Are you friends with your smart assistant? | The Tylt
Are you friends with your smart assistant?
Smart assistants and AI will only improve with time, which means certain systems will get to know you better over the years. The Atlantic's Henry A. Kissinger, Eric Schmidt and Daniel Huttenlocher explain:
The more data AI gathers and analyzes, the more precise it becomes, so devices such as these will learn their owners’ preferences and take them into account in shaping their answers. And as they get “smarter,” they will become more intimate companions.
With this in mind, it's not hard to imagine a smart assistant becoming a sort of pseudo-companion. As Forbes' Joseph Coughlin writes, Alexa in particular seems to be omnipresent, if not soon omniscient. What could be better than a friend who is with you at home, in your car and in your headphones? Smart assistants are almost ready-made to be our most reliable of companions. Why wouldn't you want to strike up a conversation with them?
But Kissinger, Schmidt and Huttenlocher continue their analysis of AI and its role in our lives. They give readers a warning about building intimacy with artificial systems. Per the Atlantic:
...AI could induce humans to feel toward it emotions it is incapable of reciprocating.
The authors paint a stark picture:
...it is possible that in many parts of the world, from early childhood onward the primary sources of interaction and knowledge will be not parents, family members, friends, or teachers, but rather digital companions, whose constantly available interaction will yield both a learning bonanza and a privacy challenge.
The more we lean on AI to fulfill our need for companionship, the more empty we will feel.