A Chatbot Friend: Could the ‘Black Mirror’ become real?

Black Mirror

Black Mirror is a British dystopian science fiction anthology television series created by Charlie Brooker. Since 2011, most of us have been watched it regularly or partially. It explores how technology influences our lives – as you know it could be better or worse or both.

Honestly, I am not a big fan of it because sometimes I feel more depressed if I see some worst part of technological developments(Note to myself: Knowing the dark side of what you are looking for or interested in, could help to understand the behind the story). One day that I watched it, I think it was the fifth season, the season included Miley Cyrus. There was a doll that it called ‘Ashley’ and she was able to be the best friend of everyone who feels alone(In order to avoid spoiler, my explanation is very short).

What is the topic going? The advent of COVID has changed our normal life and now we have different kinds of normal life rules – social distance, wear a mask, wash hands min 20 secs… etc. Also, loneliness is an undeniable fact in people’s lives during this pandemic. I am sure you will be agreed with me is that before the pandemic there were many people who were suffering from being lonely, but coronavirus made it even harder because in most countries were a curfew(even there was no a curfew, the way that people’s warm relations have changed) and that is why people felt like just didn’t have anyone to talk to about anything.

Chatbots

The technology of chatbots has started improving and still going on. For example, apps. The purpose of those apps is to be our friends. What does make them valuable? The answer is simple: conversation. As I mentioned above, the level of stress, anxiety, or happiness(is less according to some researchers) is high and people need to have a conversation via messages or phone calls in order to stabilize their mental health. There is a huge possibility is that the health system will not reach those people and suffering that’s going to go untreated. On the other hand, informing people plays a crucial role and chatbots help with it. For example:

  • Answer FAQs about the virus ❓
  • Quiz users on their symptoms and advise whether they should seek care 🤧
  • Give location-specific information about the pandemic 📍
  • Offer personalized, hyper-local assistance 😷
  • Assist with mental healthcare 🧠

As all of us know, The World Health Organization (WHO) is built a WhatsApp bot to share information about COVID because it is one of the most trusted sources for information.

According to scientists, we need real emotions and it is only possible with having a real dialogue. Even though we use the chatbot to get conversation, the sound of voices is still not like humans. However, after years thanks to the development of artificial intelligence, the voices sound will be more like humans. In my opinion, there are advantages and disadvantages to it. The advantage is that even it is virtual, people will be feeling more having real conversation thanks to the human voice. The disadvantage is that people might be able to forget how they build real relationships in the real world. Moreover, if people want to talk deeply about their emotions, bots might not be able to answer properly and people can feel like they are in an emotional hole.

My only wishes are, whatever happens, people have to continue to remember human feelings.

References

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/16/technology/chatbots-quarantine-coronavirus.html

https://blog.chatfuel.com/chatbots-helping-people-access-covid-19-information/

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