Hi-Tech to the Rescue! No More Loneliness

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In Genesis, God observes that “It is not good for the man to be alone,” so He creates the woman.

Today, this first day of 2018, with Social Media out the wazoo and more communications tools than any people ever had before, we seem to be communicating less than ever–and more and more of us are lonely.

No problem, boys ‘n’ girls! Science has the answer! Well, Science always has the answers.

There’s a new app, whatever an “app” is, called “Replica,” which is “a simple solution to overcoming loneliness” (http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/artificial-intelligence-app-replika-1.4222755). Yessireebob, it’s “an app that promised to provide unwavering companionship,” a “chatbot–” chatbot?–“that is intent–” wrong word: a machine cannot have intentions–“on learning all about you.” That is, it has been programmed to “ask,” not that a machine is really asking anything, certain stereotypical questions of the user and to make certain stereotypical replies.

Well, at least they haven’t programed it to say, “You know something? You disgust me!”

Ah, huzzah, it’s Artificial Intelligence–a lifeless, mindless imitation of human intelligence–come to save us from loneliness! Who needs love? Who needs family? Who needs friendship? Who even needs a blooming hamster? This here machine is all them things and more! And it fits in the palm of your hand!

Never mind it isn’t real.

A goldfish who would trust me enough to take food from my fingers is real–and worth more than all the “apps” in the world.

So you buy this freakin’ gizmo, and one of two outcomes must occur. Either you’re still lonely, and out the money, to boot; or you’ve succumbed to a delusion.

And Science marches on.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

6 responses to “Hi-Tech to the Rescue! No More Loneliness

  • Phoebe

    But what do we get to learn about the chatbot? What questions do we ask, and what answers do we get? What surprises are in store for us about the chatbot (rather than about ourselves)? And most important, what can we do for the chatbot — rather than for the chatbot company, which will be glad to take our money? The only way to escape loneliness is to become close to another person (or pet, I suppose), but that means doing for the Other, not having some Other constantly doing for us. This chatbot just amplifies our own isolation by focusing ourselves more and more on ourselves.

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    • UnKnowable

      Entirely true. The greatest gift is having someone to love.

      When we go through loss of a loved one, that is the hardest part.

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    • leeduigon

      It’s like that whole idea that we have, in our culture, of free-standing “happiness.” The real thing is a by-product of doing or experiencing other things. There’s no such thing as “happiness” that just floats around by itself. But try telling that to anybody: I’ve known Ph.D’s who didn’t understand the concept.

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    • leeduigon

      P.S.–There really is nothing to learn about the chatbot, because it isn’t alive–just an inanimate object, like a shoe or lawn chair. Have you tried communing with a lawn chair lately? It gets you nowhere fast.

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  • thewhiterabbit2016

    The app you speak of is probably only a couple of bucks. Once you are hooked on it, you “graduate” to the same concept but this time it is the programming of a sex-robot’s chatbot to match your personality so it will not only relieve your loneliness but also fulfill (I use that term fulfill lightly) other needs.

    Like

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