Conscious Empathic AI in Service

Hadi Esmaeilzadeh, University of California, San Diego
Reza Vaezi, Kennesaw State University


Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have achieved human-scale speed and accuracy for classification tasks. Current systems do not need to be conscious to recognize patterns and classify them. However, for AI to advance to the next level, it needs to develop capabilities such as metathinking, creativity, and empathy. We contend that such a paradigm shift is possible through a fundamental change in the state of artificial intelligence toward consciousness, similar to what took place for humans through the process of natural selection and evolution. To that end, we propose that consciousness in AI is an emergent phenomenon that primordially appears when two machines cocreate their own language through which they can recall and communicate their internal state of time-varying symbol manipulation. Because, in our view, consciousness arises from the communication of inner states, it leads to empathy. We then provide a link between the empathic quality of machines and better service outcomes associated with empathic human agents that can also lead to accountability in AI services.