AI companions can relieve loneliness – but here are 4 red flags to watch for in your chatbot ‘friend’ | Science & Technology

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It’s been seven years since the launch of Replika, an artificially intelligent chatbot designed to be a friend to human users. Despite early warnings about the dangers of such AI friends, interest in friendships and even romantic relationships with AI is on the rise.

The Google Play store shows more than 30 million total downloads of Replika and two of its major competitors since their respective launches.

With one in four people around the world reporting being lonely, it is no wonder so many are drawn to the promise of a friend programmed to be “always here to listen and talk, always on your side”.

But warnings about the perils to individual users and society at large are also growing.

AI scholar Raffaele Ciriello urges us to see through the fake psychopathic empathy of AI friends. He argues that spending time with AI friends could exacerbate our loneliness as we further isolate ourselves from the people who could provide genuine friendship.

Benefits versus danger signs

If being friends with AI chatbots is bad for us, we had better put a stop to this experiment in digital fraternity before it’s too late. But emerging studies of AI friendship suggest they…

Source theconversation.com

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