SOUL MACHINES™ BLOG: Changing the Way Humans Interact with Technology

When you read the title of this blog what immediately comes to mind? Real-time holographic projections of people? Scientists plugging their cerebral cortex directly into a computer? Robots with more brains and brawn than us mere mortals?  Certainly a wealth of sci-fi skewed imagery pops up.

 No aspect of our mental life is more important to the quality and meaning of our existence than emotions. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy No aspect of our mental life is more important to the quality and meaning of our existence than emotions. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

If I were to say emotions are what will drive digital disruption to the next level, you’d probably think my heart is controlling my head.  Well think on this: emotions are what define us as humans.  They help us react and adapt to situations, allowing other people to understand us. When we interact with people, our emotional expressions are the clues that help others comprehend and connect with how we’re feeling.

So what if we could have an emotionally engaging conversation with a computer? Away with the clinical, faceless messaging of chatbots; away with the crude faces and jerky movements of AI robots and in with a new wave of emotionally responsive human-like machines, with faces that can express a thousand words. What then?

Then we really are changing the way humans interact with technology.

Why Emotional Intelligence?

Emotions translate through the face, but also through the words we use and the way we use them such as tone, volume and pitch of the voice. People prefer face-to-face communication because they gain a clearer understanding of a situation through the projection and interpretation of all these communication signals. If a Human Machine can respond empathetically to all these components showing emotional intelligence, then people can interact with a computer in a more relatable way, thereby creating a truly interactive experience.

Emotionally intelligent human machines add meaning to artificial intelligence. Opening the door to a new age of opportunity by enhancing the lives of everyone. The potential is enormous across a wide-range of fields:

The customer
Sick of struggling to find the information you need? A consistently understanding digital assistant can provide instant access to the data you need in a more natural, face-to-face meeting without snapping at your frustrations.

The company
Keen to raise your brand loyalty? An emotionally intelligent digital employee adds an engaging identity to a company by not only being the friendly face of the brand but by providing a consistently rich resource that your demographic can source relevant information from.

The patient
Suffering from ill health in the middle of the night? Available 24/7, a caring digital healthcare assistant can provide valuable support to a person who is experiencing concerning symptoms but has no access to a doctor!

The trainer
Facing the daunting task of an emergency situation?  A digital trainer can aid in the training of emergency workers by taking on the role of a trauma victim in a simulation scenario thus giving them the opportunity to explore ways of dealing with highly emotional situations.

These smart, dynamic, empathetic human machines alert to emotional nuances and consistently able to react appropriately in any given situation, will fundamentally change the landscape of how humans interact with computers.

© Soul Machines™. 18 October 2017

Soul Machines™ innovative technology is in the news

New innovation hub in Auckland hopes to attract Kiwis from all over the country to the tech sector.

As reported by One News (October 7th, 2017)

Soul Machines™ reveals the latest model of a virtual baby with a theoretical brain and central nervous system to the New Zealand public.

“Baby X has a model of a brain and a central nervous system and a sensory system,” Greg Cross tells TVNZ’s One News. 

Embrace the new tech revolution – Soul Machines™ in the news

The Robotic Revolution?

We’re heading into another industrial revolution. It’s the fourth and it’s driven by AI – Artificial Intelligence. Will machines take over or is there a future where man, women and computer can compliment each other? Asks Lisa Owen of Newshub’s the Nation.

Simon Shepherd reports for Newshub’s The Nation (October 17, 2017)

Sophie is Air New Zealand’s face of digital disruption. Soon, instead of a human or even a chatbot, she (or it) may be booking your flight!

Digital Humans bringing a friendly face back to self-service

Air New Zealand has taken the next step in customer digital interaction by deploying a digital human to answer customers’ questions about New Zealand.

by MADISON REIDY for  (October 3, 2017)

Extract from the article:

Chatbots, apps and automated call centres have taken the human touch away from customer service, but one company is set to bring it back. 

Auckland-based Soul Machines™ builds computerised humans that can be employed as customer service representatives. 

Soul Machines™ chief business officer Greg Cross said people craved human interaction in an increasingly digital world where self-service through screens were the norm. 

 Sophie in action Sophie in action

Cross said chatbots were efficient but their impersonal, transactional manner was decreasing customer satisfaction. He said digital humans were more engaging than chatbots. 

Air New Zealand used one of Soul Machines™’ digital humans, named Sophie, as its ambassador for its marketing show in Los Angeles last week.

Sophie wore an Air NZ uniform and was trained to answer customers’ questions about the airline’s offerings and what to do in New Zealand. She even spoke with a New Zealand accent.

The airline did not employe Sophie permanently.