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Will We Really Need Robot Friends to Battle Our Loneliness?

Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash

Recently, Elon Musk has given a rather surprising statement. He claims that ‘Tesla bots can develop personalities and be your friend’. Indeed, Artificial Intelligence now has so much potential, that to imagine robots becoming capable of developing personalities, as unique as humans and their fingerprints in the near future does not sound impossible. And with Musk’s statement, it is definitely not impossible to imagine a future where robot friends may help humans possibly combat feelings of loneliness and isolation.

However, as amusing as this idea seems, it perplexes me to no end. Is this really going to be our future? Are we really going to depend on robots, who were originally designed to simplify tasks for us, to talk to us and become our friends? Is this really going to be the extent of loneliness that instead of talking to each other, we would need robots to help us combat such feelings?

The idea of talking to bots, however, is not so new as many people have been using chatbots, bots designed specifically for the purpose of chatting on the Internet, out of curiosity and even for fun. These chatbots are smart and quick to learn and also remember whatever details we provide them about ourselves, thus giving us a sense of comfort and familiarity, as we talk to them. Most of the time, the answers given by chatbots are human-like, but of course, as bots, they have their limitations and thus, end up giving really weird and quirky answers at times, thus reminding us that they are not humans after all! But, for most people, these chatbots have also been comforters, good listeners and communicators when no one else was there for them and the number of people resorting to chatbots out of loneliness is increasing and more so with the pandemic.

What does this say about humans as a social community?

Humans are social beings and depend on each other for their various needs. We are always a part of a social fabric. Hence, is it not our responsibility to help each other out in difficult times instead of being abusive, difficult, judgemental and ignorant? All of us are bound by one religion, humanity. Beyond the various measures that we have used to differentiate ourselves, we are all humans, not perfect in every aspect. Hence, is it not our responsibility to take care of each other instead of shunning each other?

Humans are increasingly becoming self-absorbed and self-centered, day by day. We are becoming socially disconnected from each other and are so invested in our own selves, that we do not have the time to think about each other. We have stopped talking to each other and choose to struggle silently, due to fear of judgement. We are using the internet as an escape from reality, instead of connecting with our close ones. In such a situation, it is not difficult to imagine us finding solace in robotic friends who will not judge or mock us and actually have time for us.

We already have a lot of technological developments that have made life easier and comfortable for us: ships, airplanes, mobiles, television, car, Internet, computer, washing machine, and a lot more. We have even entered Space and have reached other planets. A lot of investment is also being made to develop Artificial Intelligence and other technologies. Hence, I have only one appeal: to start focusing and investing more on developing humanity and help mankind become comfortable emotionally and spiritually.

Bots may be very smart and intelligent, but their very limitation is that, they are not humans! They may be able to replace humans in various fields but they lack the human touch. We have the power to care for each other, love each other, help each other and uplift each other. A few kind words and gestures of genuine concern will go a long way to help each other.

Hence, let us not allow robots to take over our roles as caring individuals, otherwise the day will not be far when, humans stop nurturing friendships and relations altogether and forget the art of making friends and other human relations. It would also not be unusual to see a sight of two individuals, who otherwise had the potential of becoming good friends, hanging out with their own set of robotic friends.

And it will indeed be a very lonely future…..



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Tashima Agrawal

Tashima Agrawal

Hi, I am Tashima Agrawal, a student. I love reading and writing on various topics and want to learn and share, inspire and get inspired......