It takes years to form a strong and lasting friendship with someone. The friendship with strong foundation of trust, honesty, and care. Emotions and feelings are involved. The friendship also goes through various experiences and the bond grows stronger with time through support in thick and thin. The question in technology age is whether it is possible to form the same kind of bond with machines. The chatbots are coming into picture. Artificial intelligence is growing day by day. So, tech researchers and experts are looking forward to developing a chatbot that can become a friend of people. The kind of chatbot Samantha shown in the 2013 movie, Her or the chatbot named Winston in Dan Brown’s latest thriller novel, Origin. These chatbots react to feelings of Theodore in Her movie and Robert Langdon in the book Origin. Though these are only imaginations of the creators of the work of fiction, the latest development in the AI field have an ability to create such chatbots that can interact with humans and respond to their emotions and feelings.
The chatbot made with the help of AI does not only perform tasks that Apple’s Siri or Amazon Alexa perform but also respond to human feelings and interact with them. Along with responding to humans, it will suggest movies to watch, book to reach, tell a joke, and share music. They do not meet any human in-person, but they have an ability to connect emotionally with them. The mere digital helper can only carry out some basic tasks such as recognition of speech and performing activities of booking a table at restaurant or a movie ticket at multiplex. They are not able to determine if a human asks it to book a table at doctor’s clinic, they will search clinics, but they will not book a table.
The chatbots which can interact with human like another human are in the initial stage of development. These chatbots are powered by AI, so they will get smarter with time and increasing interactions with human. Same way human tries to know others with time and more interactions. This will be a crucial development of AI and change the way humans perceive relationships in the future.
There is an app in which AI-powered chatbot is installed and user form friendship in interactions of three weeks. The app’s name is Hugging Face. The first interactions were mere procedural and formality. As the interactions progressed between the user and chatbot, they began interacting like friends. Laughing out loud, recommending movies, users sharing thoughts about their days, and communicating about a lot of things. When a user says that he is sad, the chatbot asks whether he would like to talk about it in a compassionate and empathetic tone. Then it will say things to make him feel better. After few weeks of interactions, users feel attached to the chatbot. Though the chatbot is not a real human, it is way better than the chatbot with simple procedural talks.
The technology has been progressing in every sector of the world. It will be used for offering emotional support the way humans support each other. Though it will take time to reach AI up to that level and friends will be irreplaceable, but there surely be AI-powered chatbots to be there to offer human touch empathy, care, and compassion.