As we make computers more human, we learn more about us. This has already changed how we see our skills, talents and intelligence. How we see emotional intelligence, personalities and leadership will change too.
Computers can now read our emotions by reading our faces. The tool is facial recognition software. These three articles cover this well. They cite research and programs:
- “The Technology that Unmasks Your Hidden Emotions” (Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2015 2:13 pm ET) by Elizabeth Dwoskin and Evelyn M. Rusli
- “Emotionally Intelligent Machines Are Closer Than Ever” (Motherboard, July 2, 2013 9:45 am) by Meghan Neal
- “We Know How You Feel” (The New Yorker, January 19, 2015 edition) by Raffi Khatchadourian
Dwoskin and Rusli give an overview. Neal gives in-depth technical background. Khatchadourian deals with the human aspect.
Emotionally Intelligent Firms
Right now, advertisers are the main users of this emotionally intelligent software. They cannot rely on customers to say what they like. This gives a much better read.
Internet firms track our surfing habits with cookies. They use freebies, clickbait and many other triggers to plant them. They will do the same to turn on our cameras. They will give our reactions to their content. We will become numb to these just as we have the cookies.
As Dwoskin and Rusli point out, one retailer is already testing emotionally intelligent software in its cameras. It seeks to learn how people feel when they walk their stores. Neal does a great job laying the ground for how firms will use this software in other ways.
Emotionally Intelligent Leaders
Khatchadourian writes how we are testing emotionally intelligent computers in the help of autistic people. They allow them to read other people’s emotions. This is hard for them to do now.
If this can help the autistic, it can help all of us. This means leaders too. At meetings and other group functions, cameras could scan faces while leaders announce new plans. This could even be done while workers are working and moving through their work spaces.
This would give leaders a good sense of reactions to their plans and of their work cultures. It would be a way to quantify morale. This would be a sounder approach on a wide scale than anything in use now. The training uses are many.
Emotionally intelligent computers will change how we see emotional intelligence, leaders and each other. They are moving in on what we think it means to be us. We will learn though there is more to being us than what we think.