They Can Change the Trajectory of Communication
Can a machine read, analyse or understand our emotions or expressions? Will it be possible for it to revert with a sorted reply just like we humans do? Or even if we train it to do all these on its own, can we trust on its comprehensiveness?
Before finding answers to the above questions, let me ask you how do you define language? Is it the medium you usually converse with others or vice versa? Well, if you ask me about how I perceive language, I might also end up admitting the same way.
Language for most of us is all about how we converse with each other or express ourselves with the help of predefined scripts or our vocabulary skills. It is more of a source or medium to let others know about our intentions or to understand theirs using certain set of words and conjunction.
But then, how would you explain the ways a toddler communicates with the outer world? Also, as the toddler grows up, how does s/he learn to speak the native language or even understand it since we really never train the toddler to grasp any certain language? If this is not enough to make you think on the concept of language or communication, think about how our pets usually converse with us without any verbal communication.
Is it our emotions or an expression that usually conveys our message to the toddler or pets and vice versa? Whether we agree or disagree, but it is our emotions and expressions that play major role in building communication or helping us to understand the intention of others; toddlers and pets are the best examples to prove this fact!
Now, if toddlers or our pets can find ways to communicate, make others understand their feelings through our emotions or expressions, why can’t a machine do the same?
Language is a geographical constraint, but our expressions and emotions are indigenous and universal. If we could train a machine to understand our intentions by teaching it how to read our expressions to comprehend our emotions, communication can get more effective.In fact, in today’s fast paced world, we have already started conversing with machines. And in case, you are not able to remember your last conversation with a machine, just try to recall the last time you searched for something in Google. Though your interaction with Google was not a verbal one, you cannot ignore the fact that Google understood your requirement and responded accordingly.
Moving a step further, you will meet Virtual Assistants(VA)like Google One by Google, Siri by Apple, Cortana by Microsoft, or even Marvin by racetrack.ai that are meant to find answers to a user’s queries, suggest the best options to users, and carry out some of the basic functionalities. But, have you wondered how this VAs respond back so accurately even though they are non-human beings?
These machines are trained to be cognitive! They listen to the users, understand and analyse their queries, and finally respond back accordingly. They use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to learn from the common traits of the users and store the information in their database to use them in the future; this process is known as Machine Learning. This way, they self-train themselves and keep on improving their efficiency of interacting with humans; they can even ignite interactions by themselves with the aid of the stored data.
Now, the question is why do we need machines to interact with us? Well, there are numerous reasons for it. You see, machines aided with Artificial Intelligence do not require much human-effort to learn. They can process innumerable pieces of information at one time. Their operation can be extended according to our needs and requirements. On top of all these, we should always keep in mind that machines never forget!
Communication gets meaningful only if we can understand the intent of each other. Present day’s machines learn from human behaviour, their common practices, likes, dislikes, and finally predict their future actions. Even if you fetch a small piece of information to these machines, they can find you ample of related data.
Also, at times, we feel reluctant to open up in front of other humans, but that’s not the scenario with ma¬chines. These days, you can see a rise in the number of therapeutic bots. More than being bots, they act as emotional counsellor to us. They can listen to our anguish and problems, they can console us, understand our intent, and help us calm down with their ability to predict our future actions.
Today, most of our conversations are happening online. And as the digital medium is taking over the traditional channels, it would be extremely helpful if we can train more of these machines to converse with us. This will not only make our lives easier, but will also change the trajectory of communication in the coming days while diminishing all the language barriers!
Also published in Silicon India Magazine.