Do androids dream of electric sheep? Or to be more precise, do AI bots really understand our emotions? To find out, AllChinaTech spoke to the Emotibot founder, Kenny Chien, at the GMIC Beijing. Emotibot is an artificial emotional intelligence chatbot that can be programmed for different platforms and purposes.
“The advantage of the Emotibot is that it truly understand humans, not just linguistically, but also emotions and intentions. It will be able to realize and provide help to humans in a personalized way,” said Chien.
As Emotibot’s PR director Daniel Qin explained, the bot analyzes facial expressions, voice tone and pitch, wording and other ways in which people express feelings. It then combines them together to understand the meaning of the conversation and intention behind it.
Chien stated that Emotibot, at the moment, will be mainly used in financial services industry. According to him, involving fewer humans would actually yield in a better customer experience. However, that’s not all. Emotionally intelligent bots could also be used for a variety of day-to-day commercial activities, such as ride-hailing or bookings, in online entertainment and gaming, and as virtual assistants.
“The world is full of content and information and today humans are swamped with that. What we are providing is a simple conversational interface that would be able to connect a person to the world”, said Chien. “With a good understanding of the conversation, we can replace the human in the background so we can relieve humans of the boring, tedious and complicated work and help businesses deliver more services to their customers.”
But the interesting part of Emotibot is that Chien believes it could lead to scenarios similar to the movie Her, where the main character falls in love with his virtual assistant Samantha after his real-life marriage failed.
“This has actually happened. When we were analyzing our products by going through the chat logs we found out that there were users who were treating the bot as a real human,” said Chien “Whether it is an outgoing person or an introvert, everyone needs a companion. That is human nature.”
He also said that in his three and a half experience with AI bots, he found examples of users in Japan, China, and the US that felt the urge to talk to the bots. “If the bot can resonate my feelings, the bot can comfort me. That’s the purpose of the bot being a companion.”
Although Chien said that the possibility of AI returning those feelings or “becoming human” is quite far away, he believes that the idea could be realized.
“In the movie Ex-Machina, the bot thinks it is a human. I think it might happen in the long term,” Chien said. “If humans wanted to try to build a robot that thinks for itself it could happen, but the first thing we need to think about is whether humans would treat bots equally.”