When AI meets IE: the perfect match!

Catarina CorreiaHead of Marketing & Communication at Cegoc

Will Artificial Intelligence (AI) replace humans? Will Emotional Intelligence (EI) be pushed into the background as AI rises?

These fears… sorry, questions, are commonplace these days. The dichotomy arises as an instinctive response from society to the powerful ride of AI.

Is it understandable? Of course, it is.
Does it reflect reality? No, quite the opposite.

Bridging the gap: AI and EI through the ages

Let's clear away the ghosts, not least because, in fact, these two types of intelligence are not new (despite their late formal recognition) and have therefore been coexisting for decades. Artificial Intelligence - defined as technology that uses algorithms and programmes to replicate human intelligence in order to carry out complex and/or routine tasks - was born in the second half of the last century (for example, the Lisp programming language was created in 1958).

The essence of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence - the ability that allows us to recognise and manage our own feelings and those of others, and to effectively manage relationships - began to be referred to as such in the 1990s, especially after the publication of the book of the same name by psychologist Daniel Goleman.
In his work, Goleman identifies five major areas of the EI model: knowing your own emotions; managing emotions; self-motivation; recognising emotions in others; and managing relationships. In all of these areas, it doesn't seem possible for a machine to fulfil the role of a human, despite all the efforts of science.

The role of AI in redefining human interaction

The automation of tasks brought about by AI allows for undeniable gains in efficiency within the work processes to which they can be applied: immunity to error and greater speed. However, it misses out on all the cognitive and behavioural richness that a brain can generate at any given moment: interpreting and understanding situations and its interlocutors, adapting to circumstances and, just as importantly, generating empathy. In essence, AI is devoid of the soft skills that characterise EI and which are so often decisive for successful human interaction.

To understand its importance, I would point out that since 2016 the World Economic Forum has always included Emotional Intelligence (as a whole or in some of its aspects) in the 10 most valued skills in the labour market in its annual report "The Future of Jobs".

Are IE and AI incompatible?

No, not at all. Co-operation between the two is already a reality. The best of automation and the ability to perceive the moment come together, always with the aim of boosting performance.

One of the great challenges facing AI "architects" is precisely to be able to "import" some IE into the programming of their machines. The investment to make this a reality has been huge. A small example of this effort is the creation of virtual assistants that are more sensitive to the information received by users of these services, with a more sophisticated level of interpretation of the inputs received.

Synergies of AI and EI: towards a harmonious coexistence ?

The focus is increasingly on providing AI with human attributes, particularly those related to Emotional Intelligence. The replication of these qualities even goes as far as being able to model the non-verbal behaviour of the AI's interlocutors. On the other hand, AI can be an excellent tool for supporting the practical application of the various EI competences. Data collection and analysis can be extended to fields of information (e.g. social networks) that favour variables of an emotional nature and are useful for decision-making. The "scientific" collection of subjective data is a valuable aid to the exercise of emotional competences, which, in essence, values understanding and creating empathy with its recipients.

The empowerment of each professional and organisation as a result of the synergies created between both "intelligences" is therefore the natural consequence of this symbiosis, rather than the dreaded dichotomy or the ghost of "Man replaced by machine".
Artificial Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence do not, after all, work in exclusion or competition. Rather, they form the perfect match.

This article was originally published in Link to Leaders, a Portuguese media. Should you wish to read the article in Portuguese, click here.


Q: How exactly can AI be equipped with Emotional Intelligence, and what are the practical implications of this integration?
A: AI can be equipped with Emotional Intelligence through advanced algorithms that enable it to recognize and respond to human emotions. This integration allows AI to provide more personalized and empathetic interactions in applications such as customer service bots, virtual assistants, and healthcare diagnostics.

Q: Are there any potential ethical concerns or risks associated with enhancing AI with human-like attributes, particularly Emotional Intelligence?
A: Yes, there are ethical concerns associated with enhancing AI with human-like attributes, including privacy violations, potential manipulation, and the risk of AI mimicking emotions without genuine understanding. It's crucial to address these concerns and ensure responsible and ethical use of AI in all applications.

Q: Can you provide examples or case studies that demonstrate successful collaboration between AI and Emotional Intelligence in various industries or sectors?
A: Certainly. One example is the use of Emotional Intelligence algorithms in virtual assistants to better understand and respond to user needs and emotions. Another example is sentiment analysis in social media monitoring, where AI analyzes emotional tones in online conversations to inform marketing strategies or gauge public opinion. These collaborations demonstrate the effectiveness of integrating AI and Emotional Intelligence in enhancing user experiences and decision-making processes across industries.

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Catarina Correia

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