What is Empathetic Technology?

This is something that has to do with human beings and not something that generally we would associate with the word -Technology.

So what is Empathetic Technology?

Poppy Crum, chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories in San Francisco, CA, and an adjunct professor at Stanford University in the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics defines empathetic technology as “technology that is using our internal state to decide how it will respond and make decisions.

Poppy Crum, Neuroscientist and Technologist

At Dolby, she is responsible for integrating neuroscience and sensory data science into algorithm design, technological development, and technology strategy. At Stanford, her work focuses on the impact and feedback potential of immersive environments, such as augmented and virtual reality, on neuroplasticity and learning.

As technology has continued to evolve, It’s believed that “Empathetic Technology” can enhance our lives in a way we could ever imagine and it might be worth the effort to solve the questions that make us disagreeable about it. As Humans, we like to think we have cognitive authority over what people see, know and understand about our emotions our vulnerabilities and how we respond. And as humans, we find several ways to get connected with our loved ones thanks to all the technology that helps us in that. Then I guess it right to say that one day this very technology may learn more about us than our close friends or family members.

Well, basically it aims to uncover more about the inner self of a being and to rightly interpret part of human interaction. As technology becomes more voluble and humanly, empathy will become an increasingly vital part of our connection with that technology. This technology might bring changes to words like love, affection, attraction by actually capturing the honesty of feelings and it can be a boon to the mankind if it can track and develop intuitions and foretell about human’s mental and physical health. and the fact that it can predict the possibility of someone developing disorders like Dementia, Psychosis etc which in fact would help the person ultimately.

“Consumer technology will know more about our mental and physical wellness than many clinical visits.”

-Poppy Crum

There are technologies like that already exist to read our habits and pick up on our smallest cues. That combined with AI, it can examine our action, which can help to amplify empathy. We express our feelings through several ways like facial expressions, movements, body gestures and changing voices.

AFFECTIVA, A COMPANY OF MIT MEDIA LAB BUILDS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE THAT UNDERSTANDS HUMAN EMOTIONS, COGNITIVE STATES, ACTIVITIES AND THE OBJECTS PEOPLE USE, BY ANALYZING FACIAL AND VOCAL EXPRESSIONS.

Other than these technologies that work on these specific features, there’ll be soon the technology that will be able to understand everything about our internal states and emotions memory, attention, or mental load in an instantaneous manner. Further experiments have shown how skin conductance, also known as galvanic skin response, can be a tool to predict a person’s emotional response when watching a movie or a sports match. How much sweat a person’s skin secretes, as well as the changes in the electrical resistance of the skin, can predict, stress, excitement, commitment, disappointment, and anger.” Furthermore, humans exhale chemicals, such as carbon dioxide and isoprene, when they feel lonely or scared. In fact, in her TED talk, Crum had tracked the carbon dioxide that members of the audience exhaled when they watched suspenseful scenes from a thriller movie and then changed the scene with a funny noise and they were able to see the huge difference in the output graph when compared the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled by people in both the cases.

MICROSOFT’S PROJECT OXFORD THAT RECOGNIZES EMOTIONS THROUGH FACIAL EXPRESSIONS

I feel it gives us the hope to know more about each other, to know more about how people feel about certain things which you could never know. it gives a chance to dive in and relate to the happenings and about people’s point of view and their way of thinking which are elemental to human beings. it can bring revolutionary changes about how we connect with each other and brings more authenticity to our lives. it may end the problem of cognitive dissonance and if we realize it’s capability, it would benefit us about how we see the world and how we express ourselves to the world.

But with enough data and techniques to collect all kinds of information from people combined with Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence we can almost do everything and anything with that data. it is kind of scary but the thing with Technology is implementation, any sort of technology can be used for good and bad. And as a matter of fact, there are a lot of technologies that are used for bad purposes yet they haven’t been abolished because of the reason that there is more good coming from that than the bad.

Moreover, This technology probably might not be affirmed by the necessary Authorities of the countries which will allow the World to use this by everyone, certain laws will be made regarding the usage of this because it could potentially lead to an outrageous and appalling level of privacy invasion if not used carefully & correctly as it was intended to in the 1st place.

“[AI] is often feared because people think it will replace who we are. With empathetic technology, AI can make us better, not replace us. It can also assure us and our doctors that the interventions they prescribe are actually solving the problems we have.”

-Poppy Crum

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store