Tech will finally show empathy


Recently, Apple announced that they acquired Perceptio. Perceptio is a company that is using artificial intelligence to classify photos on smartphones (Clark and Sataranio, 2015). The revolution in here is that the application does not require a lot of data of the users, so it is very customer friendly. The idea is that objects and emotions will be recognised using Artificial Intelligence. This way if people search for “dog” they will automatically be shown photos that a dog is in.

Also, Facebook announced this week that, instead of the “dislike” button, it is working on reactions feature that allows you to express emotions, such as “love, laughter, cheeky smiles and shock anger” (Trew, 2015). This will change the dynamic of “liking” things on Facebook. As we can now express our emotion with the use of emoticons it will change the perception of social media. Spain and Ireland will the first countries that get to test this new feature by Friday. This way Facebook is trying to resolve the problem that is mentioned by Mark Zuckerberg in an interview:

“What people really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment (The Guardian, 2015).”

These new features will have an effect on the way we use and understand social media. For a long time social media was a difficult medium to show empathy. An emotional tone online is often lost in translation or is misinterpreted. Despite the introduction emoticons and the textual emotions, it has always remained difficult for computer to recognize and process emotions.
The collaboration between Apple and Perceptio can create interesting features in the future. The use of artificial intelligence for understanding empathy in photos will be revolutionary. It will change how photos are interpreted and analysed. Also, the emoticons used on Facebook will enable users to show more empathy and therefore reduce conflict due to misunderstanding.
However, the emojis might add some empathy to the community, it is not the most revolutionary improvement. Users are still limited in their options and by commenting on the post they will have a more varied choice of emoticons.
So what do you think? Will this new feature bring extra value to Facebook? And will the collaboration between Apple and Perception create something that is truly revolutionary and useful?

Clark, J & Sataranio, A. (2015) Apple Acquires Startup Developing Advanced AI for Phones,, October 8, 2015.

Trew, J. (2015) Facebook tests ‘Reactions,’ a Like button with more emotions,, October 8 2015.

The Guardian (2015) Facebook ‘Reactions’ Social Network Adds Emoji to ‘Like’ Options,, October 12 2105.


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