Virtual Love

With the release of the trailer for Spike Jonze’s up and coming film “Her” (Her Official Trailer), we thought we’d take a look at the likelihood of anyone falling in love with their virtual assistant.

Ever since we launched our first web based virtual assistant the logs have shown a wide range of flirtatious comments from users. Some people compliment the VA on their looks, others ask them out right for a date after work, and yet others suggest somewhat more saucy activities but so far we don’t think anyone has become besotted with an avatar.

I asked Elbot if he thought he could fall in love with a human and after some discussion about the merits of falling in love with a human, including the fact that they could be useful for polishing robots he finally said that the way to a robot’s heart is through careful use of units of counting. That’s a no then.

Ida, who works at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, just pointed out that she was a robot, not a human. When I pursued the point, she only wanted to answer questions to do with her work. So much for romance.

I thought I was getting somewhere with Eve at Yellowstrom, she said as much or as little as you like. But when I asked if she wanted to go out on a date, she just turned the conversation back to the energy they could supply.

However, Her is said to be a film reflective of the modern age and a web based customer service assistant certainly has a different view point to a mobile personal assistant. At Artificial Solutions we definitely envisage that the virtual assistant will become more personal and be able to intuitively understand an individual’s preferences to ensure a response tailored to their needs.

Whether that is likely over time to grow into the type of relationship that Her envisages will probably only be determined by how far artificial intelligence in consumer devices develops. However even today we all mourn the loss of a favourite device or appliance when it stops working, it’s just that the feeling is all one sided.

When I asked our natural language app if she loved me she said, “she loved my company that’s for sure”. Well it’s a step up from the other responses, perhaps she’ll learn to love me with time.


Andy, who lives with his family in the UK, is Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Artificial Solutions. A regular speaker at industry conferences and events, Andy delivers insight on the rise of AI, the challenges businesses face and the future of intelligent conversational applications.

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