AI, CitizenMe and You – Part 7: Can it feel?

AI, CitizenMe and You – Part 7: Can it feel? 800 600 StJohn Deakins

AI can identify emotions, but it can’t comprehend or ‘feel’ them. Similar to a Sesame Street puppet (or a psychopath) AI may appear to relate to us but it has no powers of empathy or sympathy. Emotional traits may seem to be very real but they are programmed by other humans behind the scenes – with all their human quirks and biases.

Bert & Earnie – Sesame Street

By its nature, AI has no sense of humanity. Therefore, AI is not able to make ethical decisions unless it’s pre-programmed to do so by humans (who can).

Developing these strong, flexible, ethical frameworks for AI development (and the handling of the personal data that fuels it) will have a profound and critical impact on the way our digital era unfolds.

Data Ethics & Regulation

Data and AI regulation is still in its very early stages. There are currently three directions of travel. In the worlds largest consumer market, The United States, the attitude so far has been to ‘let the markets decide’. In the European Union, the consensus is to create new regulations to protect citizens. In China there’s a desire to use personal data and AI tools rapidly accelerate economic development, and there is also a desire to use it to reinforce desired behaviour among citizens. As for the rest of the world, digital citizens live in societies with a mixture of these approaches, or none at all.

In the Industrial Age, western societies took over 100 years to develop the rules to balance industrial progress with the protection of the humans enabling and benefiting from that progress. And they’re still a work in progress in most countries. Our new digital era is moving far faster. We have decades – at most – to get this right.

CitizenMe is involved in a number of initiatives working toward ethical data and AI. It forms the underpinning of what we do, for all digital Citizens.


In this series of 7 blog posts, we explain what Artificial Intelligence does, why it’s so useful for us all, what we’re doing at CitizenMe – and what this means for you.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contacts us:


StJohn Deakins

StJohn founded CitizenMe with the aim to take on the biggest challenge in the Information Age: helping digital citizens gain control of their digital identity. Personal data has meaning and value to everyone, but there is an absence of digital tools to help people realise its value. With CitizenMe, StJohn aims to fix that. With a depth of experience digitising and mobilising businesses, StJohn aims for positive change in the personal information economy. Oh… and he loves liquorice.

All stories by: StJohn Deakins

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