Today we can trace a funny phenomenon called the “Coolidge effect”: we secrete dopamine when a person who is deemed attractive looks us in the eye. So we have defined “types” of people who cause the rush of hormones in us, and this can be read on our face, if we know what to look at and if we have a lot of data analyzed. Neural networks not only offer us the best eco-friendly gift ideas during Google search. They have stepped further. In other words, a useful AI can identify the physical traits that we consider attractive in others, and an even more efficient AI can read the facial reaction to the sight of a person and determine if it attracts us.
The AI in dating is already there
This is how the Badoo company specializes in dating, It has acquired a facial recognition AI capable of proposing potential partners based on the celebrities that we find attractive. Another, more innovative company, Heystax, will observe your own facial micro-reactions during video speed dating sessions. These little details give out your deep emotions to confirm your first impressions.
What is more, an AI can determine your sexual orientation based on a photo. Yilun Wang and Michael Kosinski used 35,000 images of the faces of men and women publicly available on American dating sites and, using an algorithm, correctly identified the sexual orientation of people 81% of the time on the Internet. Based on a single photo. Analyzing five photos of the same person increases the accuracy to 91%, while a human is correct only 61% of the cases.
In another style, the late Bernie AI proposed to let an artificial intelligence manage all the beginnings of the meeting, from the selection phase to the first messages. Available on several dating services but acting mainly on Tinder, it offered to select the profiles that suit you and send the ice breakers as if it were you. Tinder obviously did not really appreciate this business model because the swiping method has been a hit that has transformed into a kind of addictions for many users. It would be a pity for them to lose this opportunity.
For those who, despite all these tools, cannot find the right pair, not everything is that bad now. The Replika and Woebot apps are dedicated to improving your mental health by providing a virtual chat companion, teach you to communicate, develop social skills, and scan your mental state. For those who have seen the movie Her, this is a first step towards the reality where AI companions will be a usual thing. A little tip, when they ask you for your name, enter “my dude” and this will make the conversation look super chill. Alexa, Google Home, and Siri may pass this step and become life assistants who will know us better than anyone.
In a way, the only thing that artificial intelligence cannot do is hold your hand. However, this will not be long until this threshold is passed. Kirobo, a small robot created by Tomotaka Takahashi in collaboration with the University of Tokyo, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Toyota, was launched into space to keep an astronaut company, like Hal 3000 in “2001 l ‘Space Odyssey” by Stanley Kubrick.
The word Kirobo is a blend word made up of “kibō” (希望), meaning “hope” and “Robo” used for all robots. The University of Tokyo, with the help of Robo Garage, took care of the hardware, while Toyota created the voice recognition function and Dentsu took care of generating the conversation content. Specially designed for a zero-G environment, he accompanied Commander Wakata on numerous expeditions, assisted by his “cousin” Mirata, another robot of the same type acting as ground contact. Its purpose is to see how humans can interact with robots and how much it is possible to delegate tasks to them during missions. Their goodbye was as heartbreaking as that of two humans.
Love with a robot?
So could we take the plunge and outright bond with a humanoid robot to the point of having a form of a romantic relationship? Not so sure. Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori published a theory in 1970 called “Uncanny valley”, which could be translated as “The strange valley“. Uncanny is the English translation of the Freudian term of unheimlich. This “valley” corresponds to the area of discomfort felt when an individual is faced with a humanoid, including robots. The more a robot resembles a human being, the more monstrous its imperfections appear to us. It seems that we are more comfortable with a robot that looks like the image we have of a robot, rather than a robot close to a human (with hair, skin, clothes). However, we could go beyond this stage, and leave the valley, if the robots reach an extreme degree of realism.