AI and Emotional Connection – Is there a Bridge?

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AI and Emotional Connection – Is there a Bridge? I network a lot, online and in person and everywhere I go people are talking about AI (Artificial Intelligence) and its growing role in business.

In fact, I met an expert in AI just recently at a business meeting. He was there as a guest to give us his input into how AI might enhance our offering as a Bid Solutions Service and what happened was really interesting.

David George, who has worked with AI throughout its development, says this, “Chatbots are becoming increasingly important, as they provide a more natural and user-friendly way to interact with computers and access information. AI chatbots such as Google Bard, Microsoft Bing, and OpenAI ChatGPT are all at different stages of development. Each has its own advantages and limitations.” 

He used AI to answer a bid question I proposed as a test during our business meeting. What AI came up with was technically correct, however it didn’t grasp the clients needs, nor did it really explain ‘the how’ of the solution it proposed. David, although surprised, happily refined his question for the AI response generator and got closer but still it didn’t really come up with what was required.

Why is that? Surely a system which can access every bit of public domain information online can develop a decent response to a simple bid question? Yes, it can but not a good one unless the specification that you feed the bot is so detailed that you might as well have just written the response yourself in the first place.

AI gathers information, it uses that information to answer your question, simply and specifically, totally without emotion or nuance. And for me, this is its greatest flaw.

As human beings we require emotional connection. We do that through storytelling, physical touch, empathic silence and a million other ways that are mostly based on intuition. Intuition on an emotional level. AI does not appear to have access to emotional intuition (not yet anyway!). 

So, it can tell a story, answer a question, develop a technical response and be factually correct in its content. Of course how it does that depends on the question it is asked by the human needing the information. But what it delivers is dry, without personality, without emotion.

I say again, as human beings we require emotional connection. If we allow AI to take over as a resource in business what happens to the human touch? Does it get lost, do we get lost, does emotionless automation take over?

I sincerely hope not. I like a world where we communicate, talk, discuss, examine, disagree, laugh, poke fun. And tell those stories. So, back to my question, is there a bridge between AI and emotional connection that will enable us, as human beings, to maintain our humanity and personal interaction whilst benefitting from the information AI can provide us with?

In a networking group I attended this week, the Emotional Geography community call, we talked all about this. As a community we are all about helping people to revisit their life’s journey through emotional mapping to create a greater self-awareness and enable forward planning that is authentic and fulfilling. A very deeply emotional process that works on the basis of storytelling in safety. 

We are all in business and to some degree or another have used AI in our businesses. We agree that it can be a great time saver when you need specific information and that it is a far better research tool than just punching keywords into Google search. But we all had grave concerns about AI removing emotional connection between colleagues and in our dealings with clients and suppliers. 

We agreed that our customers all benefit from face to face communication, a real person being there for service and support. Can AI replace this? Can it enhance this? 

I don’t know. What do you think? Are you an AI fan or does it terrify you? So many questions . . . why not ask ChatGPT!!!!

I asked ChatGPT, ‘Can AI interact on an emotional level?’ Here is the response:

AI can interact on an emotional level to some extent. Emotion AI is a tool that allows for a much more natural interaction between humans and machines. It can recognise, interpret, process, and simulate human emotions using facial analysis, voice pattern analysis, and deep learning. However, because of the subjective nature of emotions, emotional AI is especially prone to bias. I hope this helps!

I’m not convinced yet, are you?

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Ali Bagley
Ali is a Business Impact Coach, Writers Coach and a qualified Project and Proposals Manager. She is an author of guides for coaches starting out in their business and various journals and other business support books. She is also a Geographer of Emotions, helping people to grow and develop personally and professionally through the methodology of Emotional Mapping. Her background is corporate project and proposals management, leading teams winning multi-million-pound contracts in infrastructure. She went to university at 41 years old and graduated with a BA (Hons) in Business and Finance Management in 2009. She has successfully run independent businesses for many years, before and after her time in corporate, gaining great insight and understanding of the pressures that being a small business owner can bring. Throughout her career Ali has coached and written, these are her two passions. From running Weight Watchers meetings in the 1990’s to running her own businesses in Insurance and Retail, her life has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows, both personally and professionally. Ali totally embraces all of the learning experiences that have brought her to where she is today. She believes that to be able to help others achieve, you need to have learned from failure, to know joy you must first experience pain. She has been knocked down more times than she can count but has always got up again. Ali is now living her best life, full of confidence, self-belief, love and purpose. Her journey now is to bring that light and positivity into the lives of others, through her coaching and her story telling. Ali is also very proud and excited to be the Director of Business Services for Emotional Geography UK Ltd, Eliciting, Mapping and Managing Emotions.