Natural language processing will help humans and machines have more empathy

With the current breakneck pace of innovation, it may seem like technology is on an aggressive mission to solve all of humanity’s most pressing problems.

And in some respects, we’re making great progress. We’ve broken tremendous ground in such areas as renewable energy, disease prevention, and disaster recovery. But when it comes to addressing important human-centric challenges — things like workforce diversity, unconscious bias, and employee and customer satisfaction — technology has a history of coming up short.

That’s because technical problems like jet propulsion or GPS are largely math- and physics-related, which is where computers (and programmers) excel. But solving human problems like employee engagement usually requires empathy, and that’s notoriously hard to codify. Humans are emotional creatures, especially when it comes to making decisions. First we feel, then we apply logic to help justify our emotional response, and, finally, we act. Thus, any attempt to help people make better decisions that doesn’t account for emotional factors is almost always destined to fail.

However, with recent advances in artificial intelligence, and especially natural language processing (NLP), we finally have the technological tools for tapping into the power and complexity of human feelings. This approach has major implications for how we design systems, and it’s leading to solutions with more humanistic points of view.

Read more: VentureBeat

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