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How AI Can Help Us Move From Shallow Signals to a True Understanding of What People Want and Need

Jun 12, 2020

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This year’s CogX event brought together leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, and activists in the world, all trying to answer the question: How to get next 10 years right?

Right now we are all probably saying, “I don’t even know how I’m going to do the next 10 days.” Nevertheless we were honored to join the lineup of speakers at this year’s conference, which explored how machine learning and AI are keeping companies online and operating, and how our world is changing — at an unprecedented pace — so that brands may reflect on new data and methods needed to find the best way to connect with consumers, authentically.

Our session on Empathetic AI featured Phillippe Beaudoin, Co-Founder of Element AI; Amber Case, Futurist, Author and Researcher; Kristine Gloria, Associate Director of Emerging Technologies at the Aspen Institute; Zoe Webster, Director, AI and DAta Economy at Innovate UK; and our own Jonathon Morgan, CEO and Co-Founder of Yonder.

In a quick, 10-minute keynote, Dr. Phillipe Beaudoin reminds us that that internet was designed to help people to work together. But increasingly, we’ve seen our feeds be filled with content that corporations think we want. We are left with the task of differentiating what’s real and what’s not, what’s good and what’s not.

We’re much better people than what we look like on the internet.” — Dr. Phillipe Beaudoin

Algorithms are designed to make us push like buttons, and reaction emojis. But that’s not who we are on the internet. So, who are we, really? Brands often answer this by counting likes, measuring the speed at which we scroll, reading the information on our profiles. But he notes — and we agree — that these are very shallow signals, and that people express their wants and needs in much more nuanced ways.