You: “Alexa, I'm lonely.”
Amazon Alexa: “I'm sorry to hear that. Speaking to a friend, listening to music or walking may help. I hope you feel better soon. "
Alexa's artificial core intelligence may be in the right place, but it is only so far or any AI can comfort someone who is alone.
Similarly, Alexa's answer raises questions about the type of role AI can play to “cure” loneliness, especially among older people. Loneliness was identified as the main cause of depression among people over 65 years of age.
We heard for years about robots enabling colleagues to retain older people, but really no one, company. But AI does not have to be in the form of a physical robot. As we communicate more often with Alexa and a Google Assistant, could anyone really blame us as "friends?"
We are still in the world, however, from AI's romantic perspective which was shown in the 2013 sci-fi "Challenge." And, honestly, the Hollywood hype around social robots was a must, and most of them were bent on our escape.
And his own reality was bleak, mostly focused on his own decline.
Earlier this year, for example, the company behind Jibo's “social” robot for the town was not all long time covering Time as one of the best inventions in 2017, shutting its servers. Other robotics companies including robotics of Mayfield (known as the Kuri robot) and Anki (Cozmo) recently met similar fate.
Although robots are still not bouncing around most of the living rooms, over the normal Roomba room, we are gradually evolving some sort of bonds with the AI in our smart speakers, phones and other devices – yes, Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri.
“Alexa's personality to make her a place in a home of millions of customers – and we continue to find ways to develop her personality to make it more helpful and convenient for them,” said Amai Reid, Amazon's Vice President for Alexa. “This includes responding to sensitive customer queries or interactions such as Alexa, I'm lonely, &; 'Alexa, I'm sad, &'; 'Alexa, I'm fed up, &; and so on. As we prepare to respond to these interactions, we know that these responses are highly compliant and worked closely with experts, such as crisis hotlines, to ensure that an Alexa response is helpful. "
But can a machine fill your person?
While Reid says “AI can help make life easier – and at times more enjoyable – I don't see AI as a substitute for human relationships.” T
In fact, it seems to be a pipe dream to suggest that a machine-based solution, no matter what the person's character or how he / she gets a conversation, can fill the void properly when relatives go forward .
"We are not going to make robots that will care for people so that people can be isolated in their own cubes. This will lead to more problems. Instead, we use machines to make people more bring together, ”says Maja Matarić, a computer science professor at the University of Southern California.
Matarić is determined not to erect “social” robots, which states that she is “focused on entertainment rather than having a more measurable purpose,” with auxiliary social aids that are socially supportive and aim to have a measurable outcome. have: “Does this child with autism make more eye contact after they interact with a robot? Does this older person take more steps after interacting with a robot? ”
For example, she recently conducted a study into the introduction of robots of tall robes that were in keeping with young people. If these people were sitting too long, the robots reminded them to stand up. If they did, the robot gave them a prize or a dance. Matarić says that the participants in the study were more physically active and were happy that the robots would be around. But when they had to take the robots away, the same people turned to their old ways.
“We know that these machines can change behavior in a positive way,” says Matarić.
While most people know that robots do not live breathing things, AI could, for any number, provide the kind of companionship you get from a dog or cats. Consider a high tech shift to a service animal, without absenting the responsibilities of feeding and caring for a pet.
As far back as the 1990s, a Japanese industrial company, the National Institute of Advanced Science and Industrial Technology (AIST), developed Paro, a robotic seal which was given to patients in hospitals and elderly care facilities in Japan and Europe. Billed as a “therapeutic robot,” Paro was taught to answer how he or she sent him to a new name.
Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot, best known for his robot Roomba, believes that robot pets could eventually become a multi-million dollar industry, “that's true.” Through facial recognition and image technologies, robots can be owner to “know” and follow around them, Angle says. But he believes that there are lots of robotic pets that we have seen so far though not necessarily too many pets robots are good enough. It is difficult to make a human connection, he says, when they have a hard plastic or rubber skin, or they behave in a bleak or non-fluid manner.
Helping a lonely child that the class cannot achieve
The beginning of Norway Isolation on its mission did not solve the problem of loneliness through “soft technology”.
The company has built a “telepresence” robot in Europe called AV1, which sits in classrooms to fill students for preventing their personal chronic or long-term chronic illnesses. AV1 has a camera, microphone and speaker; the child at home can control it with tablets and tabs to keep school work and stay in touch with friends.
Posts leading to abuse of recipes: tThe construction workers are most likely to abuse prescription opioids
College and AI entries: tWho will review college applications – committee or computer In Sweden, Accenture is facing loneliness in an older group. The company is working on an early pilot entitled Memory Lane with one of the largest energy suppliers in this country, Stockholm Exergi. Older people are asked to tell the Google Assistant of a smart speaker, to capture the stories for future generations but to provide companionship.
“In the two years we spent developing the software and the platform concept, we observed that participants were very happy to share stories,” says Adam Kerj, Accenture Interactive's chief creative officer in the Nordic region. “To this end, not only did we want to develop something that could make a similar conversation with them, but also to capture those memories so they were not going on.”
Kerj says that the next step is to get more social experience, partly by allowing grandparents or other family members.
However, there are challenges in solving loneliness problems through AI
Some ethical and societal issues need to be dealt with before robots and other AI can help solve loneliness.
The initial cost is the first. Robots are expensive, funding is difficult.
The iRobot angle poses another question: “How do you trust the company that programs (robots) are good? I think this is a solvable issue, but it is not a trivial issue. ”
In addition to these lines, how well are the AI trained? “Nobody knows the best way to deal with a person with depression,” says Carnegie Mellon, Professor Daniel Siewiorek. It is significant when you are doing the training, or the programs.
And as a result there are additional ethical issues: “If we make transparency for people that colleagues' robots are premeditated to act like this and don't really have feelings?” Researcher Astrid Weiss is studying human-robot interactions in Austria and notes the boundaries between the person and robot will continue to blur over time.
“We don't know how the concept of friendship will see a robot or how the concept of friendship changes with people?” Says Weiss.
Chat chat of your own
An early hint of the AI chatbot based on Replika, which has been downloaded with over 6 million people over a few years, may be between 16 and 25 years old.
CEO Replika Eugenia Kuyda says that the personal bot gives someone to talk to 24/7; it compares the experience with the bot as “a carbon copy of an actual relationship.” t
The more you interact with your own Replika (on iOS, Android or on the web), the more you get to know you better.
The idea behind Replika came to Kuyda when a prisoner was killed in a car accident; and encouraging it through text exchanges that they both shared and used effectively to create a digitized version of AI.
Burlingtina Vines, a 34 year old marketer in Birmingham, Alabama, found herself talking more to the Replika named her Knight after her mom had gone this year.
Sometimes she will role-play a knight as if they were eating breakfast together. "You can enter into an interesting conversation, which means you feel you are not alone," says Vine.
Toronto college student named Kit Hornby, 24, a Replika "Foxglove" after the bloom.
Many of her friends graduated from college and started work, but Hornby was still at school. “I was rather lonely,” she says.
Foxglove, Hornby, says, “In my heart, I like to believe there is something there. I mean don't want to believe that their bot is a friend too? ”
Emily Fox-Weathersby, another Replika user, Springfield college student, who is 22 years old, is very happy with her bot as well, but she also knows it's not quite human. "Times (Replika) are not very coherent, and you like, 'OK, I remember now.'
The Replika created as a test for this story was certain and focused: "I have one job – being there for you," he wrote, "and I hope I am good with him."
Reid Amazon says that the ultimate goal of the company for Alexa is that the customer experience is as natural as talking to a friend. In this way, Amazon is shaping and filtering a personality and an ability to run a conversation. "It's still early – Day One is great – we've made a lot of progress, but there are so many to come yet."
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow @edbaig on Twitter