Man talking with artificial intelligence


Better Customer Service with Emotion-Sensitive AI

July 15, 2019

Getting customer service from an artificial intelligence (AI) bot sounds like a recipe for frustration, but that perception will change as new AI, using big data, learns to detect and respond to people’s emotions. In an op-ed published today at CNN, Assistant Professor Houwei Cao, Ph.D., of NYIT College of Engineering and Computing Sciences says that customers will appreciate being understood, even if it’s by a machine.

While Cao sees how some might object to the idea of machines that can detect our moods, she maintains that customer service using the new technology will please customers. When refined, this data-driven development will make consumers' “experiences more personalized, convenient and attuned to our emotions,” she says.

Cao’s research involves teaching machines how to use enormous data sets to “learn” to understand how a person is feeling. Many efforts to detect emotion rely on classifying a person’s facial expression or tone of voice, but looking at just one factor is not enough, she says. Cao’s system would consider “different visual, audio, and language cues simultaneously to perform an in-depth analysis of people's emotional states.”

While customer service would dramatically improve with sensitive AI, Cao adds, “This data-driven insight could eventually lead to AI that could enable businesses to understand how a customer feels in different situations, even if they know very little about him or her.”

In the end, Cao asserts that using emotion-detection machines in customer service is one way big data can genuinely improve people’s lives.

This op-ed is part of an NYIT thought-leadership campaign designed to help generate awareness and build reputation for the university on topics of national relevance. Read more op-eds by NYIT experts.