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The future of conversational AI is emotional intelligence

AI-powered voice tech is relatively new, but its growth over the last few years has been staggering. As the pandemic continues to bolster that growth, voice tech and conversational AI will continue to transform our lives - in ways we can't easily imagine today. That also means that the decisions we make today, as we continue to evolve voice tech, will have a determining effect on its future - and ours. So we must get things right - right now.

That's something that Joti Balani, founder and managing director of, has been aware of for a long time. And one of the main pillars of Freshriver's approach is emotional intelligence. Joti will be joining us during the August 26 episode of VOICE Talks to discuss her vision of the future of AI-powered voice tech and how building emotional intelligence into our AI models is key.

Emotional intelligence

Joti believes that conversational AI is at a crossroads. The older systems that were developed no longer serve the digital age at this stage. She feels that we need to rethink the human-machine voice interface, primarily based on language interpretation. What's required is an interface capable of understanding the emotional states of the speaker. The measure of emotional intelligence has emerged in the conversational AI space.

Joti will share how conversational AI's adoption rate is growing at an impressive rate, with massive improvements to algorithms, along with machine-learning and language models. However, conversational AI still needs for the full human experience to be considered.

According to Joti, "Voice is inherently a very powerful medium that humans have been using to communicate since the beginning of time. While technology has made it faster, better, and cheaper, there's now a new factor at play that has to be considered, and that is emotional intelligence."

Nurturing the digital infant

Throughout her career, Joti has seen too many teams rushing the development of conversational AI models. Joti feels that we should think of conversational AI as a virtual infant. We need to metaphorically consider it to have a brain, a heart, and senses. As she sees it, these teams try to turn these systems into adults before they're ready. And that would also explain the high failure rate we've seen in the last few years, where the marketing and the actual experience don't line up.

With voice tech, machines need to understand how humans speak to communicate successfully and get things done. And to be able to do that, conversational AI needs to be built with diversity, ethics, empathy, and equity in mind. Voice tech needs to reflect the beings we are. It requires emotional "awareness" or intelligence.

As Joti explains, "Voice provides the unique ability to reconnect. The equity and empathy parts are extremely important. And to achieve that at scale, we really need to educate the development teams to rethink their approach if we're going to get this right."

Subscribe to watch VOICE Talks guest Joti Balani of on August 26 at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT. Joti will share her vision of the future of conversational AI and provide real-world examples of how is building emotional intelligence into the voice solutions of some of the world's leading brands.

The VOICE Talks show’s new host, Megan Grace, will also be joined by experts and influencers to discuss the shifting trends in voice and how brands and developers can keep up. Expert guests will include Mike Bifulco, developer relations engineer, Google Assistant; Dr. Teri Fisher, founder, editor, and host at The Voice Den & Voice in Canada; Daniel Hill, community manager at VoiceBrew; James Poulter, CEO of Vixen Labs; and Kane Simms, founder, Vux World.