision makers through a unique combination of cutting edge business magazines, high profile B2B summits and conferences, strategic alliances with Govt, business associations and government bodies. SPI also leverages the power of digital marketing and social media.

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