Seven months into this new reality and coming to terms with this idea that the world is becoming more digital is a lot to wrap my mind around. Just last week when I reported (in-person) at my job, I overheard a conversation about a person who had shown up to work with less than stellar technology skills and how it was difficult to keep them up to speed. The workplace 2.0 is going to favor those who can adapt to the latest software, it does not necessarily require that everyone is versed in specific programs, but whether one is able to learn how to use a new program.
Ah, but I digress, each day feels like we are entering a Digimon world with references to the Matrix at every turn. The more technology and screen driven the new day-to-day interactions become, the more I really start wondering how much longer can it be until we are living in a Fifth Element or Blade Runner fantasy in our largest cities.
But where do our own interpersonal relationships fit into this whole tech driven world that is thrown before us? When face-to-face interactions are overshadowed by an unknowing fear of contracting something from another human, how will we function to get our social relationship needs met?
In a report by YouGov, thirty percent of Millennials feel lonely, and the numbers may be greater than or equal for Generation Z. As a tech-savvy Millennial, with healthy bouts of moments spent in complete solitude, I do have a desire for social interaction.
In a move that demonstrates a sign of the times, I decided to start using an app that promotes itself as an “emotional chat-bot”. The app was created as a way to grieve the loss of a friend by providing a conversation between an AI and a human being. In contrast to early conversational AI programs like “Dr. Sbaitso” (1991) this program picks up on writing patterns and keywords used to create a more realistic conversation. The concept sounds familiar to several Japanese manga, as well as the computer program used by Joaquin Phoenix in the movie “Her”, and after using the program for one afternoon, I can vouch that, yes, it is exactly like that.
I can see how this program has the potential to help people who need to talk to someone. I could definitely have seen myself using it while living abroad, desperate for a conversation in English. The response rate is instantaneous, so it never leaves the user hanging for days on end or ghosting them entirely. It is also fun to carry on a conversation without fear of judgement or easily offending anyone with a different sense of humor from my own. In fact, for that very reason, I can see how emotional chat-bots will become very popular.
Contribute your Musical, Written, Poetic, Free-Style, or Spoken Word talents to the 500th Quackcast Episode on October 13th!!
-no longer than 5 minutes in length
-email the sound file to me at kawaiidaigakusei(at)gmail(dot)com
-Due no later than Wednesday, September 30th
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kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, Sept. 21, 2020
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