by Brendan James
Jessica Love wonders what it will be like “when our daily conversations are as likely to take place with computers as with humans”:
Just this month, the New York Times’s Ian Urbina reported on the increasing ubiquity of socialbots: robotic programs designed to lure actual humans into virtual conversations, and then, more often than not, convince them to do something: buy stock, adopt a political stance, even fall in love. (And who better to fall for than a Nigerian Prince?) “Within two years,” Urbina writes, “about 10 percent of the activity occurring on social online networks will be masquerading bots, according to technology researchers.”
Make no mistake: these bots will get good. As will Siri and Google Search and any number of algorithms programmed—for reasons insidious or otherwise—to behave as humanly as possible. I find it very probable that, in my lifetime, I’ll be able to have entire conversations without ever quite knowing whom or what I’m talking to.