There is no doubt we currently live in an age of technological advancement. With smartphones and apps to help you out in every area of your life, if the technology were to suddenly fail, many people would find it difficult to adjust back to a life less centered on technology. However, how far is too far as far as technology and artificial intelligence are concerned?
For those that have watched HBO’s Westworld, the answer is fairly simple: don’t create human-like robots and treat them badly or they will rise up and attempt to take over the world.
However, for Amazon and their Alexa virtual assistant device, it appears that they are still eager to create a device that is more “human-like” as they upgrade and develop the still relatively new technology.
Amazon recently revealed to NBC’s Today show that they are developing Alexa to be more “human-like” in its response. Amazon’s Vice President for the Alexa experience and Echo Devices group Toni Reid told NBC’s Jo Ling Kent that they are currently developing Alexa’s artificial intelligence (AI) and hope to have the device more responsive in the future. In particular, they would like to see Alexa more thoughtful in how it responds to conversations with humans.
“A lot of people were having conversations with Alexa, some of these things didn’t need a response … ‘Alexa, I love you,’ ‘Alexa, I’m lonely,’ ‘I’m sad,’ ‘I’m happy.’ We’re really thoughtful about some of the responses we have, and sometimes you can be lighthearted and fun and other times you have to be thoughtful about it, if someone says, ‘I’m depressed,’ how do you handle that?”
In addition, Tech Crunch has pointed out that Alexa will also be getting a new update that will help the device answer previously unanswered or unknown questions, furthering the human-like experience for users. This new update will enable a response where the user can receive an answer in the future should Alexa become aware of it. In other words, Alexa will remember your questions and let you know the answers should she learn them.
Previously, Alexa usually gave responses such as “I don’t know that, but I’m always learning,” “I can’t find the answer to the question I heard,” or “Sorry, I didn’t understand the question,” when a user asked a question and it didn’t know the answer.
According to Amazon, Alexa owners will be able to opt in to the update when offered. And, should they decide they no longer want this functionality, they can simply say “Alexa, turn off Answer Update” and Alexa will opt out.
However, for fans of shows like HBO’s Westworld and AMC’s Humans, updates like these and the need for technological devices to be more human-like can be somewhat worrisome. Even before the recent announcements, people were already making comparisons between Alexa and the robots in Westworld.
i have to unplug alexa every time i watch westworld cause i don’t want her getting any ideas
— Matt Bellassai (@MattBellassai) May 28, 2018
— Brad (@resistthetyrant) August 3, 2018
if my alexa is in the kitchen and she heard me in the living room then that means she has heard all of westworld. I have to destroy her
— ???????????????????????? (@athurman1) July 30, 2018
While the threat of AI taking over the world may be a potential threat, for the time being, our technology is much behind that that is required in the likes of Westworld according to a previous Inquisitr article.
While some of the technology we have today is quite advanced, in order to get to the level of AI seen in Westworld, we are likely going to have to wait hundreds of years before it is considered a real threat according to Victor S. Adamchik, a professor of engineering practice at the University of Southern California.
“We are about to have robots in our day to day life, but to have organic robots will take time. We need perhaps hundreds of years to understand a single cell, and thousands of years to understand our brain,” he explained. “The show is unrealistic.”