Designing AI Companions: How to Create Empathetic AI Experiences

Cansu Hizli

Publisher: iUniverse Pages: 232 Price: (paperback) $39.99 ISBN: 9781663243485 Reviewed: June, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

Artificial Intelligence (AI), today’s hot button issue, is rapidly affecting all aspects of our data-driven lives. Cansu Hizli’s Designing AI Companions poses an interesting question: What if we could take advantage of this technology to assist us in our emotional lives as well?

This book’s meticulous research aims to answer the question with a case study of how AI can integrate empathetic experience into a companion or assistant conceived by a User Experience (UX) designer for implementation by a UX engineer.

Hizli divides the book in half, first defining emotions and empathy (since the ability to create such an assistant depends on this knowledge), then detailing the actual case study. He cites numerous experts in emotion and empathy theories, explains these concepts and theories in accessible language, and includes clear graphics as illustration. For example, the author introduces various personality theories, including the Jungian 16 types and the Myers-Briggs theory, which is an update of the former theory.

After laying the groundwork brick by brick, Hizli moves on to the design proposal, followed by documentation of the case study, illustrated with well-drawn graphics. Readers will need at least a rudimentary knowledge of UX design to fully follow this—although even neophytes will appreciate the author’s accessible writing style and graphics.

Next, Hizli presents feedback from participants in successive experiments involved with designing a prototype AI companion. Finally, the author delivers the case study results, along with the prototype and recommendations for further research.

This book is deliberate and thought-provoking, and Hizli clearly demonstrates expertise in both research (the text offers a wealth of citations) and UX design. One might wish, though, that the book had included an outline of Hizli’s background, so readers could understand why the author is qualified to present this information.

Nonetheless, this is a highly useful book. Armed with the knowledge offered here, a seasoned UX designer interested in creating an AI companion will be amply prepared for that undertaking.

BlueInk Heads-Up: Educational institution librarians might wish to consider stocking a copy or two of this book as research resource material for students of User Experience design.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

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