MindBullets 20 Years

Beating the AI blues

Machines don't have a heart

That’s the problem with artificial intelligence – it’s pretty cold and mechanical; and it lacks emotional intelligence.

Companies like Google and Amazon have worked hard over the last five years to inject some warmth and ‘humanity’ into their voice assistants, but it’s an uphill battle. “Not very witty, and no sense of humor either,” was how one reviewer described the latest incarnation of Siri on Apple’s iPhones.

Which is why more and more people are starting to rebuff smart assistants and work directly with humans instead. Nowhere is this more obvious than with the so-called Generation Z – the new kids in town. They’re happy to enjoy the benefits automation has brought, like more leisure time and services on demand, but don’t ask them to become brand ambassadors or fall in love with their gadgets. They couldn’t care less.

Human attributes and values, like empathy, caring and kindness, as well as emotions like fear, love or frustration; these are things no machine can ever really understand. Computers can be taught to recognize emotions in people, to read their facial expressions and analyze their voices; but they can’t relate, can’t react in ways beyond how they’ve been programmed to respond.

As Jack Ma said four years ago, “Don’t worry about machines taking your job. Machines are smart, but they don’t have heart. People have heart!”

Don’t tell me. I’m feeling really let down by technology; the joy of a new gadget or smart new system has paled. It sounds kinda silly to say: “My smartphone doesn’t understand me!” I guess I’ve just got the AI blues.

And don’t tell me there’s an app for that!

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

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