Artificial Intelligence has saturated our lives from top to bottom. It is already applied in various industries, from medicine and transportation to cybersecurity and crime-fighting. However, have you ever thought of AI’s role as a contributor to happiness and well-being? Yes, you read that right. AI has now been used as a tool that can quantify happiness, collecting data that may have a direct correlation between a person’s habits and well-being.
Want a little more clarity? Let’s take a closer look at three specific technologies with Artificial Intelligence applications.
PARO Therapeutic Robot
The PARO robot works pretty much like therapy dogs except, well, they are robots. It was developed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan. PARO, which is pretty much a robot baby harp seal, serves as a companion animal for people mental health problems like dementia.
Unlike dogs or other live animals, PARO does not need to eat and wouldn’t die. However, armed with dual 32-bit processors and tactile sensors, the robot responds when touched and petted, and is able to move its tail and close and open its eyes. It also responds to sounds and can even learn its name!
While that sounds fun and all, the question is, does it work? You bet it does! Researchers found out that PARO reduces the anxiety of the patients and improves their quality of life. There are even people who have not talked in years who started communicating through PARO.
PARO’s functions are pretty basic, but it gets the job done. Could we take PARO to the next level and perhaps create an AI-powered device or companion that can detect a patient’s mood changes, sleep patterns, or blood pressure? Who knows what could happen very soon? The point is, AI’s potential to ensure that people with mental health issues will never feel alone again.
Beyond Verbal’s Emotion Analytics
The goal of making machines interact with humans on an emotional level is quite ambitious, but to an Israel-based startup company called Beyond Verbal, it’s just a start. The company has developed what they call “emotion analytics” that enables the technology to recognize emotion. It uses a form of speech recognition, but instead of detecting emotion based on the context of the words used, it does so using the speaker’s intonation.
How does that exactly help improve well-being and happiness? Humans are already very good at assessing emotions, but what we sometimes lack is recognizing our own feelings. This is where Beyond Verbal’s technology comes in. It helps people keep their emotions in check, which, if they do, help promote peace and better interactions.
Accelerometer– The Happiness Meter
The work of Dr. Kazuo Yano of Hitachi Ltd. that aims to measure happiness spans 15 years and is quite complicated. However, the heart of the matter is, he used Artificial Intelligence to determine what makes people happy and what doesn’t. Through this, he developed a technology called the Accelerometer.
In what way does this AI-based technology contribute to happiness and well-being? The Accelerometer can be used through an Android and iOS app and employs motion-sensor and infrared-sensor technologies that gather data from meeting signals and questionnaires.
To understand how the app works, let’s go back to the results of Dr. Yano’s 15-year study. He found out that people who are active and always on the move are happier than others. The research also indicates that our behavior toward others contributes to overall happiness.
Given these results, the app that Dr. Yano developed has a scoring system that ranks how well you interact with others. It also gives a daily morning reminder and lets you choose from a thousand different activities to make other people happy. By focusing our attention on the positives, this ingenious AI-based technology helps us look out not only for our own interests but for the interests of others as well.
What we can do with Artificial Intelligence is staggering! Although most of its implementations center around the automation of repetitive tasks, AI can also be used to our personal advantage, more specifically, to improve happiness and well-being. The possibilities are indeed endless, and that’s what makes it exciting!