Artificial Affection


Ten years ago, the idea of speaking to a computer, holding a conversation with it and developing a friendship with it might have been laughed at.

Today, these advancements are made possible by the incredible innovation of technology geniuses. However, the idea of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a person having some kind of relationship is controversial. Both those for and against AI have legitimate arguments – and proponents of each are not shy about sharing their thoughts.

"I feel like A.I. isn't good because, for example, kids can now just have their essays written for them and they don't have to think much about what they are writing about because it's all written out for them; classic copy and paste," said senior Rebecca Bacon.

While the power and convenience of AI is worrisome, others like sophomore Gwen Williams, believe it to be necessary. "I believe that AI is a needed resource in our lives because it helps us create and work on many things in our lives," said Williams. "Since it helps so much, it needs to be prominent. I also think that AI should be helping us with what it can, which makes it good to be prominent in our lives."

AI is a new player on Snapchat, but Instagram is taking it one step further by having celebrities help create a computerized version of themselves. This is the step that tends to divide opinions.

"I think the idea of AI versions of real people is not a good idea," said Williams. "It takes the human out of the person, so it doesn't seem reasonable to create this AI version. You would no longer be following the celebrity; instead, you're following a fake version of him or her."

The idea of the replacement of another person by something that is not a person is often uncomfortable or disheartening, with the thought that the connection between real people might be lost to time.

I don't think AI relationships are good because they seem one-sided," said Bacon. "At some point, the relationship will go in circles and the same things will eventually get repeated."

According to Bacon, the important human connection would be lost and the relationship would be predictable in the worst way. One idea is that the AI is set only to make the human happy, but real relationships aren't happy all the time. They require conflict and disagreements to work; having a yes-man does nothing for growth.

There's also a chance that the AI-to-human connection has no real meaning. "Romantic relationships seem odd with an AI," said Williams. "Again, one is taking the huge aspect of human emotion when it comes to a romantic relationship. AI don't have complete human emotions, so one isn't getting someone who really loves them."

There is often a concern that AI will eventually surpass human conception and overtake humans as a species, leaving humans behind while AI continues advancing at a faster rate.

"I think AI, no matter how many years it takes to advance it, can only go as far as what the smartest person in the world knows," said Bacon. "My belief is that AI will never be smarter than humans because humans have to feed knowledge to the AI"

It is also possible that the idea of being overthrown is only a fantasy, because it can only go as far as humans allow it to. In that case, the human race may be fine later on down the road. "I think some of the capabilities are going in the right direction," said junior Christin Gregory, "but there are things that AI could do that I do not want to see, personally."

Story by Aria Glover