How Corporations Will Use Artificial Empathy to Sell Us More Shit

Known as artificial empathy, the idea here is to train machines to recognize social signals from humans, aka ‘visual data,’ and then produce an appropriate response.


The emergence of social signal processing as a branch of computer science and robotics is a relatively new phenomenon, but it has already attracted a significant amount of attention from another field of research that is also profoundly interested in understanding the way humans communicate: marketing.

On the one hand, harnessing artificial empathy is considered an essential step toward integrating robots and artificial intelligences into human society as it will allow for more fluid and affective human-robot interaction. On the other, it is seen as a marketing goldmine, as the work being done by Shasha Lu, a lecturer in marketing at the Cambridge Judge Business School, is wont to show.