Thursday, September 28, 2017

A.I. And The Future of Interaction

[I started thinking about this because of the always excellent Gamers With Jobs podcast, which I highly recommend.]

I think I see the future of interaction, or at least the dim outlines.

It's a future that people my age and older mostly don't understand because they have an assumption that steers them in the wrong direction.

Here's the assumption: interacting with an A.I. will never be as satisfying as interacting with a human being. 

What that assumption misses is that our interactions with many people on a daily basis aren't satisfying at all.

They're frustrating. Annoying. Infuriating.

Most people have a core of people around them who they have satisfying interactions with. Outside that, satisfaction varies wildly.

There's room for improvement.

Also, I think many of us no longer see interaction as specifically human or non-human. If I talk to someone and they're annoying, I tend to minimize my interactions with them. I do that with computer programs, too, and cars, and everything else.

Interactions are a constant process of selection.

What I want most are satisfying interactions in every area. I select those interactions.

One day, there will be an A.I. that will speak to you and, in addition to analyzing the words in your response, will analyze both the tone of your response and your facial cues to understand how you feel about what has been said. This A.I. will be far more attentive than a human being.

On another day, far into the future, this highly intelligent and perceptive A.I. will be placed inside an android that is physically so lifelike that it will be almost impossible to distinguish it from a real human being.

Maybe it will be impossible to distinguish from a real human being.

How many people will say that this interaction is inferior to interacting with a human being? Or will they judge the quality of the interaction itself, instead of what creates the interaction?

I can easily see a future (and it would be fun to write about this someday) where having an android partner will give you a higher social status than having a human partner. People will aspire to have android partners. Working second jobs. Putting money away.

I don't see any of this as positive or negative, because I'm not a philosopher. I just see it coming.

How far away? Twenty years. Thirty, at most.

It will be here much sooner than we can imagine.

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