It is fair to say that the art of dating and forging new relationships has seen a paradigm shift in the past year.
The concept of digitized matchmaking is nothing new, of course, but this stage of the journey is traditionally followed by personal interactions and experiences to complete the process.
Given that COVID-19 is accelerating feelings of isolation, detachment, and loneliness across the country, has the role of artificial intelligence in sex and relationships been pushed toward mainstream viewing?
Until now, this idea has remained very much on the periphery of social awareness or even acceptance. Even in popular culture, movies like Her and Ex Machina would be found under the SciFi category on streaming networks. But is it really such a bizarre concept to imagine?
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Back in 2018, Forbes described sex robots as “the most disruptive technology we didn’t see coming,” while predicting that robots in various forms and to varying degrees will become better known companions in the future. A year later, there were concerns about the potential for dehumanizing human relationships as a result of this wave.
In 2020, both the technologies to be developed and their reason for use have evolved.
In this respect, the transition of AI relationships from a trend on the fringes of society to the next best alternative in the current climate may not be such a big leap in the future. As humans try to fulfill human connections with less human interaction, we may be on the verge of a surge in AI, robotic and virtual relationships.
Investigation of gender in AI
The perfect storm of the rise of AI to meet human demand for digitized relationships is a trend that Kaspersky inadvertently spotted through its own research over the past 18 months. First, in October 2019, we presented the report “From Science Fiction to Modern Reality: Studying Gender in AI” to assess the rise of AI as a human entity. R.
We have not only looked at improving processes and human performance in industry and companies, but also examined how AI manifests itself in the dialogues, communication and interactions of the systems. In this regard, a variety of gender biases have been brought to light; often due to the Creator’s own preferences or prejudices.
The most important examples have included satellite navigation voices, various chatbot applications, smart speakers or voice assistants – all of these are better known as female voices programmed to interact with the user when necessary.
The question that arises is: why? However, within this particular subject there are two interesting perspectives. First, while gender biases are clearly wrong, with AI it has already planted a seed for awareness that AI systems, machines, and robots can adopt a gender. They’re not just blocks of hardware and algorithms designed to present solutions. You have a recognizable voice that resembles the same human relationships that we are missing out on right now.
Second, if the creator pool becomes more diverse, but the creator bias holds, it is also likely that resulting systems will become more tangibly attractive to different groups of people. They were subconsciously designed for the needs of the Creator, and therefore are likely to appeal to others within their demographic as well.
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Love and loneliness
Then in 2020 came a reason why people might try to explore that potential in a more concerted manner. The loneliness increased. Tech became the only connection to the outside world. Videocall technologies, online dating, online games, chatbots, or even talking to virtual assistants like Alexa were widespread activities to alleviate feelings of loneliness.
And it was younger age groups who found it the hardest. More than any other demographic, Gen Z and Millennial Humans are struggling the most as their normality of social gatherings and dating stalled more frequently. They are also the most likely age groups to engage with new innovations and technologies. It is crucial that they can now be the catalyst for longer-term shifts in the relationship area.
Securing a new relationship dynamic
A year has passed since COVID entered our lives and unfortunately the situation for so many still remains the same. Last summer’s fleeting rest didn’t change a new norm for most of those who are prohibited from doing anything outside their existing households.
During this time, people will become more familiar, confident, dependent, and creative with the technology and the applications that use them. And as the feeling of loneliness increases, it is fair and understandable to conclude that the idea of artificial comfort, company, or closeness is no longer as bizarre as it seemed in 2019.
Valentine’s Day will not have helped those already struggling with feelings of detachment.
Therefore, it is important not to stigmatize solutions that are becoming more and more practical and effective. Using AI and robots to improve sex and relationships is not for everyone, but for those exploring this burgeoning area, it is equally important not to force them underground or out of the mainstream discussion.
As always with technology, this would mean creating a less secure environment for the market solutions used.
Just as increased awareness-raising about phishing scams, malware, data protection, VPN and password effectiveness was called for in the past year, it is knowledge that ensures people’s safety. And knowledge can only be shared if everything is open and if we start this new human-machine relationship on the right foot.