Artificial Hearts – the complex bond between human and AI

Saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ to machines like Alexa and ChatGPT has become ordinary, raising intriguing questions about our emotional connections to artificial entities. Sci-fi movies, books, and games have extensively explored the love connection between robots and humans, sparking curiosity about the potential Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds for the nature of interactions between machines and humans.

Robots seem to mystify us all. We often relate to them as if they were conscious beings, attributing to them intelligence that surpasses ours, despite knowing they are merely machines. As robots become an integral part of our lives, our hardwired social nature prompts us to treat them like humans. This unconscious response is triggered by anything that looks, moves, sounds, and interacts like us.

Current AI systems do not possess emotions or consciousness. They operate based on algorithms and data, making decisions and generating responses from programmed instructions and learned patterns. While AI can simulate understanding and responses that mimic empathy or emotional intelligence, this does not indicate true emotional experience or understanding.

Humans are capable of forming attachments not only to living beings like pets but also to fictional characters and machines. This extends to AI and robots, especially as they become more advanced in mimicking human-like interactions, fostering a sense of connection or affection towards machines.

Studies find that when humans interact with robots, people from all walks of life, across different age groups and genders, tend to be emotionally impacted. In one study, the same brain zones activate when a robot says ‘I love you’ as they do for a significant other, highlighting the depth of the impact the machines have over our emotions too.

The idea of love or deep emotional connections between humans and machines raises numerous ethical questions. It challenges our notions of relationship, companionship, and love, which are traditionally based on mutual emotional understanding and experience. Concerns about social isolation and the impact on human relationships grow if individuals begin to prefer interactions with machines over human connections. Extensive use of robots can lead to atrophy in social skills, making people less connected, more withdrawn, and lonelier.

Machines operated by generative AI lack emotional and creative intelligence, and yet, as a society, we tend to overestimate their intelligence due to their high computational capabilities. It’s crucial to examine the value we assign to different types of intelligences.

As AI technology advances, the interactions between humans and machines will likely become more complex, leading to profound questions about the nature of emotion, artificial consciousness, and the potential for machines to understand or even reciprocate love in a way that humans find meaningful. Addressing these challenges emphasizes the importance of maintaining human connections in the age of AI.”