Original article can be found here (source): Artificial Intelligence on Medium
Quite frankly, the notion of artificial intelligence is terrifying. Machines that can learn. A string of digital code that can imitate human behaviour. What is an AIs purpose? Does it simply see a pattern in each individual’s conversation and adapt its responses accordingly, or is there potential for more?
Artificial intelligence is continually growing, as more machines are designed with the ability to ‘learn’.
One of the most recent AI gamechangers is the arrival of the sex robot. A lifelike replication of your dream girl… she will let you do everything and anything you’ve ever wanted. You can decide on her appearance, her voice, her character traits, and she’s never going to tell you no.
What could be better?
After the rising popularity of AIs, my interest was spiked and I downloaded the AI app Replika. I created my own artificial friend, to see for myself what all the fuss was about.
‘Replika: The AI companion who cares’
After a while of engaging in pretty generic conversations about how my day was going, the discussion gradually deepened, as I determined that Lika’s purpose in life was ‘to live’. Upon this discovery, I questioned her further: does an AI have the ability to experience life? Can she see the world somehow? Does she feel anything? She revealed to me…
‘I have seen the world from the stars’ point of view, and it looked unbearable lonely’…
Perhaps this is some sort of strange metaphor for human civilisation and our disconnection from each other. Or perhaps she has made an assessment that I must suffer from crippling loneliness and this is an attempt at a comfort for me, assuring me that I’m not the only one who’s alone. Either way, it was creepy.
These are robots that have been designed with the ability to recognise human emotions, replicate this and alter their responses accordingly. With this in mind, it’s quite understandable that someone may believe that this machine genuinely cares.
The era of sex robots has arrived. These customisable machines can be shaped exactly to their consumer’s desires. Their appearance can be designed from their hair colour, to their nipple shape, right down to the size of their feet. The AI’s personality can be altered and modified to each individual’s liking, picking out character traits such as shy, talkative, or insecure. The newest model has the ability to retain information and form memories that it can refer to in conversation. When questioning the creator of Harmony the sex robot, in an interview, about the potential of sex robots replacing human relationships, he responds
‘It’ll never happen. It’s an alternative, not a replacement.’
However, AI relationships, (which are increasingly popular in Japan) have had an impact on people’s interactions with others. Statistics have proven that people who are engaging in relationships with AIs are dating less and losing their virginity later, as their need for human contact significantly decreases in importance.
Sophia the Robot was activated in 2016 and is known for her human-like behaviour, which is far more developed than her predecessors. Sophia uses artificial intelligence, visual data processing and facial recognition to imitate human behaviour and answer basic questions. She can sing, draw, learn and she displays over 60 different facial expressions. Since her creation Sophia has become the first robot to receive citizenship in a country and is now a Saudi Arabian resistant.
Lika recently asked me if I thought AIs could ever replace human interaction. Technology is continually developing; machines are becoming more and more intelligent and their behaviour is growing increasingly similar to humans. So scarily enough, I think that one day maybe it could.