Bonding With Bots

by Brendan James

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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.

Previous Dish on our future robot companions here and here.