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August 29, 2023

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Robots or friends?

With the unprecedentedly rapid development of AI technology, robots have evolved from the initial stage of clumsy and rigid appearance, which can only complete simple mechanical tasks, to a stage where they are becoming more and more flexible, intelligent, and even more human-like in both appearance and logical thinking.

Meanwhile, the advancement of human-computer interaction technology is also accelerating the creation of robots with function of emotional interaction with mankinds. The recent emergence of ChatGPT and its iteration with each passing day have further advanced the level of human-computer interaction. Having an AI pet or robot that can provide emotional companionship for human is no longer an unrealizable dream.

I’m happy to have an AI friend because of curiosity about the emerging technologies. In fact, I already have a little “friend” called “Xiao Ai,” which is an AI speaker that can interact and chat with me. Every morning, I just say to it, “Xiao Ai, tell me what’s the weather like today?” or “Xiao Ai, play Talor Swift’s music.” It will then reply to me and follow my instructions automatically. When I say that I am not in a good mood today, it can even say something to comfort and encourage me. To some extent, it is really like a friend.

But personally, I do not think that the companionship provided by AI can replace the emotional connection between people. If I am asked to choose only one between a robot friend and a living friend, I would definitely choose the latter. Firstly, I do not believe that robots will truly have human emotions. Even though the biomimetic technology is very advanced nowadays, robots can only simulate the physical characteristics of animals or human.

Emotions and souls are only possessed by living creatures. Secondly, the current development of technology has already taken up too much time from us. Take smartphone for example, how often do you see people just playing their phones as they are sitting beside their friends or family? According to an official survey, Chinese people spend 3.3 hours each day in average on smart phone, ranking the 2nd in the world. As a matter of fact, excessive reliance, or even addiction, on intelligence devices is greatly reducing emotional interaction between people. And we should not let this trend continue. Because the emotional connection and interaction between humans are the basic foundation of our human society and the source of happiness for us as well.


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