As concerns abound regarding degradation of social skills in an increasingly digitized world, new applications teach humans emotional and communicative intelligence

A major concern today, particularly among parents of children who grow up online, is the effect that less face-to-face human interaction will have on our society. Will we lose crucial communication abilities, or become less able to express empathy?

To address this concern, a new generation of user-facing, emotional AI programs are employing algorithms to help users cultivate and practice social communication skills. These empathy-based games, programs and applications are intended to counteract the consequences of digital ubiquity and lack of social engagement. Here are two ways that technology and AI are actually improving human-to-human interactions:

Plan International Finland
Plan International Finland, an organization that advocates for children’s rights and gender equality for girls, developed a keyboard application that aims to make users more aware of gender-inclusive language skills. The Shebord keyboard uses predictive text to suggest different words and encourage more diverse language when talking about girls or women.

Loris
Loris is an AI-based chatbot that users can employ to build skill-based, collaborative conversation skills—primarily within difficult and sensitive interactions. Loris was built using insights from Crisis Text Line, a messaging service for users to seek help in life-treating situations. Based on analyses of Crisis Text Line messages, the right type of question or answer can increase or worsen the conversation.

Using technology to help people enhance their empathy and communications skills is just one application of AI to help understand and improve human behavior and interaction. For more details, see PSFK’s report Inspiring New Interfaces Using Behavior & Emotion.

A major concern today, particularly among parents of children who grow up online, is the effect that less face-to-face human interaction will have on our society. Will we lose crucial communication abilities, or become less able to express empathy?

To address this concern, a new generation of user-facing, emotional AI programs are employing algorithms to help users cultivate and practice social communication skills. These empathy-based games, programs and applications are intended to counteract the consequences of digital ubiquity and lack of social engagement. Here are two ways that technology and AI are actually improving human-to-human interactions: