Humanity on the Edge: AI, Technological Intermediaries and the Quest for Intersubjectivity — By Jason Alan Snyder

photo of girl laying left hand on white digital robot
photo of girl laying left hand on white digital robot

Humanity on the Edge: AI, Technological Intermediaries and the Quest for Intersubjectivity — By Jason Alan Snyder

Navigating the uncharted waters of our digital future, many technological intermediaries increasingly envelop us. AI-powered entities have woven themselves into the fabric of our lives, mediating our interactions, decisions, and experiences.

As we delve into the realms of “Emotion AI” or “affective computing” and intersubjectivity, it becomes vital to reevaluate what it means to be human in this machine-dominated era. Balancing our reliance on technology with preserving our human emotions and behaviours is essential.

The pursuit of intersubjective AI offers a unique opportunity to strengthen our connections with machines while safeguarding the essence of our human experience. We can unlock AI’s full potential by fostering mutual understanding between humans and machines, enabling more empathetic, engaging, and effective experiences across various domains. Ultimately, humanity will steer us through this digital odyssey.

Today we find ourselves surrounded by a myriad of technological intermediaries. AI-powered entities are becoming deeply entwined with our lives, mediating our interactions, decisions, and experiences. But as we move forward into the realm of affective computing and intersubjectivity, we must question the essence of what it means to be human in the age of machines.

Embracing Our Technological Intermediaries  

As I often emphasise, technology is not good or bad but a tool – how we utilise it determines its impact on our lives. Today we witness the evolution of technology as an intermediary in our daily existence, transforming our relationships with each other and the world. From the omnipresent Google, Microsoft and Amazon to ChatGPT, the blockchain, mixed reality and the metaverse, these intermediaries offer unprecedented convenience and efficiency. Still, at the same time, they challenge our human agency, privacy, and data security.

In the face of these emerging technologies, it is essential to balance embracing their transformative potential and safeguarding our human essence. As we continue integrating AI, blockchain, and other innovations into our daily lives, we must be vigilant in addressing the ethical, social, and psychological implications accompanying them. This requires a proactive, multidisciplinary approach, bringing together stakeholders from various sectors, including technology, academia, policy-making, and the public, to devise frameworks and guidelines prioritising preserving human agency, dignity, and privacy. In doing so, we can ensure that technology serves as a force for good, enhancing our lives without undermining our fundamental human values.

Furthermore, we must take advantage of technological intermediaries’ potential to provide us with a platform for forging deeper human relationships and generating greater empathy.The metaverse, for instance, has the potential to bridge geographical and cultural divides, creating immersive experiences that allow us to engage with others in novel ways. By embracing the power of digital platforms, we can eliminate physical barriers and open ourselves to multiple views and feelings. Nonetheless, these spaces must remain inviting yet mindful—avoiding widening existing inequalities while building a genuine intersubjectivity amongst people from all walks of life.

The Human-Machine Intersubjectivity Dilemma  

At the heart of our relationship with these technological intermediaries lies the concept of intersubjectivity – the shared understanding and mutual interpretation of meaning between individuals. This deep human experience is the foundation of our empathy, collaboration, and communication. ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence systems are terrific at processing large amounts of data and completing intricate projects. Yet, they require support to comprehend the nuances of human emotions, objectives, and circumstances.

As we integrate Emotion AI into our systems, crucial moral and privacy considerations must be considered. We need to create Artificial Intelligence that can recognize and appropriately respond to emotions; however, this also brings up potential misuse or abuse regarding personal autonomy and individual privacy. It is essential to consider and answer these questions before mass-adopting this technology. We must create regulations and strategies that guarantee the ethical usage of Emotion AI, striking a compromise between promoting interpersonal understanding and protecting our fundamental human rights. By carefully managing these obstacles, we can use Emotion AI to improve our relationship with technology while preserving the essential human connection at the foundation of our collective experience.

The Emotion AI Frontier  

To achieve a more meaningful connection with our digital counterparts, we must strive for intersubjective AI – machines that can recognise, interpret, and respond to human emotions and intentions contextually and appropriately. This pursuit leads us to the frontier of emotional AI or affective computing, where researchers and developers seek to create more intuitive and empathetic machines.

We already see AI-powered virtual assistants like Momentum Worldwide‘s work for General Motors‘ “Eve”, the “AI Ambassador.” Products like “Eve” have the potential to not only comprehend our words but also discern our emotional states through voice, facial expressions, or text input. By achieving a higher degree of emotional intelligence, these virtual assistants can provide more empathetic and contextually appropriate responses, fostering trust and deepening the bond between humans and machines.

As we continue to rely on technology to perform an ever-growing array of tasks in our daily lives. Trust is a multifaceted concept encompassing various aspects, such as reliability, transparency, and empathy. To cultivate trust, AI systems must deliver consistent and accurate results and communicate their decision-making processes and intentions clearly and comprehensibly to users. Developing AI that can exhibit empathy, understand human emotions, and adapt its behaviour to users’ needs and preferences is vital in building a more profound connection between humans and machines.

To nurture trust and foster accountability, it is essential to construct ethical standards and regulatory frameworks that guarantee AI’s responsible and transparent use. By creating stable, transparent, and sympathetic AI systems attuning to our emotions as humans, we can all look forward to a more serene future where technology amplifies and bolsters our capabilities. This connection between people and machines will pave the way for an era of innovation that allows us to flourish.

Marketing As Connective Tissue

Rarely is marketing seen as a means to drive humanitarian progress. Yet, as a discipline, it can be used to uncover our ever-changing relationship with technology – particularly when considering AI and technological intermediaries. Through exploring the search for intersubjectivity or shared understanding between humans and AI, marketing allows us to comprehend how these advancements impact human interaction and communication in remarkable ways.

I urge everyone endeavouring to build AI solutions to venture into new territories and examine their work’s impact through an all-encompassing perspective.

Analysing behaviours within marketing reveals “real world” dimensions of uncharted populations, contemporary social challenges, and the dynamics of power and agency. The innate human need for connection underpins survival and flourishing at individual and societal levels, both spiritually and physically.

Marketing strategies and campaigns increasingly incorporate AI and technology-driven tools to personalise content, analyse consumer behaviour, and create more targeted messaging. By studying these approaches, we can observe how AI and technology increasingly mediate human experiences, with positive and negative implications for intersubjectivity. AI’s ability to process vast amounts of data allows for tailored experiences that cater to individual preferences, fostering more profound connections between brands and consumers. However, excessive personalisation may lead to filter bubbles, potentially limiting exposure to diverse perspectives and hindering shared understanding.

Marketing serves as a reflection of societal values and aspirations.

As AI and technological intermediaries become more prevalent, marketing campaigns can provide a lens into how society grapples with these advancements’ ethical, moral, and philosophical implications. This includes privacy, surveillance, and balancing human intuition and AI-driven decision-making.

By examining how marketing addresses or avoids these concerns, we can better understand humanity’s evolving relationship with technology and the quest for intersubjectivity.

Experiential marketing opens new doors to forge more meaningful connections between consumers and brands in the quest for intersubjective AI. These systems can be harnessed to create personalised, emotionally engaging consumer experiences as they become more proficient at understanding human emotions and context.

New Beginnings

As we embark on this unprecedented journey into a new era, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to harnessing the power of technology to strengthen and deepen human connections. Our collective responsibility lies in thoughtfully navigating the delicate balance between leveraging technological advancements and preserving the core values and attributes that define our humanity.

By fostering a spirit of collaboration and open dialogue, we can guide the development and implementation of AI and other emerging technologies in a manner that amplifies our capacity for empathy, understanding, and shared experience. As we forge ahead into this uncharted territory, let us embrace the potential of technology as a catalyst for positive change, elevating the human experience and ensuring that the essence of our humanity continues to flourish in the digital age.

This article was written by Jason Alan Snyder, the Global Chief Technology Officer at Momentum Worldwide

Jack Boreham

Jack Boreham

Jack Boreham is the editorial director and account executive at the Metaverse Insider: the leading metaverse publication globally. Jack has been at the forefront of the platform's growth as a metaverse specialist -writing and advising projects in the Metaverse space for over two years.

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