Image for post
Image for post

Empathy is often underused in the workplace, but the most innovative businesses are starting to realize the benefits of being more empathetic.

At its core, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, and despite the casual and non-professional connotations of the skill, this competency can be used to vastly improve the conditions of a workplace.

Empathy makes you a better leader — and this trickles down

Research shows that empathy creates more effective leadership. Empathy is the greatest predictor of leadership emergence, even beyond factors such as cognitive ability and task performance, and this empathetic leadership creates drastic differences for a workplace. …

Image for post
Image for post

No one is immune to the amygdala hijack! Our amygdala is part of the limbic ‘lizard brain’, part of our brain which processes emotions and makes decisions, especially fight or flight decisions. Imagine it’s late in the day and you open an email from your colleague, and a word catches your eye that fires up your heart rate and your blood pressure. You want to reply, and you start writing, but you know that all your words come out as angry and defensive. Welcome to the EMAIL-ygdala hijack!

The ‘hijack’ (a term coined by Daniel Goleman in Emotional Intelligence) describes how the amygdala can create an immediate and intense emotional reaction that is out of proportion to a situation, and take control so that all our normal considered thinking goes out the window. …

Revealing Categories of Emotions in AI

Image for post
Image for post

AI can read our emotions from our faces and knows what we are thinking and feeling. Or can it? One of the areas where AI has been particularly active has been in ‘Emotion AI’ — which typically means using video, audio, or text written by a human, and using it to infer their emotional state. Many companies have built APIs that do this (e.g.: Microsoft: for images and text, IBM: for text, as well as specialist companies like Affectiva and Heartbeat AI). …

Image for post
Image for post
Plaque for on the house where Adam Smith lived

Adam Smith is usually remembered as an economist, author of The Wealth Of Nations, and as the leading proponent of free market economics. I want to introduce you to a better Adam Smith, the one who had earlier written The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and who could justly be remembered as the first psychologist to study emotional intelligence.

The Theory of Moral Sentiments, first published in 1759, was a deep dive into moral behaviour, and explained how people led moral lives because of “sympathy”, an inborn tendency to imagine themselves in another person’s shoes. Sound familiar? …

Image for post
Image for post

Jan was happily relaxing over cat videos with her third latte of the day, when her phone lit up with an email from Mark, someone she’d never met: something to do with an exciting business opportunity, so she ignored it. And a moment later, a second email, which freaks her out:

“Hi Jan, just saw you’re in the coffee shop on Front Street. I’ll see you there in two minutes — I need a word with you.”

WTF? She saw from the message he was using an email service that tracked the location of anyone reading one of their emails. …

Image for post
Image for post

Digital miscommunication has far reaching negative consequences for all businesses by eating away at their productivity channels.

When thinking of causes of workplace inefficiency, things like a mismatch of employee and company values immediately comes to mind. However, what often doesn’t come up is how a company may be misusing digital communication, and the costly day-to-day as well as long-term ramifications of leaving it unaddressed.

The Quantitative Cost of Poor Digital Communication

Factors such as confidence in coworkers may not be issues that have a visible effect on revenue and profit, but there is definitely a correlation. …

Image for post
Image for post

Writing emails to customers is hard. There’s a temptation to draw on other people’s ‘proven’ or ‘successful’ template messages to help you come across in the best possible way.

The downside is that, for the most part, these templates are absolutely terrible. As an example, a few months ago I got a message that looked approximately like this:

Stuart,

I’m writing to follow up on our last conversation. My boss asked me for an update on your account. I told him I didn’t have one. I’m not sure if it makes sense to continue the conversation.

What makes sense as a next step, if any? …

Image for post
Image for post

There is a persistent myth that bias is something we can “remove” from AI. This is promoted, often by organizations and publications that should really know better, with articles like these:

“Controlling machine-learning algorithms and their biases” (McKinsey & Company, November 2017)

“Can We Keep Our Biases from Creeping into AI?” (Harvard Business Review, February 2018)

“AI bias will explode. But only the unbiased AI will survive” (IBM Research, March, 2018)

These articles are wrong. Bias isn’t something that we can, or even should, eliminate from AI. …

Image for post
Image for post

Why is formality interesting? Formality is a window into our use of social norms. There’s a helpful concept from sociology: a continuum between “tight” cultures and “loose” cultures”, where “tight” cultures emphasize strict following of social norms and formal behaviour, and “loose” cultures prefer more relaxed social norms, and more informality.

The social norms that we use in our language reflect the culture: if we follow rules in our language, we follow them in our workplace and our wider society.

1. Every message shows signs of formality or informality

The differences between formal and informal messages come down to three main points:

  • Adherence to rules. In informal writing, it’s okay to break grammar saying, e.g., “coffee?” instead of “would you like a coffee?”, …
Image for post
Image for post

Have you ever thought of using JavaScript for AI? It might seem an unusual choice. Many AI companies these days use Python or Scala, but JavaScript has a few advantages that are worth thinking about when you’re looking at your next AI project.

1. Security

Unlike Python, JavaScript was built for security. After all, it was designed to allow someone you don’t trust, like Amazon or Google, to be able to run scripts on your computer without access to all your files and secrets. By design, JavaScript can’t access files or even the operating system. …

About

turalt

turalt — the technology of empathy uses artificial intelligence, psychometrics, & psycholinguistics to solve interpersonal communication problems in businesses.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store