How Artificial Intelligence Creates Personal Connection

Artificial Intelligence is an emerging technology trend that everyone needs to keep on their radar. That being said, it is also a highly-criticised technology, especially when it comes to personal connection. We’ve all heard it before — artificial intelligence is no substitute for real human connection. Artificial intelligence isn’t there to replace human capabilities; it’s meant to work to make them better. However, relying too much on the technology and not enough on the human aspect can hurt connection. While the critics of artificial intelligence may be right in saying it can hinder connection, artificial intelligence can actually help augment and enhance a better personal connection.

What is artificial intelligence?

According to Gartner, artificial intelligence is defined as, “technology that appears to emulate human performance typically by learning, coming to its own conclusions, appearing to understand complex content, engaging in natural dialogues with people, enhancing human cognitive performance or replacing people on execution of non-routine tasks.”

Its applications include:

  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Automatic speech recognition
  • Generation and detecting novel concepts and abstractions

In terms of personal connection, artificial intelligence brings us closer together and more easily. We don’t realize it, but there is a lot of “busy work” that goes into connecting, like remembering to draft a text or an email. As humans, we get so caught up in how busy our own lives are that we forget to reconnect with those who mean the most to us. On the other hand, critics of the technology say that it kills human connection, but it’s only bad if we let it be bad. And the only way we can let it get bad is by focusing more on the technology than the person-to-person connection. Artificial intelligence can be seen in software that promotes connection, deepening human relationships.

Artificial Intelligence-driven software

Popular communication apps like Slack are redefining the way we communicate with each other, especially in the workplace. However, a downside is that workers are missing out on the art of face-to-face communication where meaningful relationships can be formed. The key is to make the app human-centric — that is, allowing people to have time off from the app while promoting productivity and well being.

Software is now being built with this in mind, with the goal to improve communication and foster personal connection and relationships. This software has been designed with the intention to foster tech-enabled human connection. One use case is to help you connect with people faster and more efficiently than a single person could. If all of our information is scattered across multiple sources such as address books, email, and specific contacts, it can take a while to find what we need. This is where the automation component of artificial intelligence comes in. Within minutes, you can have access to a person’s phone number, email, and even Skype username without having to spend a lot of time digging for it.

You’re probably thinking to yourself that this is just another instance where face-to-face communication has gone by the wayside. You’re right depending on which angle you are looking at. What artificial intelligence has done has given people the ability to automate processes so you have more time for personal connection.

Automation: a gateway to personal connection

How many times have you moaned and groaned about doing busy work that could easily be automated? An upside to artificial intelligence is that it takes the guesswork out of practically any task, whether it is finding contact information, figuring out a follow-up email to send, or creating social media posts.

Artificial intelligence can also “nudge” you by looking at your network and points you in the direction of useful relationship opportunities. Software such as Nudge allows you to receive real-time information about people in your own network and in friends’ networks, moving you closer toward new, interesting and valuable relationships. Innovations like this save you time in finding out who to connect with, allowing you to have more time for personally connecting with one another.

Enhancing the human element

The key to creating personal connection is to enhance and augment the human experience rather than replacing it. A good example of where this is done well is in the beauty industry, which has successfully married the technical science of product development with the human ability to make people feel beautiful.

For example, Shiseido uses artificial intelligence to customize and deepen the customer experience, while also applying a human touch to everything they do. Through recently acquiring a Palo Alto startup company, Shiseido developed a mobile app that enabled consumers to scan their skin tone to identify and create a personalized foundation, and then order the customized blend. Instead of diminishing the unique qualities in every person, like technology tends to do, artificial intelligence actually intensifies the emotional relationship with the customer.

With the app, companies are able to personally connect with their audiences by understanding their needs and wants. Artificial intelligence makes for a more personalized experience so a customer feels like their needs are met by the products and by the company. A positive experience like this is key to building brand loyalty, creating customers for life.

Artificial intelligence as the future of personal connection

Artificial intelligence is able to use our preferences to create a genuine human connection, which is at the very heart of serving them. This is crucial to help turn an everyday purchase into a pleasurable experience. However, when it comes to creating an intimate connection with consumers, which is essential in any industry, technology will never replace human sensitivity. But, at the end of the day, the decision to buy a product is rooted in emotional need rather than rational choice.

Artificial intelligence will only be fully adopted if it puts personal connection at the center. Technology needs to be used to deepen human relationships in a world where it is being evolved at a fast pace. It will be artificial intelligence’s task to foster human connection before anything else.

Featured photo | Franck V.

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