AI assistants may be called “personal” but they definitely aren’t personable. Never mind their obviously fake personalities, these intelligent chatbots are really intelligent in only the factual sense. Huawei, however wants AI assistants to grow beyond that to become something more relatable, more approachable, more human-like. In other words, it wants to make its AI have some EI, emotional intelligence, as well to help identify human emotions and, if needed, console their users. Considering what Huawei is going through, it might be in need of some of that emotional support itself.
We are barely coming to grasp with the use of AI in the consumer market and Huawei is already proposing taking things to the next level. Given the oversaturation and even dilution of that AI market, it’s not exactly surprising that companies want to have point of differentiation. In Huawei’s case, it will be to appeal to human emotions instead of simple utility.
How would this “Emotion AI” work in practice? Huawei doesn’t go into specifics but it all starts with the AI determining the user’s mood via voice intonation, facial expressions, or similar signs. The Emotion AI will then adjust its own operation, prolonging conversations as needed or playing just the right music to calm, inspire, or energize the user as needed. The goal isn’t exactly to provide factual or useful information but to help feel some emotional need instead.
Huawei is hardly the first one to think of the idea of an emotionally supportive AI. Neither is it the first to consider commercializing that. Just recently, one of Samsung’s C-Lab bright ideas was to use a Galaxy phone to project a hologram in a box that turns into your emotional support AI. Huawei makes it no secret that part of the inspiration comes from AI in sci-fi films, like the recent “Her” movie. It doesn’t mention that sometimes those films don’t end well for humans or AI alike.