Research teams at Loving AI and Hanson Technologies are teaching machines unconditional love, active listening and empathy.
In the future, machines will convincingly exhibit human emotions like love, happiness, fear and sadness—begging the question, what is an authentic emotion?
Theory of mind refers to the ability to imagine the mental state of others. This has long been considered a trait unique to humans and certain primates. A.I. researchers are working to train machines to build theory of mind models of their own. This technology could improve existing A.I. therapy applications such as WoeBot.
By designing machines to respond with empathy and concern, digital assistants like Alexa will become more and more a part of one’s family. This technology could eventually end up in hospitals, schools and prisons, providing emotional support robots to patients, students and inmates. According to research from health service organization Cigna, the rate of loneliness in the U.S. has doubled in the last 50 years.
Two years ago, former U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May created a new cabinet position, the world’s first Minister of Loneliness. In our increasingly connected world, people report feeling more isolated. In the future, governments struggling with a massive mental health crisis, such as South Korea, may turn to emotional support robots to address this issue at scale.
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