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Hume, a startup founded by Alan Cowen, has developed an AI model that can detect over 24 emotional expressions in a person’s voice and respond accordingly. The company has attracted over 1,000 developers and 1,000 companies including SoftBank and to use their API to build emotionally intelligent AI-based applications. Cowen believes that the future of AI interfaces will be voice-based and that capturing emotional cues is essential for effective communication.

The New York-based startup recently raised $50 million in a series B funding round led by Swedish investment firm EQT Ventures. The company also launched “Hume EVI,” a conversational voice API that can detect emotional nuances in audio and text and generate empathetic responses based on the user’s emotional state. While other AI models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus offer similar responses, Hume aims to differentiate itself by focusing on identifying underlying emotional expressions.

Hume’s technology is trained on data from over a million participants across 30 countries to learn cultural differences and be unbiased. The company uses a combination of in-house models and external LLMs to interpret emotional tone and generate responses quickly. Despite the advancements in emotional detection AI, interpreting complex emotional expressions through voice and text remains a challenge due to the subjective nature of emotions and various influencing factors.

Hume’s AI has been integrated into applications in various industries including health and wellness, customer service, and robotics. In the healthcare space, Hume’s models are being used to track mental health conditions like depression and borderline personality disorder for patients undergoing deep brain stimulation treatment. The AI provides valuable context on patients’ emotions that may not be easily detectable, providing insights for psychiatrists and researchers.

Hume’s AI has also been integrated into productivity chatbots like Dot, providing users with expanded context on their emotional state and offering support based on their current feelings. The AI can detect levels of stress or frustration in a person’s voice and offer suggestions to help them manage their workload. The company’s focus on emotional intelligence in AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with technology and support emotional well-being in various industries.

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