By John P. Desmond, AI Trends Editor
People in the US are suffering from an empathy deficit, one researcher suggests.
Children who spend much of their time plugged into self-focused media are less likely to learn how to read emotional cues associated with face-to-face communication, suggests Dr. Michele Borba, an educational psychologist and author of “UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.
Her research shows a 40% drop in empathy among college freshmen over the past 30 years, as a result of cultural and environmental factors, resulting in a weakening of our empathy “muscles”.
“Empathy activates conscience, curbs bullying, reduces prejudice and promotes moral courage, the foundation to trust, the benchmark of humanity and core to everything that makes a society civilized,” stated Dr. Borba on her website.
To better tune into this unfeeling public, some companies are turning to sentiment analysis software that incorporates AI.
SugarPredict from SugarCRM Adds Sentiment Analysis
SugarCRM recently added sentiment analysis software, called SugarPredict, into its SugarLive multichannel customer communications platform, used by sales and service staff to track the details of each customer interaction. SugarPredict incorporates natural language processing AI capability.
“One of the highest callings of customer experience professionals and enabling technology platforms is helping customers via an understanding of their struggles and aspirations,” stated Paul Greenberg, President of the 56 Group, LLC and author of The Commonwealth of Self Interest: Business Success Through Customer Engagement, in a press release from SugarCRM. “AI-powered sentiment analysis weds customer voice and text to business action, providing every sales and service interaction with the means to account for customers’ emotional tone and attitude—context indispensable to supporting exceptional experiences.”
Rich Green, CTO, SugarCRM
SugarCRM CTO Rich Green stated, “Sales and service professionals are under a great deal of pressure as a customer’s business can be won or lost in a single misstep. You rarely get a second chance to make a great impression with a customer; it’s profoundly important to get each and every interaction right and connect on a deeply human level.”
In SugarPredict, SugarCRM is leveraging its August 2020 acquisition of AI supplier Node Inc., an AI platform focused on using customer data to further predictability, the company indicated to AI Trends.
InVibe Labs Tapping GPT-3 Large Language Model for Insights
InVibe Labs of Costa Mesa, Calif., a startup focused on voice technology research, is incorporating its use of the GPT-3 large language model created by OpenAI, to help analyze its archive of transcribed audio files from research surveys.
“Recent technological advancements in machine learning and NLP have pushed us to expand our thinking about what processing tasks can be offloaded to a machine,” stated Jeremy Franz, cofounder and CTO of inVibe, in a blog post on the company’s website. The company worked with Edge Analytics to build several algorithms on top of GPT-3, used to perform novel MLP tasks. “GPT-3 is better at some tasks than others; however, combining GPT-3 with expert human analysts and other automated tools gives us the best of both worlds,” Franz stated.
In testing, inVibe achieved better performance on “subject-aware” sentiment analysis using the GPT-3 algorithms, than any other solution they tried. “Subject-aware” means that the technique considers the subject of the phrase, not just whether the words are positive or negative. “This is a marked improvement over traditional techniques, and even exceeds the performance of advanced models like Google Cloud’s semantic analysis API,” Franz stated. He followed with several specific examples to flesh out his point.
“With the steps we’ve taken, inVibe hopes to increase the clarity, organization, and timeliness of our insights for clients,” Franz stated.
HARK Connect Extends Qualitative Research with Sentiment Analysis
HARK Connect of Austin has focused on qualitative research for market research involving groups, one-on-one interviews and use experience (UX) designs. The company is now introducing applications for Sentiment Analysis and Facial Coding.
“Our focus has been on the benefits of the AI-human interaction and how it empowers qualitative research,” stated Dr. Duane Varan, founder and CEO of Hark Connect, in an email to AI Trends. “This is very much about technology, but it’s a ‘warm’ technology, if you will. It’s not intimidating; if anything, it’s accessible. It ends up making the people who use it feel good about it,” he stated.
HARK Connect Managing Partner and Tech Evangelist Elissa Moses stated, “Through AI, Qual is rapidly leapfrogging from being the one of the lowest tech forms of research to one of the highest. She has worked for advertising agencies including BBDO, and for clients including Gillette and Seagram. “Clients across a range of business and institutional categories are reaping the benefits of its speed and depth of analysis,” she stated.
Comments from clients on the company’s website include this one from Liz Musch, founder and CEO of LM Global Advisor, offering strategic consulting, “HARK Connect has cracked the best way to experience focus groups. Easy to watch and you can communicate remotely. Plus, being international, I really appreciate the real time translations.”
Cauliflower in Hamburg Uses AI to Derive Sentiment from Text Analysis
Startup Cauliflower.ai, founded in 2019 in Hamburg, Germany, offers an AI/ML-based multilingual sentiment analysis tool, used to forecast sales, extract key excerpts from customer feedback, automate customer support tickets and create intelligent AI chatbots, according to an email message to AI Trends.
The company was founded by Lukas Waidelich, who is managing director, and Gianluca-Daniele Speranza, who is technical lead. The two custom-built a natural language understanding algorithm used to analyze text from sources including surveys, review, customer feedback and social media. The tool can translate multiple languages. The analysis aided by AI that can identify topics the target group is discussing and which are most important; the sentiment of the comments, positive and negative feedback; and themes across the network and how they are related; and visual reporting and sharing options for the results of the analysis.
Tchibo is a German chain of coffee retailers and cafes known for non-coffee products that change weekly, including clothing, furniture, electronics and appliances. “Every week a new world,” is the slogan of the company, which became a Cauliflower.ai customer.
“We discovered Cauliflower while searching for strong technology partners who can help us with digital transformation,” stated Alexander Falser, head of consumer insights for Tchibo, in a comment posted on the Cauliflower website. “With automated AI-based semantic analysis and excellent visualization, Cauliflower delivered and proved to be a highly customer-oriented and flexible partner,” he stated.
Authors Have Suggestions for US Empathy Deficit
The sentiment-analysis products might be well-timed in an era seeing shrinking reservoirs of empathy. Opportunities to give and receive empathy are reduced by decreased social interaction, online gatherings, air hugs and masked conversations, suggest the authors of a recent account in Scientific American entitled, “The US Has an Empathy Deficit,” published in September 2020.
Judith Hall, a professor of psychology, Northeastern University
“The fact that a recent Gallup poll showed that roughly a third of the country doesn’t think there’s a problem with race relations suggests that many people aren’t grasping other people’s perspectives,” stated the authors, Judith Hall, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, and Mark Leary, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University.
“You don’t have to be a social psychologist like we are to see that Americans are experiencing an empathy deficit,” the authors stated, suggesting remedies such as asking others how they are feeling and listening to their response, and trying to put yourself in other people’s shoes.
Read the source articles and information on the website of Dr. Michele Borba, in a press release from SugarCRM, in a blog post from inVibe Labs, on the website of Hark Connect, on the website of Cauliflower.ai and in Scientific American.