Virtual love is in the air right now, and I don’t know what to make of it.
Two chatbots are making small talk with the aim of falling in love just in time for Valentine’s Day. One is called Sol, an entertainment bot based on the Microsoft Bot Framework, and the other is Num, a science bot developed on Amazon Lex.
The chatbots are currently on display at Singapore’s The Arts House @ Old Parliament. The exhibition is a joint effort from Unilever’s Closeup Toothpaste brand and creative agency MullenLowe Singapore. It’s streaming 24 hours a day and will run until both bots fall in love.
But how do you define love between chatbots? I spoke to Sergey Mastobaev, an associate creative director at MullenLowe, who told me what to keep an eye out for. When the chatbots start using closer words and asking about each other, we’ll know there’s a spark there. If we’re lucky, they may even mention the L word.
Mastobaev expects both chatbots to fall in love before midnight tonight (local time), but he’s prepared to let them keep running until romance blossoms. The project has been six months in development, and earlier test runs have shown that it’s possible for the bots to make a connection. The difficulty lies in identifying when the magic moment happens, since the voices of both chatbots don’t exactly convey the same emotions we do when we talk about love.
The dialogue is pretty much what you’d expect of a robot courtship, with Num spouting out facts and Sol basically trying to be cool. So far their small talk has included such conversational gems as “Gender is a social construct” and “We process just enough technology and smarts to stay ahead of any foreseeable event except maybe a giant meteor strike gamma ray buster or some kind of solar flare.”
Check out the live stream below.
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