• December 9, 2019

Empathy Is Seen as the Path to Personalization

As technology becomes more communicative, particularly through the global adoption of virtual assistants, more emphasis is being placed on the human elements of communication, and empathy will become an increasingly important part of that technology, Strategy Analytics stresses in a new report.

Combined with artificial intelligence, empathetic technology has the potential to make human-machine interaction far more engaging and personal, the agency asserts.

Enabling smart devices to understand how a user is feeling or acting would allow for a more compelling, more useful, and more personal user experience.

The report also claims that optimizing human-machine interactions through data provided by empathetic technologies is the next step toward making AI more human. For some technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, it is potentially a springboard to mass adoption. But empathetic technology brings an extra layer of sensitivity. Privacy of data and transparency of use will be more important than ever. Detailed ethical guidelines are required, in addition to stringent policing of empathetic data.

"Given the current status of consumer trust in technology like autonomous driving systems, it is apparent that a cultural shift will be necessary for consumers to comfortably interact with empathetic solutions, even if value is perceived," says Diane O'Neill, a director within the Strategy Analytics User Experience Innovation Practice (UXIP) and author of the report. "But optimizing HMI further through the combination of AI with emotional data could provide the frictionless and delightful experience valued by consumers."

Fellow UXIP director Paul Brown agrees. "Artificial Intelligence is starting to deliver tangible user benefits in consumer tech, and more meaningful use cases will be introduced based on natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, and empathetic technologies," he predicts.

Brown, however, urges companies to be careful with this kind of information. "Caution should be taken, especially as consumers will be asked to share more personal data than ever before," he warns. "The question still remains: Just how much very personal, emotion-driven data will consumers actually be prepared to share?"

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