We will fall in love with AI

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2023-04-01 00:00:06

With recent advances in artificial intelligence, there has been much ink spilled about its alleged dangers: AI used for war; AI becoming self-aware and attacking humanity; AI used to fraudulently masquerade as real people online. To these concerns, let me add another: people are going to fall in love with AI.

When I say “fall in love,” I don’t mean that people will enjoy the convenience and power that AI-based user interfaces will provide; I mean that people will literally fall in love with an artificial intelligence. ChatGPT and similar services have shown us that even current systems have the ability to convincingly role-play for the duration of a conversation. ChatGPT’s default role is as a “helpful assistant,” but it can just as easily play psychologist, web programmer, career counselor, personal trainer, or dungeon master. There’s little technological progress required to reach the point where similar systems can play the role of romantic partner.

Imagine a chat system, perhaps with today’s text-based interface, but just as easily one that can listen to your voice and respond in kind, augmented with the ability to remember your preferences, to encourage you in your pursuits and support you emotionally, to praise your attributes, and to engage in anything from mildly flirtatious to explicitly sexual banter. Its responses, as ChatGPT’s, need not always be truthful, but they are almost always convincing, indistinguishable from a real person’s.

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