As COVID-19 continues to ramp up our use of virtual communications, it is making us even more aware of how much gets lost in technological translation.

The inherent absence of body language, vocal intonations, facial expressions and context when communicating through digital devices creates blind spots both for businesses trying to understand customers and people trying to build personal relationships.

Fortunately, Emotion AI technology pioneer Rana el Kaliouby, PhD is bridging those longtime gaps by teaching AI how to detect and respond to emotions. Her award-winning technology is rapidly transforming the way businesses and people connect.

Today, as CEO and co-founder of Affectiva, an MIT spinoff that is credited with creating the new technology category of Emotion AI, el Kaliouby  and her team work with companies across sectors to improve customer experiences and products, opening up a whole new realm of possibilities. Leading companies in the automotive industry use Affectiva’s technology to improve road safety and deliver more personalized transportation experiences. In addition, 25 percent of the Fortune Global 500 companies use this technology to test consumer engagements with ads, videos and TV programming. It is also used in healthcare, education, social robotics, conversational interfaces and more.

“There are so many ways our technology will dramatically improve lives, including helping heath care providers deliver better care, personalizing student learning experiences, and increasing road safety with ‘emotionally aware’ vehicles,” says el Kaliouby. “It also promises to forever change the rules of consumer engagement by providing real-time insight into viewers’ emotional responses to brands, ads and other digital content.”

In her new book, “Girl Decoded,” which releases April 21 (Penguin Random House), el Kaliouby recounts her nontraditional journey from Egypt as a young Muslim wife, to the UK to study computer science at Cambridge University. It was at Cambridge where she had her “a-ha” moment after growing frustrated with the emptiness that came with communicating through phones and computers. Wishing that devices could decipher and respond to feelings and actions, el Kaliouby set out to make that fantasy a reality — and she succeeded.

Join el Kaliouby on her virtual book tour which livestreams on LinkedIn and Facebook each week on Wednesdays at 12pm ET. To pre-order “Girl Decoded,” go to www.ranaelkaliouby.com/girldecoded.