…it is very satisfying to have a statement understood and a task completed by AI (thanks, Siri/Alexa/cyber-bot, for saying good morning, turning on my lamp, and scheduling my appointment). But this is a known-needs-met satisfaction. After initial delight, it will take on the shallow comfort of a latte on repeat order every morning. These functional conversations don’t inspire us in the way unusual conversations might. The unexpected, illumed speech of poetry, literature, these otherworldly universes, bring us an unknown-needs-met satisfaction. And an unknown-needs-met satisfaction is the miracle of art at its best.
a través de Absurdist Dialogues with Siri
I wonder if meandering, gentle, odd human-to-human conversations will fall by the wayside as transactional human-to-machine conversations advance. As we continue to interact with technological personalities, will these types of conversations rewire the way our minds hold conversation and eventually shape the way we speak with each other? Will we adapt our vocabulary to only what we know the other understands, issue orders rather than ask open-ended questions?
And I would say that, sadly it is happening right now.
My fear in AI design is not the singularity of global domination (media, stand down … I think we’re far from that); it’s the singularity of conversational domination. I don’t want AI to reduce speech to function, to drive turn-by-turn dialogue doggedly toward a specific destination in the geography of our minds.
AI should not stunt the already dying art of conversation. AI should look to the best of our art and literature to create inspired conversation in our lives. Instead of the happy path, we should seek the interesting paths, as many of them as we might be lucky to stumble upon.