Our interdisciplinary approach is propelling Human-Machine Understanding

by Michelle Lim, Mary Chan and Ali Shafti | Sep 19, 2023

We increasingly interact with technology across personal, professional and societal realms. Interaction with machines of all shapes and sizes benefits from mutual understanding – we need to understand what they’re capable of; they need to understand what we want. But in many areas, understanding is currently one-sided, with humans adapting to technology.

At CC, we’re building some of the first machines that truly understand humans and can adapt to us in real time. That might be as direct collaborators, team mediators, decision supporters, autonomous agents or enablers for augmentation. This is what we call Human-Machine Understanding (HMU).

We draw insights from AI, affective computing, cognitive science, neuroscience, and psychology to build these empathetic systems. They have applications on a factory floor to boost productivity, at theme parks to deliver unique experiences, at hospitals to better patient lives, and even in critical situations where humans alone might struggle.

These systems might be embodied in a robot or enacted through interfaces like AR, VR, voice or wearables. We’re fortunate at CC in that we have a broad capability in interaction design which is not limited to traditional interfaces.

A core tenet of our capability is the focus on trust. We don’t simply build trustworthiness into human-machine interfaces as an afterthought; we consider it as a core part of our approach from the start. This ensures successful human adoption of the technology.

Our research explores the factors that allow humans to team with other entities, to trust the team as a whole and to succeed in their tasks – while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of those involved. The development approach involves close collaboration with users or proxies where appropriate.

The infographic below walks you through the Human-Machine Understanding capability here at CC. If you’re looking to build the next generation of human experience for your product and service, do please reach out to us to discover more.

Expert authors

Principal Behavioural Scientist for Human Machine Understanding | View profile

Michelle's focus is on the intersection between psychology and technology. Her passion is in developing emotionally intelligent technology, human-machine teaming, and real-time adaptative systems to support humans in a wide range of sectors.

Principal UX Designer | View profile

Mary has a varied background in delivering complex, data-rich systems using human-centred design principles and a deeply empathetic approach. She has a keen interest in working with multimodal interfaces, robotics, and AI, and particularly in leveraging these technologies for positive social impact.

Head of Human-Machine Understanding | View profile

Ali leads a team of specialists in AI, Psychology, Cognitive and Behavioural Sciences to create next generation systems that can truly understand and support users in dynamic, strenuous environments.

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