Artificial Intelligence

AI can now read human emotions better than people can

25th May 2022
Paige West

As private investment in AI is revealed to have more than doubled in the past year to $93.5bn, new research reveals UK technology leaders now believe AI is superior to humans at analysing conversations and reading emotions.

Whilst AI is typically seen to be best applied to data analysis and problem solving, nearly one in three (30%) UK tech leaders believe AI can understand emotions and conversation sentiments better than humans.

Nine out of ten (88%) say AI has, or will soon have, the ability to ‘listen like a human,’ or interpret human conversations as effectively as people can. The results also give us an idea of the timeline; 52% of respondents believe that a scalable business AI solution which can ‘listen’ in this way will become a reality in the next ten years, and almost a third (30%) believe this is likely to come to fruition in the next five years.

The research, conducted by global voice data capture platform Red Box, looked at UK technology leaders’ perceptions of AI’s ability to understand and analyse human conversations. The findings show that many UK tech leaders believe AI to be superior at performing repetitive tasks (42%) and problem solving (33%) as well as more typically humanistic tasks such as transcribing complex conversations (35%) and understanding individual employees or customers (37%).

Three other key findings of the research include:

  • Over a third (35%) say the use of AI to analyse conversational data is already helping them improve customer experience and identify areas for internal improvement
  • Two fifths (40%) believe AI will help improve retention, support flexible working, and provide great efficiency
  • Over a third (35%) of those surveyed believe AI is superior at understanding regional dialects and accents as well as interpreting multiple languages

The timeframe within which those surveyed plan to introduce voice capture software into their businesses shows this technology is reaching something of an inflection point: the average planned adoption time for voice capture technology across back-office conversations, internal and external call centres and between different offices was just four and a half years.

Richard Stevenson, CEO of Red Box commented: “The incoming voice data revolution backed by UK technology leaders is now clear for all to see. There is a belief amongst the chief decision makers working in UK businesses that those elements of human interactions that were thought to be beyond the reach of technology have been thrust into the grasp of AI – the productivity and efficiency gains this could bring are immense. It is now time for the industry to invest in conversational AI, unlock these benefits and utilise the vast swathes of data held within everyday conversations.”

This inflection point in the adoption and power of voice capture technology adds to the steady growth in the use of AI across UK businesses. Nearly half of those surveyed said they are already using voice capture technology in contact centres (47%) and between global offices (42%), with this adoption only set to increase.

What’s more, UK tech leaders already believe AI is playing a key role in the proliferation of remote or hybrid working. A third (33%) of those surveyed said conversational data is already assisting compliance challenges which became a pressing issue for many businesses through successive lockdowns. A further 35% of those surveyed believe AI is superior at understanding regional dialects and accents as well as interpreting multiple languages – crucial as workers and customers become increasingly remote from one another.

Aurelie Cnop, Academic Director of the Master in Digital Transformation and Leadership at ESCP Europe, says: “Today’s artificial intelligence is mainly based on machine learning that can be incredibly efficient in solving certain tasks that do not require true intelligence, where intelligence is defined as understanding. AI is known to look for patterns and understand what the consumer wants, but of course this will still have many limitations. Looking at developments in neural technology and data analytics, as well as increased computing power, it is clear now that AI will progressively augment and streamline many human activities in the next five years.”

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