Adding EI to AI: Why Content Strategy for the Robotic Brain Matters Now More Than Ever

"But maybe three years from now, by which time Izhikevich predicts robots powered by Brain Corporation’s platform will be commercially available, consumers will have accepted one inherent tradeoff in this new era of artificial intelligence — that smart machines are, to use Izhikevich’s comparison, kind of like animals. Specifically, dogs: They can all bark and lick, but turning them into seeing eye dogs or K-9 cops, much less Lassie, is going to take a little work." — via GigaOm 

It's 2015 and the current state of robotics is at a tipping point between feeling and function. 

They look like me, but do they talk like me?
This makes me uncomfortable — it’s a creepy doll with a strange voice.
How do I even respond to this, and why would I want it in my house?
This is just more hyped up gadgetry — cute, but it won’t last long. 

While scientists are hard at work building out the look, feel, and design of artificial intelligence (AI) in the functional sense — say picking up a plate or kicking a ball into a net — the last hurdle between artificial intelligence and full-scale adoption by users at the consumer level seems to be emotional intelligence.

And while we’re still focused on user interfaces, patterns of behavior and user experience "events" that shape the way a robot interacts with humans, we haven’t quite reached the part where content developers feel a responsibility to develop, augment, and implement emotional responses that are equivalent to the way we typically interact with each other.

Content strategy for the robotic world has not reached critical mass quite yet — but we should be keeping our eye on the puck that's quickly gliding in that direction.

If robotics is to be successful in the next decade and decades after that, now is the time to begin thinking about how emotional intelligence shapes our interactions with artificial intelligence. 

The team here at Lexicontent is, as we speak, peeling back the layers of the so-called content onion, exploring what the future of cognitive content has in store. We're specifically focused on context specific content that works in tandem with a thoughtful user experience / user interface through a series of behavioral queues, working through an instant feedback loop that's sensitive to millions of stimuli like social cues, attraction and repulsion, human touch, and predictive emotional behavior. This month, we've begun experimenting with several artificial intelligence projects that hinge on other important factors that shape emotional responses, such as time, location, and situational responses.

For all the positive thinking centered around robotics and AI, we must also begin to think rationally about our role in creating contextually relevant and emotionally driven content that can protect us from "apocalyptic scenarios" — or, those far fetched situations that some imagine will happen in classic H.G. Wells fashion. While the occurrence of androids and robots turning on us is a phenomenon not likely to be seen for decades, it is a very real scenario that engineers, UX designers, and content creators should be aware of, as algorithms that are created without necessary checks and balances can have negative effects.

If the way we physically perceive and emotionally respond to artificial intelligence is to forego its current Uncanny Valley apprehension in order to welcome more complex, useful robots into our daily interactions and workflows, we — as content creators and linguists looking toward the next technical frontier — have a responsibility to think about how content will impact those relationships in meaningful ways.

Dr. Silvera-Tawill, Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of New South Wales' Creative Robots Lab, says it best in this video.  

 “What we’re hoping for is that this collaboration between artists, scientists and engineers can get us closer to our goal of building robots that can interact with humans in more natural, intuitive, and meaningful ways.” 

Just as it is our responsibility as content strategists and content creators to imagine the role of progressive content as it relates to AI and robotics, it's also our responsibility to be aware of the themes of empathy, compassion, and even fear. We've got our eye on the future of content as it relates to emotional intelligence and artificial intelligence, and while we have miles to go before we sleep, it is clear that there's a new awakening in this field.

Above all, we are honored and excited to play a part in its evolution, and to join specialists, user experience designers, and researchers in pioneering the way forward for content and artificial intelligence that the world will love and find useful.