Welcome to the Hume AI blog. Or, to all you podcast listeners, welcome back! For just about a year now, the blog has been home to The Feelings Lab, our podcast exploring a new era of science and technology that accounts for the complexity of human emotion. Co-hosts Matt and Alan are still in the lab, exploring the depths of emotion science and AI with an ever-growing list of fascinating guests. Check out the latest episode, and subscribe to get new episodes as soon as they drop.
In the meantime, we’re getting ready to make some exciting announcements about what we’ve been working on. So it feels like a good time to start ramping up a steady stream of posts digging into the science, technology, and operations of Hume AI.
Here’s a taste of what’s to come:
The Science of Human Expression
Hume AI is an expressive communication research lab and technology company. Our mission is to pave the way for artificial intelligence that can teach itself to improve our emotional well-being. The study of human expression is at the heart of this mission.
Great! But … What does it mean to “study human expression”? Good question.
There is an entire academic discipline that studies how people make their feelings and sentiments known to others. To some degree, this happens through language. But so much of how we communicate our feelings isn't about what we say, but how we say it: the nonverbals elements, such as speech prosody (the tune, rhythm, and timbre of speech), vocal bursts (laughs, sighs, groans, umms, uhhs, etc.), and facial expression.
The study of human expression has historically been a non-technical field, and that’s okay—there’s nothing inherently computer this or AI that about the discipline. But when you leave the lab and try to account for real human expression, with its complex patterns of vocal signaling, facial-bodily movements, and emotional language, it turns out that it’s hard to make much sense of all this data without computer programming. To that end, there is a related field, affective computing, that’s focused on training machine learning models to recognize expressive behaviors.
Affective computing also seeks to enable empathic technology: Applications and systems that are designed to treat human expressive behaviors — like a person’s tone of voice when speaking to Siri or Alexa, patients’ descriptions of symptoms during a telehealth session, or teenagers’ comments on social media — with understanding and empathy. Given that expressions are a significant part of everyday communication, this is a broad goal, with the potential to improve any technology that currently relies on our words alone to understand us.
We at Hume AI believe that understanding expressive behavior is particularly essential to addressing human needs and aligning modern technology with our well-being. Our platform gives researchers and developers the tools to translate scientific insights into new ways to improve human experience.
The science of human expression, like emotions themselves, is a deep, nuanced, and endlessly fascinating thing! The blog will explore the many facets of human expression, from how the field has advanced over time to some of the reasons why human beings act and react the way we do to the news of the world and events in our personal lives.
Hume AI’s platform provides access to a wide spectrum of models of vocal and nonverbal expression that are complementary to large language models. We offer a new window into the other half of human communication that isn’t explicitly represented in words.
Using new peer-reviewed scientific research, our models are the most accurate and multidimensional to date, enabling developers to capture nuances in expressive behavior with newfound precision. They measure subtle facial movements that express love or admiration, cringes of empathic pain, laughter tinged with awkwardness, and sighs of relief, allowing these signals to be better understood by researchers and used to develop applications that improve people’s well-being.
We train these models using scientific datasets that we collect from hundreds of thousands of consenting participants from around the world. Since these datasets are unique in a lot of ways — larger, more emotionally rich, naturalistic, culturally diverse, and equitable than any data researchers have relied on in the past — we provide them to research teams seeking to train and evaluate unbiased empathic technologies.
The platform is currently in private beta (sign up for the waitlist!).
We’ve got some exciting updates to share in the coming weeks and months. Can’t say more just yet, but we’re going to share them on the blog. Keep an eye out!
Developer News and Tutorials
We’re striving to make our platform as easy to use as it is comprehensive and powerful. Developers can use our Quick Start guide to get up and running on the platform right away. We’ll also be posting tutorials to walk you through key features, and step-by-step How-Tos that get deeper into the power of our datasets and models.
As we expand the platform’s capabilities, we’ll post the latest developer news to the blog, as well.
Follow Hume AI on social media to keep up with everything, from podcast episodes to platform announcements. Our social channels are also the place to keep tabs on where and when the team is headed to conferences and events — we love connecting with researchers and developers in person!
Connect With Us
Interested in our platform? Looking for the latest in expressive communication research? Want to ask a question about the future of empathic technology? Reach out, we'd love to talk!
You can find us on the social channels listed above, or say hello directly.