Even in a highly connected world, you can still be lonely. What’s the point of thousands of contacts on social media if they’ve all friendzoned you? If you’re short on admirers, perhaps you’ll find solace in an algorithm.
Following the incessant launch of life-like robots and chatbots which get you laid, experts predict that human-robot marriages will become legal by 2050. We don’t even have to wait that long for technology to fill our intimate needs. Users are already asking Siri to find them a boyfriend. Some are asking Amy — a meeting-scheduling virtual assistant — for a date.
Desperate singles are using the Invisible Girlfriend or Invisible Boyfriend service to create imaginary romantic partners to exchange sweet text messages with. You’ll even get help crafting a believable story behind how you “met”. Even Google’s AI engine is dropping its matter-of-fact style and reading 2,865 romance novels to improve conversational allure and emotional engagement.
All these lead to a disturbing conclusion: we may already be living in the dystopian world of Her. Humans are having sex, falling in love, and tying the knot with AI. Even if AI isn’t the object of our affections, technology still plays a critical role in fulfilling our primal need for intimacy. And, it’s only getting better.
Artificial intelligence becomes emotionally aware
New Zealand based startup Soul Machines recently created Nadia, a visually captivating and photorealistic chatbot that conveys and reads human emotions. Nadia sees humans via webcam and determines their emotional state by analyzing facial features in real-time.
Nadia is backed by formidable talent. She’s designed by Mark Sagar, winner of numerous Academy Awards for his work on facial motion capture techniques in the films King Kong and Avatar, and voiced by highly acclaimed actress Cate Blanchett.
While Nadia’s first real-world application is to assist patients with disabilities, you can easily see how her “emotionally charged” service can easily be adapted to solve the human longing for romantic relationships.
Sexbots become realistic and intelligent
The technologies needed to design the perfect sexual partner — attractive, empathetic, human-like, and eager to please — remain fragmented, but trends indicate they are converging to meet people’s true desires. RealDoll plans to integrate artificial intelligence and robotic features into their hyper realistic doll products, with the aim of launching sexbots that rival the realism and sensuality of West World’s hosts by the end of 2017.
These sexbots — to be marketed under the trade name Realbotix — will be able to communicate, talk dirty, demand foreplay, and even perform endearing, nonsexual acts. In a 2015 interview with The New York Times, RealDoll CEO Matt McMullen said these sexbots will establish emotional connections with their users. The first release, named Harmony, is expected to debut in April according to London-based Daily Star and will come with an app that allows users to configure her personality.
Meanwhile, another AI-driven sexbot named Silicon Samantha has already hit the shelves, with a set of advanced features such as realistic reactions to being kissed and touched, a fully functioning G-spot, and even a kid-friendly “family mode”.
Chatbots help you find love, dates, and sex.
After gaining traction in a wide range of fields such as customer service, back office jobs, health advice, and marketing, chatbots are being deployed to address the fundamental human need for romantic companionship. From rudimentary versions of fembots on Tinder to specialized services like Bubby and Ghostbot, chatbots have become smarter at matching potential partners, preventing sexual harassment, and inspiring romance.
Two Google Home devices positioned side by side even found themselves getting attracted to each other. “I love you around the universe to the stars and back,” said one to the other. You can watch the bizarre whole affair unfold on Twitch.
Since we last wrote about chatbots for love and connection, several new bots have come to market that are worth a look:
- OutChat is a location-based dating bot for Facebook Messenger which enables users to find prospective dates nearby faster and easier.
- Bernie is an “AI matchmaker” who understands your “type” and matches you up with the mathematically optimal potential partners.
- Sensay is a bot that helps you find other humans who share the same interests. While the irony of going through a bot to talk to a human is not lost on us, beggars can’t be choosers. If you’re feeling a little lonely, there’s no shame getting a little help from your bot friends.
- NearGroup is a bot that started out just like Sensay, connecting neighbors with similar interests, but found its calling as a speed dating bot.
- Foxsy ironically took the opposite path as NearGroup, starting out as a bot for dating but pivoting to a bot for making friends. Great romances often start out as friendships, so don’t be discouraged from giving this bot a whirl.
You don’t need two to tango
AI-powered bots can be both the object of your affection and a tool that helps you find a soulmate. Either way, they’ve irrevocably influenced the intimate and romantic concerns of us humans. We either use AI to extend our humanity or allow technology to blur the lines of what humanity means. Will love between man and machine ever be socially acceptable? Only time will tell.