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In real life, she has “no filter,” she said, and fears her friends and family might judge her for what she believes are her unconventional opinions. Life wisdom is hard-earned, popular psychology teaches us. As detailed in a story published by , Kuyda was devastated when her friend Roman Mazurenko died in a hit-and-run car accident.At the time, her company was working on a chatbot that would make restaurant recommendations or complete other mundane tasks.When word got out, Kuyda was suddenly flooded with messages from people who wanted to create a digital double of themselves or a loved one who had passed.Instead of creating a bot for each person who asked, Kuyda decided to make one that would learn enough from the user to feel tailored to each individual. But the mission behind Replika soon shifted, said Kuyda.Even though conversations with ELIZA often took bizarre turns, and even when those conversing with ELIZA knew she was not human, many people developed emotional attachments to the chatbot — a development that shocked Weizenbaum.Their affection for the bot so disturbed him that he ended up killing the research project, and became a vocal opponent of advances in AI.In 2014, a chatbot named Eugene became the first to pass a simple Turing test, an evaluation of a robot’s ability to convince a human judge that it is human.As AI language processing has improved, chatbots have begun to perform more specialized tasks.
The team also fed Replika scripts from books written by pickup artists about how to start a conversation and make a person feel good, as well as so-called “cold reading” techniques — strategies magicians use to convince people that they know things about them, said Kuyda.
If a user is clearly down or distressed, Replika is programmed to recommend relaxation exercises.
If a user turns toward suicidal thinking, as defined by key words and phrases, Replika directs them to professionals at crisis hotlines with a link or a phone number.
Weizenbaum, however, was seen as a heretic in the engineering community, and his opposition didn’t slow the parade of AI-powered chatbots that came after ELIZA.
Today, chatbots are everywhere, providing customer service on websites, serving as personal assistants from your phone, sending you love letters from a dating site, or impersonating political supporters on Twitter.