The world is changing due to artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, and that’s unavoidable for now. Furthermore, we’re slowly inching towards a future where robots are a regular member of the home, so what then?
Well, with this in mind, researchers are looking into the possibilities of giving robots the ability to feel empathy. Doing this would allow robots to understand what a human is feeling, which could make it respond in a more favorable way.
The problem is, would going down this route raise ethics-related questions? Chances are, it would, but it’s just another rubble in the road of making it possible for AI to be more human-like, whether or not that’s a good thing.
Google Assistant can attune to your mood
If you’ve spoken to the Google Assistant via an Android smartphone or wherever else the service is available, you may have realized how much at times the assistant feels human. That’s because the search giant deliberately made it so, and not everyone has caught on.
“When you say, ‘I’m feeling depressed’, instead of giving you a description of what depression is, it [might say], ‘you know what, a lot of people feel that. You’re not alone’,” according to Danielle Krettek, the founder of Google’s Empathy Lab at a conference in Sydney, Australia.
She went on to say the following:
“It’s just these little moments of ‘attunement’ that really help a person feel seen and heard and met where they are.”
You see, creating robots with the ability to feel empathy for humans is a big deal because many of us are introverts who prefer not to deal with other humans on a regular basis. Having a robot at home to speak with could improve the mental health of such individuals.
But will this become a huge problem ethically?
Robots and artificial intelligence are the design of humans, therefore, it is our duty to make sure things are done in a way that is proper.
If we as humans can build robots that improve the lives of others by making them feel better about themselves, then from my personal standpoint, such things are above ethics.
Still, we need to realize that if a robot can cater to the emotional well being of its human, then wouldn’t it be easier for that machine to coax its owner into buying goods online?
“Systems that are capable of shaping the emotional states of their users will be much more effective at selling people things,” according to Monash University philosopher Robert Sparrow.
It’ll be up to the law to make sure companies never allow robots to take advantage of humans to sell more products.