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Yesterday, I was scheduled to take a flight back to Toronto and it was canceled. The email to about the cancellation was only sent about two hours before the scheduled flight, which wouldn’t have left enough time to reschedule on an earlier flight.

However, I received a call from the Air Canada concierge 45 minutes before who asked if I could make it to an earlier flight. It worked out — despite arriving at ORD 20 minutes before the new flight’s departure time and being randomly selected for additional screening. The concierge had the tickets printed out, allowing us to by-pass the line. Pre-check had no wait and the gate was very close.

In looking back at what happened and why things worked out, it was that the service that was offered was considerate. Right now, what differentiates us from AI is that we have the ability to empathize with others’ situations and make suggestions that we’d want to consider if we were in similar situations.

Empathy is trainable. Just as we can develop emotional intelligence through practice, so can we teach our AIs to be more considerate and ultimately, kinder. This is really what we need to make the world better.

Thanks Air Canada (in this situation) and Boris — the concierge in Chicago — for teaching this.

Independent daily thoughts on all things future, voice technologies and AI. More at

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