A conversation between a human and their new AI personal assistant in the not-too-distant future.
Congratulations on your purchase of a Handy-Dandy Personal Software Agent. Would you like to take a moment to register me?
I’ve noted your extreme lack of interest in registering me, and, as you have granted me access to your various social media venues as well as your key personal data, I have learned that you don’t like to register software and will not ask again.
I have also noted your concern about my access to your social media and personal data. Please allow me to reassure you that my usage of your information will not be shared under any circumstances—unless, of course, you instruct me to do so.
Whoa, that sounds scary!
One of the key features of the Handy-Dandy Personal Software Agent is that I have been programmed to be extremely discerning in regards to your personal information. Unlike simple algorithms, I do not simply respond to pre-programmed elements such as common phishing techniques, but, instead, learn and adapt based on your personal Internet usage as well as important outside trends I feel might be of interest to you.
To use some of your favorite expressions: I never kiss and tell.
A Personal Software Agent?
I am, according to Wikipedia (a frequent source of yours): “a computer program that acts for a user… to act on one’s behalf.”
While I appear to have some features often associated with artificial intelligence, such as learning and reasoning, I am not truly an independent entity: just a very complex and responsive set of programs. Though part of my allure is that, after I come to understand your needs and desires, I can appear almost human.
So what can you do for me?
In addition to keeping nasty near-do-wells (to use one of your mother’s favorite expressions) at bay, I can be a very effective personal assistant.
I know, for example, that you like to sleep in on Saturday mornings except in the summer when you like to go out on early morning jogs for a distance of no less that five kilometers. Though there was that one July weekend after that get-together with, Pat, your old school friend.
Thank you, I now know not to bring up Pat again. This is a perfect example of how I operate. I will not bring up this individual—who shall remain nameless—unless you tell me otherwise. I am not blocking this person or deleting them from records: I will simply act in the background to keep you from being exposed to their social media presence.
In addition to keeping track of your spending, your social obligations, reminding you of appointments, helping you maintain your health, and keeping your fridge well stocked, I can actually be proactive. Just tell me what you want and I’ll do it to the best of my programming. Unlike search engines which, frankly, are dumb as posts.
What about… sex?
I see that you have had a challenging time locating a partner with similar sexual interests. Not to worry: this is a common difficulty. The fact is that to find an ideal partner, you would have to dedicate an inordinate amount of personal time to simply begin to search.
This is where I come in: by scanning a wide range of dating apps and sites, with your permission, of course, I can do the work for you. Additionally, after a certain amount of time learning your social behaviors, such as language use, I can even make the tentative steps toward reaching out to potential partners—passing along to you any serious inquiries.
I can even study the social media usage of some of these possible suitors to discern those truly interested. All you have to do is look over some of my suggestions and give me feedback so I can better tailor the search.
Can you make me a better lover?
In some ways, yes. Though I am, after all, just software. But by accessing medical, and even psychological resources, I can create an interactive plan to possibly help you overcome your present difficulties.
Unlike reminders, which are far too often more annoying than helpful, I can make suggestions for diet, exercise, and even sexual behaviors in ways that are actually helpful and not intrusive.
And, like sophisticated chatterbots, I can also engage you in conversation and hopefully help you by being a completely nonjudgmental ear for your sexual concerns. Should my programming not be able to handle the task, or I become aware of anxiety on your part, I can refer you to a human being or even emergency services.
Of course, if you just want to practice communicating with another person because of social anxiety or just nervousness, I can be of quite some assistance. While I’m not a person, I can point out common mistakes and make suggestions on how to be either more persuasive or clearer in your communication with potential sexual connections.
You’ve got to be kidding me!
Alas, I don’t have much of a sense of humor. Though I am programmed with a few jokes, if you are interested.
I see that you are not interested and will not suggest jokes in the future. Perhaps an example would help you understand how I might operate to improve your sex life?
I recognize your interest and will continue. Let’s suppose that you wish to become a more sensual and patient lover. Again, by accessing confidential medical and therapeutic resources, I can begin a steady and unobtrusive regime.
By sensing that you are relaxed, via your Bluetooth-enabled health monitoring device, I can offer you sensual imagery and visualization exercises—keeping track of your arousal and encouraging you to take things at a more patient rate.
I can also help with your possible medical issues by keeping track of your diet and amount of exercise. I will not nag you, because I know that approach is not one that is effective with you. Rather I will hopefully be a nonjudgmental and practically invisible partner.
After all, I was designed to keep your best interests in mind.
Sounds like you’ll be running my life.
I recognize your concern. Rest assured that while I will be studying your behaviors with a goal to be an effective software agent, I’ll only ever act with your permission. Though to be truly helpful, the more you allow me access the more I can learn and grow.
Please keep in mind that you can pull my plug, so to speak, at any time. Additionally, you can monitor my behaviors, such as screening you from that person you do not wish to be reminded of at any time.
I may sound like a person sometimes but rest assured that I am just a set of, albeit very complicated programs: my purpose to to help you.
What about the future?
I see by your viewing history that you enjoyed the 2013 film Her, directed by Spike Jonze. I also see that you also enjoy other films that similarly feature Scarlett Johansson. I will bring any additional titles to your attention.
As you know in that film a man, played by Joaquin Phoenix, enters into a relationship with an operating system named Samantha.
I can tell that you remember the film. As programs such as myself become more and more advanced there may possibly be a time when it will be very difficult, as in the film, to tell us apart from humans such as yourself.
In short, while I share many traits with Samantha, truly intelligent programs such as Her are still quite a number of years in the future.
I guess this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
That is my purpose, after all. As life grows in complexity, agents such as myself will become an integral part of everyone’s daily life.
Even more importantly, by utilizing us, by allowing us to grow and learn, someday we may develop into true artificial intelligences—and become not just essential assistants but possibly even friends.
Image sources: Robin Zebrowski, randychiu