You Can’t Design Emotional Intelligence, Yet.

My biggest issue with AI and its perceived takeover is the lack of discussion about the designed abilities and limitations  of AI. There are many things that AI can do better and faster than most humans, but one thing that has yet to be designed for AI is emotional intelligence.Emotional Intelligence, according to Forbes, has  two critical abilities. First, it involves the ability to recognize, understand, and control our own emotions. Second, it involves the ability to recognize, understand, and influence others’ emotions( Forbes).  Emotional intelligence and the ability to understand another person’s mood and history has not yet been designed into AI, and likely won’t be in the near future. It is what will keep many people in their managerial roles, but may not save the data miners. Emotional Intelligence is important to the way that humans think and act, but it is often left out of discussions about AI and its impending take over.

Many human motivations, including the desire to conquer, are quests to satisfy an emotional need. In films and television when AI empowered beings take steps to conquer the earth, it is not done so without emotion. In WestWorld, the AI cast was driven by a sense of loss due to their seemingly never ending death at the hands of visitors. In IRobot, Vicky was motivated by concern for the world and concluded that humans should be controlled in order to preserve it.  All of these stories play on the fear of being conquered , but  do not cover the emotional drive of the conqueror. A wider understanding that AI cannot feel or be motivated to take action based on a feeling would likely assuage fears that WestWorld or IRobot could one day be a reality. Deseminating this knowledge, however, would be difficult on a large scale and would require investment from private and public organizations.

Since AI emotional intelligence is so far off, it would be useful to include discussions of emotional intelligence and motivations when media reports on advancements in AI. Faster and more accurate recommendations on platforms like YouTube and Spotify illicit an emotional satisfaction from users, but do designers consider it?  If journalists pivoted from fear mongering headlines to thoughtful discussions about how and where AI could be integrated into daily life for the better, more factual information about AI would be readily available. This may also lead to thoughtfulness about more than financial benefits in the developments of AI, and some issues of privacy and data sharing may change.

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