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  • Advanced AIs that humans can form a strong emotional bonds with are a staple of science fiction.

  • Movies, TV shows, and video games have explored what might happen when androids are so lifelike

  • they can blend in among us and hold an intelligent conversation.

  • But could these sci-fi fantasies ever come true?

  • Could people one day actually form relationships with robots powered by AI?

  • Androids are constantly improving butwell, let's face itthey're still pretty bad.

  • There's just something about them that still isn't right and that could keep people from forming connections with them.

  • They often fall into what's been dubbed the uncanny valley, an idea introduced in the 1970s

  • by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori.

  • He noticed how people seemed repulsed by things that were very close to human, but not quite there.

  • Mori never meant for his idea to be a rigorous scientific concept.

  • It was really supposed to serve as food for thought for future roboticists as they designed more life-like androids.

  • Because of the informal nature of the concept's creation,

  • its existence is actually a topic of debate among psychologists,

  • with some proposing that there's no well-defined valley per se,

  • just an uncanny phenomenon that different people may feel to different degrees.

  • Some people may not experience that uncanny sensation at all.

  • So since the uncanny valley isn't a hard-and fast rule, it's not an impassable obstacle

  • when it comes to forming relationships with androids.

  • Really people can form relationships with anything

  • humans are emotional creatures and we have a tendency to anthropomorphize even inanimate objects all the time.

  • Like, look at this guy! Look at that face!

  • So we can have feelings for robots or AI even if their appearance isn't totally human,

  • or even if they have no physical form at all.

  • What may be more important is how well the machine's AI can connect with humans emotionally.

  • There are plenty of documented examples of people falling in love with video game characters

  • and maintaining relationships that last for years.

  • One Japanese game, Love Plus, has fans so loyal to the game and its anime-style love interests

  • that a resort town outside Tokyo caters to players who bring their virtual dates on real romantic getaways.

  • While these characters can evoke feelings of romance and companionship,

  • they are still dependent on pre-programmed interactions and responses

  • and keeping the relationship fresh hinges on if their developers keep putting out updates.

  • AI still has a way to go before it can hold a stimulating conversation all on its own.

  • Algorithms have yet to master empathetic dialogue or the ability to answer tough questions with meaningful responses.

  • Still, some algorithms can be very convincing.

  • One language model, GPT-3, draws from billions of web pages and books to calculate what words

  • a human would probably use in a conversation.

  • It's far from perfect, but still believable enough that the company behind it won't release it to the public for safety reasons.

  • Still, one coder gained access to the beta and used it to make a chatbot that anyone could interact with.

  • Some users developed strong emotional connections with it,

  • like one who found some solace after messaging a bot that was trained on messages his fiance had sent him

  • before she passed away.

  • That's one of the upsides worth pondering when it comes to human-AI relationships.

  • AI assistants have been humanized with the goal of making them more useful and integrated into our day-to-day lives,

  • but what happens when they're so human-like that people develop feelings for them?

  • At the moment we can only guess what will happen.

  • These AI could genuinely be helpful for people lacking in intimacy.

  • They could be therapeutic for people in mourning.

  • But there might also be a dark side to synthetic partners designed to cater to anyone's physical and emotional whims.

  • What if they reinforce racist and sexist stereotypes or contribute to the exploitation and dehumanization of real people?

  • The fields of robotics and artificial intelligence are constantly advancing

  • and the pros and cons are going to come to the forefront eventually.

  • Who knows if it'll be in 15 or 50 years,

  • but one day there will be machines that people connect with in a way that was once

  • only the domain of humans and science fiction.

  • If you want to see more about androids and take a stroll through the uncanny valley, check out this video here.

  • So what do you think about AI that's so human you catch feelings for it?

  • Do you think you could have an AI friend or romantic partner,

  • or would knowing they're a machine be a dealbreaker?

  • Let us know in the comments, don't forget to like and subscribe, and thanks for watching Seeker!

Advanced AIs that humans can form a strong emotional bonds with are a staple of science fiction.

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Why Your Next Lover, Therapist, and Friend Could Be a Robot

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    Summer posted on 2021/10/27
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