Empathy in the Algorithm: Marie Toft's Journey to Humanize AI with Emotionise

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Episode Description

Welcome to an episode that takes us on a captivating journey through the uncharted territories of AI, where feelings and technology meet. In this mesmerizing episode, we have a conversation with our distinguished guest, ⁠Marie Toft⁠, a former journalist turned tech entrepreneur who is courageously venturing into the world of AI and empathetic intelligence.

Hailing from Cork, Ireland, Marie's journey from newsrooms to AI startups is as engaging as it is inspiring. She navigates her way through the intricate world of AI, unveiling her innovative tool, ⁠Emotionise⁠, a trailblazing solution that is reshaping how we perceive AI and empathy.

Marie, an IFTA-nominated personality for ⁠Creedon's Wild Atlantic Way ⁠and ⁠Creedon's Shannon⁠ and award-winning producer of ⁠The Business⁠, offers compelling insights on the significance of understanding others' feelings in AI, the potential implications of empathetic AI across various sectors, and the societal impact of this fusion. These insights are sure to leave you spellbound. As we delve deeper into this fascinating conversation, we also touch upon the ethical considerations in automation, the future of AI, and much more.

So, if you've ever wondered how AI can harness the power of understanding emotions or how the future of AI could be woven with our world of feelings, this is an episode you can't afford to miss. Tune in for a conversation that's sure to leave you pondering the nuances of sentiment in AI and its significant potential to transform the world around us.

Show Notes

(00:01) From Journalism to AI

Marie shares her journey into technology, discussing her 25 years of experience as a journalist and executive TV producer. She has worked for the BBC, SBS Australia, and RTE, and has made documentaries for many years. Marie then decided to take an entrepreneurial path and left her job to establish Emotion Eyes, a content consultancy and communications agency. We discuss how emotions are a barometer that we use to navigate the world, and neuroscience has shown that we connect emotionally with content and remember it.

(11:42) Building an AI Startup

Marie shares how she has transformed from a journalist and executive TV producer to a tech entrepreneur. She reveals how the startup program allowed her to focus on her business idea while also introducing her to a network of tech friends. Marie undertook customer research and received feedback that she should pursue a different product. Despite the odds, Marie pressed on and invested her own money to build an MVP with the help of a local enterprise office grant. She found a software development company to help, and despite the challenge of data creation, Marie was able to find a tech-savvy co-founder to invest in her project.

(18:31) Future of Emotional AI in Marketing

We discuss how Marie has used her decades of experience in emotional intelligence and her language skills, along with her psychotherapy training, to create data and emotionize data. We explore how AI tools are being used to create a more diplomatic and respectful conversation between employees. We look at Marie's journey in the sales and marketing space and how she discovered that there is more emotion in B2B than B2C. We learn about the system she created that spoke to the pain of the client and how her tech team was able to feed the data to AI. We also look at the business model she has created and how domain experts like her are able to interface with the developers.

(27:25) Emotion AI

We explore how Marie has created a tool that uses emotional intelligence to offer an emotional audit and replacements to emails. This tool references the values of the organization in an emotionally intelligent context and always keeps the human in the loop. Marie shares her passion for emotional intelligence and how her tool, Emotion Eyes, provides a way for users to represent their company and its values. We learn how the beta testing process led to Marie getting her tool out to users, and how users were using the tool in unexpected ways. We also discuss the recent executive order from the White House, the Bletchley Park Summit in the UK, and the importance of trust and authenticity when it comes to AI.

(38:47) The Future of AI

We explore the potential of emotional intelligence and artificial intelligence working together. We look at how AI can help in call centers, classrooms, and customer support, and how it can be used to help children with dyslexia. We also examine the importance of imbuing AI with empathy and kindness, and the White House and EU's respective actions to ensure this. Lastly, Marie shares her biggest concerns with the technology.

(50:04) The Impact and Future of AI

We explore the potential consequences of the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace and how it could affect society. We debate the need for international cooperation in the development of AI, and the potential for AI to be used for good. We also discuss the importance of guardrails for AI legislation, and how China has attended the Pledgeley Park Summit. We consider the differences between Google and Chat to Be Tea, and how AI can be used to make emotionally intelligent tools.

(54:16) Automation and Gen AI's Ethical Implications

We explore the ethical implications of using AI in the workplace, discussing the need for transparency and guardrails that can be put in place when AI is used for communication. We consider the impact of AI on young people and how it could influence their perspectives, questioning if they are being taught the critical thinking skills necessary to identify reliable sources. We also examine the potential of AI and emotional intelligence working together in the call center environment, and the need for transparency when talking to automated agents.

(01:03:59) Passion for Technology and Scaling

Marie shares her experience leveraging her decades of experience in emotional intelligence and language skills to create a tool that provides an emotional audit and replacements to emails. We then discuss the potential of AI in the workplace, and the need for transparency and guardrails when using AI.

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