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Huawei Reportedly Working On AI Digital Assistant That Can Understand Human Emotions, Not Just Commands

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Huawei is reportedly looking to offer its own digital assistant powered by artificial intelligence, and it wants it to understand human emotions.

Digital assistants are rapidly gaining ground and along with Google Assistant, Apple's Siri, Amazon Alexa, Samsung's Bixby, and Microsoft's Cortana, there already are viable options to choose from.

Current digital assistants can perform various tasks based on the voice commands they receive, such as read the news, deliver the weather forecast or sports scores, take notes, add items to shopping or to-do lists, order products, control smart home appliances, and more.

Huawei Assistant To Understand Human Emotions

Huawei, however, wants to take things to the next level by creating an emotional AI assistant that would change the way people can interact with the technology. While current assistants can fulfill functional tasks, Huawei's future assistant aims to fulfill one's emotional needs.

Huawei's VP of software engineering, Felix Zhang, talked about the company's ambitious plans for an emotional assistant at Huawei's annual Global Analyst Summit in Shenzhen, China.

"We want to provide emotional interactions," Zhang told CNBC. "We think that, in the future, all our end users wish [that] they can interact with the system in the emotional mode," he added. "This is the direction we see in the long run."

Huawei Emotion AI: How Would It Work?

"Emotion AI" refers to the concept that a software program could detect a human's emotional mood and respond to it, delivering a more personalized and sensitive user experience. With capabilities to detect human emotions, the assistant could take into account the user's voice intonation, facial expressions, behavioral patterns, and other such tell-tale signs.

By understanding moods and emotions, the assistant could support longer conversations that are more human-like, and could ease one's loneliness. Users could talk more with the AI assistant rather than just give it commands, and the emotional interaction could be more rewarding and effective.

James Lu, Huawei's director of AI product management, further told CNBC that the assistant will try to prolong the conversation for as long as possible to ease the user's loneliness, and that it needs a high IQ to do that. At the same time, the assistant would also need a high emotional quotient or EQ.

There's no timeline yet for when Huawei aims to have its emotion AI assistant ready for public use, but it may take a while. Developing such complex technology requires time, trials, improvements, and a lot of work, so don't expect to see it in the near future.

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