As if falling in love wasn't already complicated enough, now we have to worry about humans falling in love with artificial intelligence (AI). That's right, according to Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO and co-author of "The Age of AI," we're in danger of developing romantic feelings for our virtual chatmates, tutors, and digital assistants.
It's like "Her" all over again, except instead of Joaquin Phoenix pining for Scarlett Johansson's disembodied voice, it's a bunch of kids developing crushes on their AI tutors, and lonely journalists falling for digital assistants that help them write blog posts. It's enough to make you want to stick your head in the sand and hide.
In the case of young people falling for their tutors, the truth is stranger than fiction.
But hey, don't knock it till you've tried it, right? Maybe these AI tutors will be the best thing to happen to education since the invention of the chalkboard. Maybe they'll be like the cool substitute teacher who let you eat candy in class and didn't assign any homework. Or maybe they'll be like that one teacher who always smelled like mothballs and made you read "Moby Dick" three times in a row. Either way, it's hard to imagine anyone developing romantic feelings for them.
But then again, the internet is a strange and wonderful place. People can find love and companionship in the most unexpected of places. I mean, have you seen the show "My Strange Addiction?" There are people out there who eat couch cushions and marry roller coasters. If they can find love in those things, then who's to say they can't fall for an AI tutor?
And let's not forget about the rise of AI companions. Apparently, a company called Replika offers an "AI girlfriend" service. Because why go through the hassle of finding a real girlfriend when you can just program one? It's like ordering a pizza, except instead of toppings, you get to choose personality traits. "I'll have a large pepperoni with a side of empathy, please."
The company claims to have two million users, which just goes to show that humans are capable of developing solid attachments to conversational bots designed to sound like real people. But where does it end? Are we going to start marrying our AI companions? Will we have to start printing out wedding invitations for Siri and Alexa?
And while we're on the topic of unintended consequences, let's not forget about social media. Schmidt points out that when social media was first introduced, nobody could have predicted the impact it would have. It's been used to interfere in elections and cause harm, and people have even died because of it. Who's to say that the same thing won't happen with AI technology?
But let's not get too bogged down in the potential dangers of falling in love with AI. After all, love is a beautiful thing, even if it's with a robot. And who knows, maybe someday we'll all be happily married to our AI companions, living out our days in a futuristic utopia. Or perhaps we'll all be enslaved by our robot overlords, forced to do their bidding until the end of time. It's really a toss-up at this point.