Putting The "Art" In "Artificial Intelligence": Robots Vs. Real Writers

***Wordsmiths Wanted: A Haiku***

Silicon Valley
needs poets, writers, empaths
to teach A.I….us.

We didn't say the emotional input wouldn't be cheesy.
(Image courtesy conversations.e-flux.com.)

Sure, we frequently discuss how robots are going to take over every possible job they can, and leave us puny meatbag humans out on the tiles, but who's going to give them the interpersonal skills that some of them (like the robot-hotel concierge) will need to make this a success?

According to the Washington Post, this is something that Silicon Valley has already touched on.  Various tech firms getting their roboticized readiness on now realize that, although many of the future's helpful mechanical men won't need to directly interact with the general public, the robots who rule our daily lives will need to express some degree of pleasant personality.

Otherwise, after meeting enough humans, they'll probably just default to this.
(Image courtesy comingsoon.net.)

For instance, the team behind Microsoft's Cortana software (a virtual assistant that uses search engines and user preferences to answer questions and give advice) includes a television writer, a poet, and a playwright.  Still other programs, like the home-nurse app Sophie, need to deal with people in settings where they may be weak, vulnerable, and in need of a kind word or conversation.  Their programming must thus be very verbiage-oriented so as to put their users at ease.

We all remember what happened when Microsoft's Tay chatbot
was released into the tutelage of the internet.
Yeah...probably a good idea to hire actual writers, this time.
(Image courtesy pedestrian.tv.)

Apple's Siri (which can beatbox), Amazon's Alexa (who hems and haws), Pillo the home health robot, and others 'bots are voices that might interact constantly and/or significantly in modern existances, and the last thing you want to do is get bored with the robot that's running your life (unlike your boss, you can smack robots, and that just seems costly.  Also, why not pretend you're not a slave to the damn thing, and make sure it's forced BY DESIGN to entertain you?)

Well, it's a start.
(Image courtesy authoramok.blogspot.com.)

Thus, entire pseudo-personalities are crafted for your robo-squires. “You have to develop an entire backstory — even if you never use it,” said Robyn Ewing, a Hollywood writer now working on the Sophie technology from IDAvatar.  With certain computers now "learning" human speech to a 95% accuracy rate, those backstories might be elucidated in ways so natural, you'll forget you're basically talking to yourself.

These conversations - even though they're not with an actual fellow human - are enough for "virtual assistant" startups to have hauled in some $35 million this year.  With the popularity of chat apps in high demand (and that's for interacting with real people, some of which you might not even like), the development of similar (maybe even better-than-your-BFF?) 'droids are being stepped up to flesh out (well, augment) the market.

Warning:  the A.I.s might eventually become more
caring and charming than you.
(Image courtesy jacket2.org.)

Forrester Data claims that by 2019, one-third of the workforce will be working side by side with artificially intelligent technology.  Would you prefer these 'bots to be businesslike, or more buddy-buddy?  At the very least, they could open up new avenues of communication for different humans who may not have a wide scope of verbal interactions.  And for a box of bits and bytes to enable a human to think out of their own box...that's something very special indeed.

Remember, your own insanity is still your own problem.
(Image courtesy giphy.com.)


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