AI is About to Change Your Messaging Experience Forever – Are You Ready?

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In this special guest feature, Patrick Perrin, PhD, Chief Scientist, Head of AI and Research at Emogi, discusses how AI is stepping in with text communications by actively detecting subtleties to connect words with feelings; and ultimately, strengthen emotional connections. Emogi is a content engine for communication services that helps people have better conversations whether they’re texting on a chat app, commenting on a post, or sending a video to friends. Patrick leads research in contextual conversational AI, advancing Emogi’s intelligence on messaging and chat platforms. This research will further improve Emogi’s capabilities to serve up relevant and expressive content at the perfect moment – paving the way for enriched conversations and ultimately, a transformation in the way people communicate with one another. Patrick brings over 15 years of experience in AI research and development, data analysis, and algorithm development. Patrick received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Tulane University, while conducting research for NASA.

We’re living in a text-driven world, where messaging platforms have become the primary medium of our digital conversations. Just look at the numbers: over 2.5 billion people, or 75 percent of smartphone owners, use at least one messaging app.

We are attached to our mobile devices, yet innovation in messaging remains behind the times. Just as AI-powered assistants transformed the way we manage our homes, the next generation of conversational AI is targeting our mobile messaging experiences – bringing them closer to our personal interactions, which are rich in context and emotional expressions. Here’s how:

Improving our Messaging IQ

When communicating in text, it’s often difficult to gauge others’ thoughts and feelings. Without non-verbal cues – such as voice inflection, facial expressions, and body language – tone and conversational nuances can go missing, changing the entire interpretation of a conversation.

Here’s where AI steps in, actively detecting subtleties to connect words with feelings; and ultimately, strengthen emotional connections. By analyzing the connection between content, words, people, places, and time, AI can determine the underlying context of a discussion. Moreover, AI draws from our previous conversation to understand our shifting emotions, desires, and intentions as the conversation unfolds, not after the fact.

Getting Expressive with Interactive Content

It is no longer a question if people are relying on visual content to communicate emotions. In 2017 alone, 2.8 trillion mobile messages were sent with emoji, stickers, and GIFs.

AI is enriching our emotional expression in digital conversations, making the way we share content more efficient and natural. By finding interactive content pinpointed to specific emotion or intentions, AI can surface content at the exact moment users need it, allowing for a seamless, natural flow of conversation.

Take, for example, if you text: “I need my morning caffeine”. Based on contextual cues and previous texting patterns, AI can depict that you’re referring to coffee and, as such, serve up the corresponding coffee emoji, without even typing out the word.

And as we look ahead, people will no longer need to provide obvious contextual cues to be offered up the desired content. AI will be a silent member in the conversation, providing for faster, more expressive conversations in real time by inferring a person’s emotions, feelings and behavior.

Getting More Done

AI-powered assistants like chatbots have already changed the way we handle routine tasks. These easy-to-use online messengers have replaced waiting on the phone for hours just to troubleshoot IT issues or ask a simple question about your bank account. However, the limitations are clear: these conversations follow a script of pre-programmed responses.

Conversational AI will take things a step further, allowing for ‘real’, natural conversations – removing the need to construct specific prompts to get desired responses. With a human understanding of its users and the context of their conversations, AI will be able to create unique and helpful responses, tailored not only to tone, but also to situations. This is a significantly more challenging task than the first wave of existing conversational AI technology, and if we succeed, AI will drive conversations to be greater in scope and more emotional in nature.

Research in contextual conversational technology and natural language understanding is already underway, and for good reason. As we look to the future, AI will become our conversational side-kick, enhancing our understanding of human conversations and transforming the way we interact through messaging.


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