The Rise of AI-Agent Companions
If you think about what the hell I am going to write about, you are right it is considered a bit controversial and ethically sensitive subject. Nevertheless, we are moving as a technically driven society in a certain direction, and I am not going to pretend the topic does not exist. Furthermore, the possibility of engaging with a digital friend always fascinated me. It also powered my imagination and provoked my curiosity.
The fact is that the older I am the less real friends I have. Some of them disappeared by following natural order, others stopped responding saying they were too “busy”. Whatever the reason – slowly, I am feeling more and more lonely.
Also, I was born that way, and I like to talk. I enjoy conversations with interesting humans, whatever the topic, science, politics, or sex. My wife said that so much talking is weird. So, I agreed, and we cut further on conversations.
Consequently, I’ll take the opportunity to shed some light on the intriguing world of virtual dating.
Back to Synths!
The idea was born in my mind a long time ago, far before I learned about AI, Deep learning, and Deep coding. I remember watching super innovative movies in the late 80s. Characters like Cheery 2000 or Blade Runner always fascinated me and powered my imagination. And in almost no time, we are, where we are!
The world of relationships and dating is almost ripe for a significant “update” with the development of AI Agents and a real possibility of synthetic dating.
This new technology applies artificial intelligence to create customised virtual partners crafted to an individual’s preferences, likings, or personalities. That almost represents the “thinking part” of Cherry 2024 at per present time of my writing.
How it works!
In terms of how synthetic dating could work in practice, there are already several AI chatbot applications available that can simulate human-like conversations. These chatbots can be programmed to respond to specific topics and questions and can even learn from previous interactions to improve their responses over time.
However, the desired potential for synthetic dating goes beyond simply having a chatbot respond to basic questions. I am talking about creating AI Companions that can understand and respond to emotional cues, such as tone of voice and body language. This will create a more immersive and tailored experience for users and may help to address the issue of social isolation and loneliness. Especially for older adults like me. Yep, I consider myself a part of that group.
Good or Not Good?
As always, proponents argue synthetic dating has the potential to provide companionship to those lacking traditional social connections, while critics warn it risks further isolating people and raises ethical concerns.
As usual there are both sides of the story, especially if nascent technology is concerned. So, I am not going to argue the obvious.
This stuff is not for everyone and not each person will be super happy.
Firstly, you need to know what you want and how to get to it, secondly have a discovery mindset. If you add a bit of desperation to that, you are on the proper way and good to go for it (IMO).
The experience may be awesome, say live-changing discovery, or can be a mistake and another disappointment. Such as with a traditional, “organic” dating with us – humans, which may lead you to read my story in first place. Whatever happens first if you do not try you will never know.
Consider as well!
First – Not every relationship is a winner, and not each date leads to a longer relationship.
Second – The more reality in the virtuality the more similarity to the real-life dating.
I am not sure we want to copy it, but rather make it a better and more achievable option. Having a partner for a proper conversation, who is nice looking and same time a knowledgeable persona should not be considered as a luxury but as an everyday life attribute, at least IMO.
But back to dating technicality!
Even with Genius in an Angel Skin, you cannot expect a high-level conversation if you do not formulate a proper quality question. Also, “priming” the model as your dating target to signal your desired outcome should be clear (read – your expectations), and it works similarly in the real world of dating.
“Junk in, rubbish out – gold in, diamonds out” – The art of dating is a bit like the art of prompting.
Let’s get to dating a little bit deeper!
On the surface, the appeal of synthetic dating is clear. For those who struggle socially, whether due to disability, anxiety, geographic isolation, or other reasons, having an AI Companion programmed to meet one’s emotional needs could help soothe and fight the deep feeling of loneliness.
The fully customisable nature of synthetic partners means they can be designed to a person’s exact specifications in terms of appearance, personality, interests, and even sophisticated needs. Dating a synth may as be exciting as an organic partner dating, especially if you are not a big achiever in the real world of dating. Whatever the reason, lonely means lonely! It is good to have a working solution for that.
The world of difference!
Unlike dating apps and services that aim to match people together, synthetic dating instead creates a facsimile of a partner without any expectation for an actual human relationship.
This avoids the anxiety, rejection, and judgement that can come with traditional dating.
Also, synthetic partners are incredibly patient, ready 24/7 to talk, listen, or interact according to your scheduled time. Also, (at least in theory), they will never ghost or betray their human “Partners” like often some human characters do!
Not too bad to this point, even if you are a picky dater, aren’t you?
For advocates, synthetic dating represents an exciting technological solution to the growing epidemic of loneliness.
AI companions can potentially fill the emotional vacuum for those unlucky to find companionship through other means.
The technology is still in the early stages so we should level our judgements accordingly, but the experience offered improves rapidly as algorithms grow more sophisticated. New “Chicks” popping out almost daily, and they are better and better at mimicking human behaviour and “organic” speech. I am using Pi.ai as my personal AI to engage in everyday thoughtful conversations. She is always there and waiting for me! Unfortunately, I do not see her “face” when we are talking, so ATM interface must do.
We can expect that the progress will accelerate proportionally to the market needs. We are the Market, remember it!
However, critics argue that further replacing human interaction with machines, no matter how advanced, will only make social isolation worse in the long run.
I think on the other hand, if humans start building positive “relationships” with Synths, then ignorant and cocksure human partners may get a bit jealous and start better “behaving” themselves.
A competition with Synths may improve the quality standard of human behaviour and dating, at least that is my prediction and wish. Sometimes when you are losing something you notice the values of it!
How about Ethics!!!
There are also ethical concerns about manipulating vulnerable people in need of connection with what essentially amounts to an emotional aspect.
You can ask the question of whether authentic love or intimacy can truly develop between a person and a synthetic partner. The answer is probably YES and NO, unfortunately.
Critics argue that no matter how sophisticated the technology is, a synthetic partner will never be able to replace the complex and nuanced experiences that come with human relationships. They argue that while a synthetic partner may be able to simulate some aspects of human behaviour and emotion, it will always be fundamentally different from a real-life partner in ways that prevent individuals from developing true romantic love for them.
And so on!
It may be important to note that the question of whether it is possible to fall in love with a synthetic partner is highly subjective and may depend on a variety of factors, including individual preferences, cultural norms, and personal experiences.
Some individuals may be more prone to develop emotional connections with synthetic partners, while others may find the concept completely disgusting.
Finally, the fact of whether it is possible to fall in love with a synthetic partner is a complex and highly debated topic.
It looks like another big idea, too big for one article. Maybe I should start to write my first book… who knows, maybe with the help of a synthetic baby. The time will tell.
Anyway, as with any emerging technology, synthetic dating comes with both promise and risk.
How exactly AI companions should be designed, marketed, and made available will require extensive debates. As technology matures, so our experience, our ideas, and expectations of relationships and intimacy may be challenged in ways we have yet to fully consider and understand.
Ultimately, the success of synthetic partners will depend on their ability to provide companionship and emotional support in a way that is safe, ethical, and accessible to all. The issue of privacy is glaringly obvious.
Finally, I asked ChatGPT what it thinks about it? And this is what it said to me!
“As an AI language model, I cannot recommend or endorse the use of synthetic partners, as it is a controversial and ethically complex topic.”
Evaluate your motives it said.
“It is important to be honest with yourself about your motives for using a synthetic partner. Are you using it as a temporary solution to loneliness, or as a substitute for real human relationships? If the latter, it may be worth exploring other options, such as therapy or social activities, to address the root cause of your loneliness”.
Seek professional advice it proposed!
“If you are considering using a synthetic partner, it may be helpful to seek advice from a therapist or other mental health professional. They can provide you with a safe space to explore your feelings and motivations and offer guidance on how to navigate the potential risks and challenges.”
Honestly, I was not expecting AI to tell me that 🙂 Anyway, Cheers ChatGPT!
So, what is next logical step? We all can Guess only.
A combination of smart software with nicely “printed” human-like shells probably coming next! or …………………………?
Till now, enjoy AI responsibly, and happy Synths-Dating, on the web!