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Future 2020: Artificial Intelligence and Romance

What happens when you fall in love with artificial intelligence and what does it mean that these narratives focus on men needing perfect women to take care of them? Find out on today's episode about falling in love with AI, the future of romance and Gabe's rant about lousy protagonists. We watched Her and Zoe for our in-depth analysis. 


RED: Quotes, someone else's words.

Kat's Facts - What does it mean that people can fall in love with technology? Psychologically.

What is the scariest thing about AI?...In our apocalypse series we discussed a few different theories. We have a big fear that Tech will take us over, realize our inferiority and leave, or destroy us. I think there is a level to this that we’re leaving out. I think a very real fear we have is that we have been and will continue to grow to be even more dependent on AI, that we will not be able to function without it. If we think of this in a darwinistic way, the basic needs for survival are to feed ourselves(hunt, scavenge), protect ourselves(run, fight), shelter ourselves (build homes, security and stability) and procreate. AI has been integrated into most of these areas, making things innovative and taking the process itself out of our hands. AI is more efficient than us, faster than us, smarter than us. Arguably the only thing an AI cannot do... is love, right? Love is the most human thing, that is why we center almost all of our media around it. It’s the one thing we think AI won’t be able to touch. But, what if an AI could love...would they be better at that than us too? Or with that same lens, what if we no longer knew how to find love without the support of AI? Humans are rapidly becoming more and more dependent on AI that it’s very possible that the exit of it could make up lost all ability to fend for ourselves. AI helps us to locations without having to know how to read a map or use directional cues, AI turn our lights on/off, play shows and songs for us, organize our lives. With that, we also have the inclination towards anthropomorphizing non-human things.

Dr. Maciej Musial from the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznan, Poland has pointed out that people will soon fall into the arms of humanoid robots and artificial intelligence apps on our smartphones. The evidence of this can be found in the fact that people are already seen growing attached to their gadgets such as smartphones. The research further suggested that a new phenomenon becoming frequent is the underlying formation of emotional relationships between humans and artificial intelligence under different disguises.

When noted carefully, the attitude of human beings towards robots is linked to the mechanism which refers to people’s attitude towards other objects along with emotional attachment and animation. In other words, giving robots the characteristics of living beings. Studies exist that show how people form rudimentary binds with household appliances like automatic vacuums and more. It was observed that the owner of these simpleton robots would leave the house dirty or do the work by themselves if the robots seemed in a bad mood.

David Hanson, who created the famous lifelike Sophia Robot recently revealed that humans are only a few decades away from marrying droids. There is already the kind of robot in the world today that overcome the bridge of intimacy, which is required for a deep emotional partnership. The researcher suggests that humanoids will get the same rights as humans by the year 2045. This would include the right to own land, vote in general elections, and even marry.

Hanson also suggests that by the year 2035, robots will be able to accomplish almost everything that humans do. They might even start their own ‘Global Robotic Civil Rights Moments’ by 2038 and compel leaders to provide them with equal status in the human world.

Our technology, powered by Moore’s law, is growing at a staggering rate—intelligent devices are becoming more and more integrated into our lives. Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that we will have AI at a human level by 2029, and it will be a billion times more capable than humans by the 2040s. Many predict that one day we will merge with powerful machines, and we ourselves may become artificially intelligent.

Consider some experiments from my lab at Yale, where my colleagues and I have been exploring how such effects might play out. In one, we directed small groups of people to work with humanoid robots to lay railroad tracks in a virtual world. Each group consisted of three people and a little blue-and-white robot sitting around a square table, working on tablets. The robot was programmed to make occasional errors—and to acknowledge them: “Sorry, guys, I made the mistake this round,” it declared perkily. “I know it may be hard to believe, but robots make mistakes too.”

As it turned out, this clumsy, confessional robot helped the groups perform better—by improving communication among the humans. They became more relaxed and conversational, consoling group members who stumbled and laughing together more often. Compared with the control groups, whose robot made only bland statements, the groups with a confessional robot were better able to collaborate.



Gabe's Film Analysis - What do we see in the media about falling in love with AI?

Let’s talk about buying or making your love interest and what this means for the future of relationships, specifically women. Why do we have these stories featuring men in love with their perfect robot companions?

In these narratives, what we are finding are generally men who cannot find validation elsewhere in their lives. There’s this archaic expectation that women are to fix their partners and these stories pick up after the protagonist’s woman has stopped trying to fix them. So what we find is that our heroes are found in a depressive, lost state that drives them to desperation making this “new” being all the more interesting and uplifting for them. For these two specific protagonists we have similar stories being told in that they are clearly lost and broken men who just can’t get their lives together.