I was recently at the MIT attending the 1st Emotion AI, congress, organized by Affectiva, at which they shared for the first time all the work that they are currently engaged in on the crossover between emotions and artificial intelligence. It's incredible that, up until now, emotions have been pushed into the background and seen as something superficial, when they are, without doubt, the spark behind any intelligent or rational decision.
Emotion AI is a fascinating field that is currently being explored on three fronts: the emotional intelligence of machines and robots, the emotional intelligence between machines and people and the emotional intelligence between people and other people, using technology as a tool. It is this area that really caught my attention.
The technological advances made so far are amazing, enabling machines to not only recognize through video whether a person is smiling, sad, annoyed or happy, but also to differentiate between a nervous and a happy smile. It's has tremendous scope for uses and areas of opportunity and within the field of medicine, a great example of which is its use in diagnosing depression. As people are constantly on their cellphones (according to recent statistics, smartphone use in the U.S. averages four hours a day), it is relatively easy to monitor the emotions of the person using the device. Through the course of the day we obviously go through the whole range of emotions many times, but over days and weeks it is possible to observe behavioral and, by extension, emotional tendencies that can anticipate a positive or negative trend. If someone starts on a negative spiral, the device can identify and project the trend and share it with family members or loved ones. These people can take action at a very early stage, empathizing with the subject, supporting them through the difficult times they are going through and reducing the possibilities that the trend follows its course that could lead to a possible depression.
Depression is currently one of the most widespread diseases, affecting more than 300 million people worldwide. Even though, once detected, its treatment is complicated, artificial intelligence can play an essential preventive role. Emotional artificial intelligence can play an ever more essential role in rapid diagnosis resulting in an exponential increase in the least invasive treatment solutions for the patient.
*About the author:
Max Oliva, a teacher and engineer with postgraduate qualifications, is an international entrepreneur. Max is co-founder of Impact Hub, one of the world's most influential entrepreneur networks. He undertakes projects, gives classes and conducts workshops in more than 20 countries.