Insights

Ben Mutton: 4 minute read

Tech is the perfect partner, but it will never replace the emotion

‘…people and robots interact socially—the right kind of AI can improve the way humans relate to one another.’
How AI Will Rewire Us, The Atlantic

Since the 1940s humanity has been fixated on the notion that machines will rise up. From Isaac Asimov posting his famous Three Laws of Robotics in the 1940s to the Terminator films. It is an inbuilt fear of what machines could become.

We believe the opposite. We believe that technology is the perfect partner for everyone. We believe this to the core but also acknowledge that it will never be able to replace the emotion.

Emotional Intelligence

‘Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.’
Improving Emotional Intelligence (EQ), helpguide.org

As human beings, we are born with emotional intelligence. Our lives then take us in many different directions, and we decide how much of this we apply to our lives.

‘There’s no doubt that emotional intelligence is absolutely critical to the success of human interactions.’
Can Machines Have Emotions? Smile If You Think So. Forbes.com

Machines can be programmed from the start of their ‘lives’ to mimic emotional intelligence. This is something that exists today in limited forms, with various test programmes happening around the world. Can it effectively care for you though? Can it display the empathy that we all look for whenever we are admitted to hospital, go to see the Doctor or visit our Grandparents in care?

Could a machine remove your fears?

If we look at dystopian fiction, then yes. Films such as Total Recall project futures in which our memories can be removed at the click of a button, stored and then recalled when we choose to.

This example of memory removal is extreme and currently not available to the public, as far as we are aware. As humans, we view those who care with admiration and respect. They are those who give without thinking and bravely continue to care, regardless of the circumstances around them.

If we suddenly removed Doctors, Nurses and Carers from the equation, what would happen?

‘Of course, machines could never feel emotions akin to us humans. Nevertheless, they could simulate emotions that enable them to interact with humans in more appropriate ways.’
AI Systems Dealing with Human Emotions, BBVAOpenMind.com

From this quote and from what we know today, machines could articulate something close to emotion, but it would fall short. People would be fearful of the artificial nature of the interaction.

We see those who work in care as being pious. They give without thinking and want to be there for the most part. Machines in this context would have no choice. It would feel forced.

Where do we want to see technology?

As the perfect partner.

Technology is today the perfect partner for those who work in health and social care. It offers a helping hand to maximise the efficiency of those working within care settings. It is the AI that discovers trends in data and helps to highlight where resources should be allocated. It is the case management that ensures that patient data is securely shared to avoid duplication. It is the software that helps us beat viruses and disease. It is a steadfast friend in uncertain times.

We want to see technology as an assistant and in a position that supports those working in care, not replacing them. We fear change as humans and the extreme change that artificial intelligence and technology can bring is one of the biggest changes. We want to see technology used with restrictions and to support those who desperately need help.

We will never remove humans from the equation

For all of us at OLM, we believe in the benefits that technology can bring to the world.

As we head into our 30th year of operation we are staying true to our founding values. We were created to make a difference to those working within health and social care. Our software and services have been designed alongside those who work within the industry to be fit for purpose.

We do not believe that technology will overthrow humanity, only help support it. This is our hope and our reality. We employ dedicated individuals who believe the same. Emotional intelligence is something unique to humans and something that makes us unique. It is something that we should be proud of, as it sets us apart and keeps us striving to make a difference and improve the world around us.

We choose to create software and services that make a difference, that helps those who work in care, not to replace them.

A final thought

Rise of the machines is fictional, but COVID-19 is real. The challenges that it has provided to the world are extreme.

We have all been required to leave our old lives behind us, to think of those who are vulnerable and see the hierarchy of society get turned on its head. Lessons have been learnt by all of us and one of the most important of these is how essential technology is.

Technology has kept us connected in a disparate world full of questions. Technology has not turned on us in an Armageddon-like struggle for control in the world. It has provided a sorely needed helping hand in a world desperate for good news.

Technology, AI and everything that supports health and care services around the world has proven itself invaluable. It has helped us reach a vaccine quicker than we would have been able to without. It has helped share patient information at the click of a button and enabled those who need to isolate, the chance to continue working.

Technology is a great ally during these times. It is has proven itself in this role but it will never overtake the emotional intelligence that is the beating heart of our emergency services.