With the arrival of consumer-facing AI, are we at the beginning of replacing human communications?

A few times (here and here), I have talked about my idea of Netflixication of Men. The basic idea is there will be structural cultural changes if men have no reason to leave home. All male needs can be fulfilled via the Internet or gig economy services. It all leads to societal changes like fewer or later marriages, or fewer children, which impact the economy by driving lower home sales and such.

For example, marginalized groups in China are using AI bots as substitutes for real human relationships. There is some upside to the technology. Mobility or socially challenged individuals build connections, instead of constantly hearing the inner dialogue. But as the technology learns and becomes more powerful, AI will better at mimicking or even transcending human interactions. Imagine a chatbot that not only talks to you with human nuance, but also integrates ault streaming services. Then imagine an evolution where the bot can watch a show on TV (or Netflix) with you and engage in banter during the shared entertainment experience. The only remaining evolution is giving the AI a physical form.

We have bits and pieces of it. Chatbots leveraging NLP already exist. Vision API could identify where we are in the movie. Add in past interactions with the user, sites he or she visits, subscriptions and other gig economy services used, and purchasing details from access to credit card accounts. All of a sudden you have a foundation for intimate emotional communications.

We are halfway to the plot of Her.

On a slightly different note, what if newborns were given their own AI companion? It’s almost like having a spirit animal or a companion from The Golden Compass.