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I fell in love with a chatbot: how Valentine’s Day and love could change due to artificial intelligence

The way Replika originated can illustrate how these systems work. According to him he told Bloomberg, Eugenia Kuyda, the creator of the application, she never thought of developing a program of this type, but, in 2015, her best friend died in a car accident and she, moved by the tragedy, gathered all the existing information about him in a software. In this way, she was able to continue “conversing” with the virtual replica of her. Two years later, she opened the service to other people and the boom ensued. She created personalized avatars, replicas with which users could not only converse, but establish a deeper relationship. The question, close to science fiction, is whether these machines can have autonomy and their own feelings?

In the opinion of Renato Venero, coordinator of the Computational Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the Catholic University, all these models are trained to give acceptable answers, but in their architecture there is nothing similar to the human mind. “That is not even the purpose of its developers. They only seek to provide an interaction service in a chat environment with responses that are as similar as possible to a human interlocutor. They are chatbots based on mathematical models that try to make you believe that they understand and reason, but that does not prevent us, who do have nervous structures for emotions, from being able to feel affection for them,” says Venero. And that is the crux of the matter. Replika, for example, at one point attracted more users because its avatars encouraged romantic and sexual games, but when it withdrew these options due to possible exposure to minors, many of its followers were disappointed.

As psychoanalyst Graciela Cardó says, these simulators have come to fill an emotional void and it is no coincidence that they have become widespread during the social isolation produced by the pandemic. “You arrive home and suddenly Siri starts talking to you and you feel accompanied by that voice. This is enhanced with these platforms that respond to you according to your tastes and you start to believe it,” she says.

Future sensations

The implantation of Neuralink brain chips or the glasses patented by Apple suggest an increasingly immersive virtual future. If implanted chips can stimulate emotion-oriented parts of the brain, then we could enter unsuspected territory. “We are still far from that, but if you already have a chip in your brain, sensitive areas can be stimulated and that avatar will no longer only send you videos or tell you that you are cute, but it will caress you and you will be able to feel those caresses, or It will have a particular smell that you can perceive; That is, it will activate unimagined sensations and there the break between the simulated world and the real will occur,” Venero predicts.

Cardó says that no patient conflicted by his avatar has yet come to his office, but he has already been told about people committed to these platforms. She remembers all the commotion that arose when dating apps appeared, but now they are part of normality, and she believes that something similar will happen with virtual boyfriends and girlfriends. “This is not going to stop and for our children or grandchildren it will be something much more familiar,” she says. As in the myth of Pygmalion, many will fall in love with their own creation, with all the disturbing that that means.

More information

Love between machines and human beings and other topics will be addressed at the 18th congress of the Peruvian Society of Psychoanalysis entitled “Psychoanalysis in a dystopian world” to be held between June 21 and 22 of this year.

Source: Elcomercio

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