Could You Fall In Love With a Robot?

The rise of virtual assistants is transforming human — technology relationships

Ilya Gelfenbeyn
Nov 5, 2015 · 2 min read
The 2013 film Her by Spike Jonze, when a man falls in love with his sentient virtual assistant named Samantha.

In the 2013 film Her, the lead character falls in love with his virtual assistant, a charming, operating system voiced by the actress Scarlett Johansson. Rather than the Skynet-style omnipotent and destructive artificial intelligence imagined by films that look past the singularity — like The Terminator — Her shows a plausible, if fictional, a glimpse at a near future where our relationships with computers are much more human.

Her understood that human relationships with smart computers will be considerably more symbiotic and mutually beneficial than most science fiction imagines.

“Virtual assistants are the friendly interface to the artificial brains we’ve been promised for 50+ years,” explains Wolfram Research CEO and advisor Stephen Wolfram. “Will the A.I.s take over? If people like us do our job right, the A.I.s will always be computing what we should do — -and we’ll end up just doing what they tell us.”

The truth is that artificial Intelligence, and virtual assistants, in particular, already perform dozens of tasks for hundreds of millions of people every day, and soon that support will extend to other human needs, and emotional support, friendship and more are all possible.

Our first-ever Virtual Assistant Survey reveals that more complex human — computer relationships are far closer than right around the corner. In fact, just two short years after Her hit theaters, we’re already there.

With data from 12,000+ users, the Virtual Assistant Survey offers a wealth of insights into the numerous ways virtual assistants are changing the way we live, commute, shop, search and communicate.

What’s clear is that there is no aspect of our lives that has not been touched by the rise of virtual assistants and, believe it or not, smartphones are just the beginning.

Soon our cars, homes, and offices will be filled with connected devices — and not just watches, phones and computers. Fridges, desks, coffee pots, jackets, and every other physical object you can imagine will soon be connected devices. Voice-powered virtual assistants will be how we communicate, control and benefit from our connected future.

We may not all fall in love with our virtual assistants, but sooner than later, we’ll forget how we ever lived without them.