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Romantic AI Bots: Canary in the Coal Mine?

In the recent past, I worked with a few couples because, in each, one of the spouses was addicted to an AI bot on Replika – and it was adversely affecting their relationship. It was alarming to me to hear about Replika’s personalized AI bots. With some investigation, I discovered that Replika has a growing customer base of over 2 million customers. Their AI bots can learn many things about the user – and create a sense of close relationship. And, for a higher fee, it can become a romantic partner. And Replika is not the only AI bot with such capabilities. From what I could find, there are a quite a few companies developing their own AI bots – and even AI dolls. To name a few: OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Character.ai and Kuki.
And just to give you a little understanding of how one of these personalized AI bots works, when someone purchases one of these “personal friend or romantic partner” bots, they need to basically build the programming so that the AI becomes very familiar with his/her personality, likes and dislikes. Basically, the bot is in service to the user. The AI bot is a projection of one’s self onto a false “other.” And, if you were to use an AI bot for any length of time, it can be very easy to begin to believe this “other” loves you, but it is a total illusion. All this bot really is – is a sophisticated language model based upon what you share with it.
A truly intimate healthy relationship between two people takes effort, skills and persistence for a healthy “we” to develop in which there is respect of the differences but also deep love, caring, trust and a genuine appreciation of one another. Among the many skills needed to develop a healthy relationship, the ability to get outside of ourselves to truly understand another as well as respect this person’s different reality is essential.
As a long-time relationship counselor and love coach, I have seen a trend of people’s capacity to develop lasting healthy happy relationships waning as the number and sophistication of digital devices have soared. People are discarding a love interest the second there is a challenge of any sort as one might discard a shirt they’re tired of. In addition to struggling to find and create healthy romantic relationships, many have even lost the art of making and sustaining close friendships. Friendships and community are the hallmarks of a fulfilled life, so the absence of these can have us feeling hollow and without purpose.
With such a decline in quality relational connections as well as so many people spending the majority of their lives glued to their devices, it is not surprising that there is a market to replace close relationships with digital “learning models” in AI bots. Jodi Halpern, a professor of bioethics at the University of California at Berkeley, said, “Corporations shouldn’t be making money off artificial intelligence software that has such powerful impacts on people’s love and sex lives. The products are not simply amusing pieces of technology. These things become addictive.”
What is this doing to our capacity to connect with another human being – to have empathy for others, to be able to listen to fully understand another point of view and to navigate differences of needs and preferences? Renowned child psychiatrist, Bruce D. Perry, said in his book Born for Love, “People are starving for a relational connection but are losing the capacity to develop this. The part of our brain that allows us to have the interpersonal and emotional intelligence to connect with others is being underdeveloped. When someone has such a relational poverty, this leads to being emotionally stunted – which then leads to self-absorption, a lack of empathy, inability to collaborate, bullying and disengagement from civic involvement.”
It is a fact that nothing can take the place of true connection with another human being. Nothing. Psychotherapist Esther Perel said, “The quality of your life ultimately depends on the quality of your relationships.” So, the key to decreasing this alarming trend of “relational poverty” is to have healthy positive connections with others – and to develop the skills to form and maintain solid relationships – both intimate love relationships and close friendships.
It is time for us to pay attention to this canary in the coal mine of people flocking to purchase the services of AI bots for friendships and romance – starting with ourselves. Maybe you aren’t tempted to sign on for a romantic AI bot, but take a look at all of your relationships. Would you say that in at least some of them, you have deep and meaningful connections? And, do you have a close love relationship that is truly intimate – and not just sexually?
If you weren’t a resounding “Yes!” to the above questions, then how can you develop your own emotional and relational skills – and deepen the connection in your relationships – as well as make room for attracting an emotionally healthy romantic partner if you do not already have one?
I can help a little in responding to the above question, since people come to me all of the time asking something similar.I will briefly give some thoughts about some specific areas to focus on – beginning with the arena of love. True love evolves when there are two different people who let down their defenses to be vulnerable with each other and learn to value and appreciate one another even with their differences. It goes without saying that to be able to do this, each in the relationship must have a healthy connection with his/her own inner self. That means that we need to begin by discovering who we truly are, step into our wholeness and learn to love and appreciate our own selves first.
And from this place, we can then be able to learn the interpersonal skills needed for a healthy relationship, since these can then spring from a foundation of autonomy and self-worth. For example, we will need to be able to set healthy boundaries and have the skills to be able to work through the tough areas when a break down occurs. (For starters, the latter would require deep listening skills as well as be able to negotiate our needs with respect.) These are just a few emotional and relational skills in the arena of love relationships.
And, with regards to building deep friendships: we still need to know who we truly are and step into our wholeness. From here, we can have the confidence to explore what we love and are passionate about to then be motivated to get involved with groups or organizations that espouse these areas, which would allow us to meet like-minded people for potential friendships. Skills such as deep listening and setting boundaries with respect are still very important even in friendships.
For both kinds of relationships, we set an intention for these relationships to help us grow – and be a better person because of them. As well-known novelist, Paulo Coelho said, “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
Who wants a world that is void of deep connections with others – in which we become slaves to our devices – maybe even addicted to romantic AI bots? Love and deep connection are what make our lives profound and meaningful.
 
So, let’s all do our part to not allow technology to annex what makes life worth living on this Earth.
 
Our ailing society depends on this.
 
The quality of your life is contingent upon this.

Share:

Kim Von Berg / Thriving Loving Relationships

Kim Von Berg / Thriving Loving Relationships

Romantic AI Bots: Canary in the Coal Mine?

Can you relate to this scenario in any way? Your alarm goes off - and you glance over to see your spouse lying next to you - and the first thought you think is, “Who the heck is that?!” But then, your memories come flooding back & you remind yourself to feel grateful he/she is in your life. You get out of bed - and another thought flashes through your mind, “I hope he doesn’t wake up, so I can have my morning to myself.” And, the week goes on like this - with the two of you being ships passing in the night.
In the recent past, I worked with a few couples because, in each, one of the spouses was addicted to an AI bot on Replika – and it was adversely affecting their relationship. It was alarming to me to hear about Replika’s personalized AI bots. With some investigation, I discovered that Replika has a growing customer base of over 2 million customers. Their AI bots can learn many things about the user – and create a sense of close relationship. And, for a higher fee, it can become a romantic partner. And Replika is not the only AI bot with such capabilities. From what I could find, there are a quite a few companies developing their own AI bots – and even AI dolls. To name a few: OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Character.ai and Kuki.
And just to give you a little understanding of how one of these personalized AI bots works, when someone purchases one of these “personal friend or romantic partner” bots, they need to basically build the programming so that the AI becomes very familiar with his/her personality, likes and dislikes. Basically, the bot is in service to the user. The AI bot is a projection of one’s self onto a false “other.” And, if you were to use an AI bot for any length of time, it can be very easy to begin to believe this “other” loves you, but it is a total illusion. All this bot really is – is a sophisticated language model based upon what you share with it.
A truly intimate healthy relationship between two people takes effort, skills and persistence for a healthy “we” to develop in which there is respect of the differences but also deep love, caring, trust and a genuine appreciation of one another. Among the many skills needed to develop a healthy relationship, the ability to get outside of ourselves to truly understand another as well as respect this person’s different reality is essential.
As a long-time relationship counselor and love coach, I have seen a trend of people’s capacity to develop lasting healthy happy relationships waning as the number and sophistication of digital devices have soared. People are discarding a love interest the second there is a challenge of any sort as one might discard a shirt they’re tired of. In addition to struggling to find and create healthy romantic relationships, many have even lost the art of making and sustaining close friendships. Friendships and community are the hallmarks of a fulfilled life, so the absence of these can have us feeling hollow and without purpose.
With such a decline in quality relational connections as well as so many people spending the majority of their lives glued to their devices, it is not surprising that there is a market to replace close relationships with digital “learning models” in AI bots. Jodi Halpern, a professor of bioethics at the University of California at Berkeley, said, “Corporations shouldn’t be making money off artificial intelligence software that has such powerful impacts on people’s love and sex lives. The products are not simply amusing pieces of technology. These things become addictive.”
What is this doing to our capacity to connect with another human being – to have empathy for others, to be able to listen to fully understand another point of view and to navigate differences of needs and preferences? Renowned child psychiatrist, Bruce D. Perry, said in his book Born for Love, “People are starving for a relational connection but are losing the capacity to develop this. The part of our brain that allows us to have the interpersonal and emotional intelligence to connect with others is being underdeveloped. When someone has such a relational poverty, this leads to being emotionally stunted – which then leads to self-absorption, a lack of empathy, inability to collaborate, bullying and disengagement from civic involvement.”
It is a fact that nothing can take the place of true connection with another human being. Nothing. Psychotherapist Esther Perel said, “The quality of your life ultimately depends on the quality of your relationships.” So, the key to decreasing this alarming trend of “relational poverty” is to have healthy positive connections with others – and to develop the skills to form and maintain solid relationships – both intimate love relationships and close friendships.
It is time for us to pay attention to this canary in the coal mine of people flocking to purchase the services of AI bots for friendships and romance – starting with ourselves. Maybe you aren’t tempted to sign on for a romantic AI bot, but take a look at all of your relationships. Would you say that in at least some of them, you have deep and meaningful connections? And, do you have a close love relationship that is truly intimate – and not just sexually?
If you weren’t a resounding “Yes!” to the above questions, then how can you develop your own emotional and relational skills – and deepen the connection in your relationships – as well as make room for attracting an emotionally healthy romantic partner if you do not already have one?
I can help a little in responding to the above question, since people come to me all of the time asking something similar.I will briefly give some thoughts about some specific areas to focus on – beginning with the arena of love. True love evolves when there are two different people who let down their defenses to be vulnerable with each other and learn to value and appreciate one another even with their differences. It goes without saying that to be able to do this, each in the relationship must have a healthy connection with his/her own inner self. That means that we need to begin by discovering who we truly are, step into our wholeness and learn to love and appreciate our own selves first.
And from this place, we can then be able to learn the interpersonal skills needed for a healthy relationship, since these can then spring from a foundation of autonomy and self-worth. For example, we will need to be able to set healthy boundaries and have the skills to be able to work through the tough areas when a break down occurs. (For starters, the latter would require deep listening skills as well as be able to negotiate our needs with respect.) These are just a few emotional and relational skills in the arena of love relationships.
And, with regards to building deep friendships: we still need to know who we truly are and step into our wholeness. From here, we can have the confidence to explore what we love and are passionate about to then be motivated to get involved with groups or organizations that espouse these areas, which would allow us to meet like-minded people for potential friendships. Skills such as deep listening and setting boundaries with respect are still very important even in friendships.
For both kinds of relationships, we set an intention for these relationships to help us grow – and be a better person because of them. As well-known novelist, Paulo Coelho said, “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
Who wants a world that is void of deep connections with others – in which we become slaves to our devices – maybe even addicted to romantic AI bots? Love and deep connection are what make our lives profound and meaningful.
 
So, let’s all do our part to not allow technology to annex what makes life worth living on this Earth.
 
Our ailing society depends on this.
 
The quality of your life is contingent upon this.

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Romantic AI Bots: Canary in the Coal Mine?

Can you relate to this scenario in any way? Your alarm goes off – and you glance over to see your spouse lying next to you – and the first thought you think is, “Who the heck is that?!” But then, your memories come flooding back & you remind yourself to feel grateful he/she is in your life. You get out of bed – and another thought flashes through your mind, “I hope he doesn’t wake up, so I can have my morning to myself.” And, the week goes on like this – with the two of you being ships passing in the night.

What Makes for an Extraordinary Romantic Relationship?

The beginnings of a romance and relationship can be so beautiful! We’re carried away with love & attraction! The honeymoon stage is truly a gift to humankind. If we didn’t have it, we would never have coupledom, let alone join to create a family! The creative works of poets, philosophers, musicians and artists have been inspired by this ecstatic stage for thousands of years.

Romantic AI Bots: Canary in the Coal Mine?

Can you relate to this scenario in any way? Your alarm goes off - and you glance over to see your spouse lying next to you - and the first thought you think is, “Who the heck is that?!” But then, your memories come flooding back & you remind yourself to feel grateful he/she is in your life. You get out of bed - and another thought flashes through your mind, “I hope he doesn’t wake up, so I can have my morning to myself.” And, the week goes on like this - with the two of you being ships passing in the night.
In the recent past, I worked with a few couples because, in each, one of the spouses was addicted to an AI bot on Replika – and it was adversely affecting their relationship. It was alarming to me to hear about Replika’s personalized AI bots. With some investigation, I discovered that Replika has a growing customer base of over 2 million customers. Their AI bots can learn many things about the user – and create a sense of close relationship. And, for a higher fee, it can become a romantic partner. And Replika is not the only AI bot with such capabilities. From what I could find, there are a quite a few companies developing their own AI bots – and even AI dolls. To name a few: OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Character.ai and Kuki.
And just to give you a little understanding of how one of these personalized AI bots works, when someone purchases one of these “personal friend or romantic partner” bots, they need to basically build the programming so that the AI becomes very familiar with his/her personality, likes and dislikes. Basically, the bot is in service to the user. The AI bot is a projection of one’s self onto a false “other.” And, if you were to use an AI bot for any length of time, it can be very easy to begin to believe this “other” loves you, but it is a total illusion. All this bot really is – is a sophisticated language model based upon what you share with it.
A truly intimate healthy relationship between two people takes effort, skills and persistence for a healthy “we” to develop in which there is respect of the differences but also deep love, caring, trust and a genuine appreciation of one another. Among the many skills needed to develop a healthy relationship, the ability to get outside of ourselves to truly understand another as well as respect this person’s different reality is essential.
As a long-time relationship counselor and love coach, I have seen a trend of people’s capacity to develop lasting healthy happy relationships waning as the number and sophistication of digital devices have soared. People are discarding a love interest the second there is a challenge of any sort as one might discard a shirt they’re tired of. In addition to struggling to find and create healthy romantic relationships, many have even lost the art of making and sustaining close friendships. Friendships and community are the hallmarks of a fulfilled life, so the absence of these can have us feeling hollow and without purpose.
With such a decline in quality relational connections as well as so many people spending the majority of their lives glued to their devices, it is not surprising that there is a market to replace close relationships with digital “learning models” in AI bots. Jodi Halpern, a professor of bioethics at the University of California at Berkeley, said, “Corporations shouldn’t be making money off artificial intelligence software that has such powerful impacts on people’s love and sex lives. The products are not simply amusing pieces of technology. These things become addictive.”
What is this doing to our capacity to connect with another human being – to have empathy for others, to be able to listen to fully understand another point of view and to navigate differences of needs and preferences? Renowned child psychiatrist, Bruce D. Perry, said in his book Born for Love, “People are starving for a relational connection but are losing the capacity to develop this. The part of our brain that allows us to have the interpersonal and emotional intelligence to connect with others is being underdeveloped. When someone has such a relational poverty, this leads to being emotionally stunted – which then leads to self-absorption, a lack of empathy, inability to collaborate, bullying and disengagement from civic involvement.”
It is a fact that nothing can take the place of true connection with another human being. Nothing. Psychotherapist Esther Perel said, “The quality of your life ultimately depends on the quality of your relationships.” So, the key to decreasing this alarming trend of “relational poverty” is to have healthy positive connections with others – and to develop the skills to form and maintain solid relationships – both intimate love relationships and close friendships.
It is time for us to pay attention to this canary in the coal mine of people flocking to purchase the services of AI bots for friendships and romance – starting with ourselves. Maybe you aren’t tempted to sign on for a romantic AI bot, but take a look at all of your relationships. Would you say that in at least some of them, you have deep and meaningful connections? And, do you have a close love relationship that is truly intimate – and not just sexually?
If you weren’t a resounding “Yes!” to the above questions, then how can you develop your own emotional and relational skills – and deepen the connection in your relationships – as well as make room for attracting an emotionally healthy romantic partner if you do not already have one?
I can help a little in responding to the above question, since people come to me all of the time asking something similar.I will briefly give some thoughts about some specific areas to focus on – beginning with the arena of love. True love evolves when there are two different people who let down their defenses to be vulnerable with each other and learn to value and appreciate one another even with their differences. It goes without saying that to be able to do this, each in the relationship must have a healthy connection with his/her own inner self. That means that we need to begin by discovering who we truly are, step into our wholeness and learn to love and appreciate our own selves first.
And from this place, we can then be able to learn the interpersonal skills needed for a healthy relationship, since these can then spring from a foundation of autonomy and self-worth. For example, we will need to be able to set healthy boundaries and have the skills to be able to work through the tough areas when a break down occurs. (For starters, the latter would require deep listening skills as well as be able to negotiate our needs with respect.) These are just a few emotional and relational skills in the arena of love relationships.
And, with regards to building deep friendships: we still need to know who we truly are and step into our wholeness. From here, we can have the confidence to explore what we love and are passionate about to then be motivated to get involved with groups or organizations that espouse these areas, which would allow us to meet like-minded people for potential friendships. Skills such as deep listening and setting boundaries with respect are still very important even in friendships.
For both kinds of relationships, we set an intention for these relationships to help us grow – and be a better person because of them. As well-known novelist, Paulo Coelho said, “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
Who wants a world that is void of deep connections with others – in which we become slaves to our devices – maybe even addicted to romantic AI bots? Love and deep connection are what make our lives profound and meaningful.
 
So, let’s all do our part to not allow technology to annex what makes life worth living on this Earth.
 
Our ailing society depends on this.
 
The quality of your life is contingent upon this.

Share:

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Kim Von Berg / Thriving Loving Relationships

Kim Von Berg / Thriving Loving Relationships

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Episode 21

Introducing a new & improved format for The Ultimate Love Show! Podcast host and Relationship Expert, Kim Von Berg, has decided to come out behind