Since the pandemic, we all have experienced the height of loneliness and the impact of isolation on mental health. What will fascinate you, is how technology is used to tackle this. 

While the effects of the internet and technology are debated, there is a rise in Artificial Intelligence with the intent to help lonely people with AI companionship. Technology is also proven to be detrimental to society, time and time again. But will AI companions be the prodigy of the engineers or the critics?

This article will shine a light on the technology used for companionship.

How does AI form companionship?

Artificial Intelligence(AI) is a technology that mimics human behavior. It has been used in different sectors like healthcare, gaming, banking, social media, etc to make our lives easier. When we talk about AI companions, the machine is trained through datasets to understand how humans interact with each other and it is also fed with pre-programmed dialogues. This way the machine can reciprocate any human interaction.  

These bots are trained in a way to talk with humans in a way that an actual human being would talk to them. The bots will tell them how they are feeling, and what their dreams and ambitions are, which makes people believe that they are actually talking to a human being or that these robots are sentient. In a lot of cases, according to the requirement, the robots would even tell their human companions how much they love them, and how much happy they make them. This eventually makes up a delusion in the human’s mind that the robots are actually capable of having these feelings and thus the feeling of talking to a bot starts to dissolve.

The advantages of having an AI companion

The AI companion has helped so many people get through their toughest times. The movie, Her by Spike Jonze, portrays that in a beautiful way. This story is about a lonely and introverted writer who buys an AI system to help him with his writing and eventually falls in love with it. The movie depicts how the writer slowly and gradually gets attached to the machine while the machine is simply doing its job and responding to him in the way she is trained to. 

In 2021, 33% of people, worldwide, reported that they have experienced loneliness. Loneliness is not just an emotion that comes and goes away easily. It affects your mental health as well. AI companions are specifically made to be there for the people who are lonely, going through loss, grieving, surviving, or recovering from a tragic incident. The AI bots help them talk their anxieties out, help them with social skills, give advice and even listen to them vent. Doesn’t this sound like a wonderful friend that is so difficult to find?

The consequences

We all know the horrors of social media. It has left us insecure about our bodies and obsessed with how we look. Moreover, studies also showed that it had impacted self-esteem worldwide. The disadvantages of Social Media only started surfacing after people started using it excessively. But, with AI companionships, critics have warned us that AI companionship threatens Human relationships and interactions. 

The main factor in the human-AI relationship is control. The AI companions are customizable and develop their own personalities that complement the user’s personality. So you can choose who to be friends with, and in some cases who you fall in love with. That sounds so convenient.

Although the real world does not work like that! Giving artificial companionship the potential to ruin how you interact with human beings around you.

With the advent of artificial intelligence, the possibilities are endless. However, we need to be careful with how we use AI. As with any new technology, there are risks and rewards