Catherine Havasi, Agorai

Catherine Havasi, Agorai

Dr. Catherine Havasi is Science Lead at Agorai. She previously served as the Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder of Luminoso, an AI-based natural language understanding company in Cambridge, MA. Luminoso’s solutions are based upon nearly a decade of her research at the MIT Media Lab on how natural language processing and machine learning could be applied to improve text analytics. Catherine also directs the Open Mind Common Sense Project, one of the largest common sense knowledge bases in the world, which she co-founded alongside Marvin Minsky and Push Singh in 1999.

Beyond Personalization: Everyone Needs Scalable and Accessible Understanding

People often think of computers as being emotionless but when we interact with them it has always been full of emotion. When we first searched the web, it wasn’t with keywords but with our wants and needs. Search engines were woefully unequipped and it was in that climate that we had the idea to “harness the power of bored people on the internet” to learn that emotional language and the practice of crowdsourcing training data was born.

In time, we learned that the computer didn’t speak our emotional language and the current search paradigm was born. This pattern happens again and again as we interact with emerging technology – we learn to speak in emotionless keywords. We’ve been in the “age of personalization” for years – what does it take for every researcher and every business to have access to artificial intelligence that goes beyond to a more holistic understanding of user emotion.

As the first crowdsourced AI project turns twenty, we reflect on the use emotional relationship between people and artificial intelligence, the importance of useable and pragmatic AI, and how we’re going to need to go beyond the emotion basics to make a measurable impact in everything from ecommerce to chatbots – and even automation.

We’ll discuss what’s happening, what needs to happen, and how these things will affect every business. Lastly, we’ll discuss the questions we need to ask to make sure we won’t need to remove our emotions to interact with the next time a world-changing technology.


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