We’re already starting to see basic AI for setting up meetings and handling the most basic communications. But the next round of AI aims to provide more than just a time-saver. For this purpose, Silicon Valley is turning to poets, playwrights, and screenplay writers to give AI more emotional intelligence.
As the Washington Post reports, it’s going to be important for certain AI to have flair as well as function. In the case of X.ai’s Amy, they want you to be able to choose just how professional or entertaining the AI is while it books you meetings with other people. In the case of Sophie, a nurse AI designed by IDAvatars, it’s important to not just remind people to take their medication, but also to cheer them up every once in a while. Another AI built by Botanic.io is aiming to be a spiritual meditation leader — no small amount of emotional intelligence required for that task.
The slew of writers being employed in the Valley are not only tasked with making these bots more conversational and believable, they’re also busy designing full backstories and beliefs. Inevitably, users will ask it questions along those lines. Though understandably, the smaller the AI is, the more willing it is to actually hold positions on certain issues.
It sounds like a main concern for many companies will be making sure the AI takes a moderate stance on anything remotely controversial though. The Washington Post mentions the upcoming US presidential election as a topic more and more people are asking about, and it’s just the type of thing people would get huffy about if the AI doesn’t endorse their favourite candidate.
It’s also just the type of thing the blogosphere loves to post about, and as we saw with the recent Tay AI from Microsoft, these systems will be manipulated and spread through the internet like a wildfire.
At the moment, it sounds like there are debates over whether or not including even Star Wars jokes are too niche, but it’s easy to foresee a not-too-distant time when all of this combines with the profile many companies are already building of you through your search terms and other preferences. Soon, there will be no debate — it’ll already know you like Star Wars, and adapt accordingly.
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