HomeArtificial IntelligenceOne in three people is lonely. Will AI help or make...

One in three people is lonely. Will AI help or make things worse?

ChatGPT has repeatedly made headlines since its release late last yr, with various Scholars and professionals exploring its potential applications each at work and at work Training Settings. However, one area that receives less attention is the tool's usefulness as a conversation partner and, dare we are saying it, as a possible friend.

Some chatbots have left a worrying impression. Microsoft's Bing chatbot alerted users earlier this yr when it threatened and tried to blackmail them.

But popular culture has long conjured visions of autonomous systems that coexist with us as social companions Rosie the robot from “The Jetsons” or the super-intelligent AI Samantha from the 2013 film Her. Will we develop similar emotional attachments to recent and upcoming chatbots? And is that healthy?

While generative AI itself is comparatively recent, the areas of belonging and human-computer interaction are relatively recent reasonably well exploredwith results which will surprise you.

Our latest research shows that at a time when one in three Australians experience loneliness, there could possibly be room for AI to fill gaps in our social lives. That assumes we don't use it to switch people.

Can you be friends with a robot?

Since the popularization of the Internet, scientists have been discussing how AI could possibly be used to switch or complement human relationships.

When social media became popular a couple of decade later, interest in the sphere exploded. The 2021 Nobel Prize-winning book Klara and the sun examines how humans and life-like machines can form meaningful relationships.

And as interest grew, so did concern Proof that belonging (and subsequently loneliness) could be influenced through the usage of technology. Excessive use of technology (gaming, web, mobile devices and social media) has been linked to higher risk in some studies social anxiety and loneliness. But others Research suggests The impact depends heavily on who uses the technology and the way often they use it.

Research has also found that some online role-playing game players appear to do that experience less loneliness online than in the actual world – and that folks who’ve a sense for it Belonging to a gaming platform more likely that I’ll proceed to make use of it.

All of this means that the usage of technology can have a positive impact on loneliness, that it has the potential to switch human support, and that it becomes more enticing the more an individual uses it.

On the opposite hand, this evidence comes from tools designed for a selected purpose (e.g. the aim of a game is entertainment) reasonably than tools designed to support human connection (e.g. AI “therapy” tools ).

The rise of the robot companions

As researchers in technology, leadership, and psychology, we desired to explore how ChatGPT might impact people's feelings of loneliness and support. And most significantly, does it have a net positive profit to users' well-being and belonging?

To investigate this, we surveyed 387 participants about their use of AI, in addition to their overall experiences of social connection and support. We found this:

  • Participants who used AI more often tended to feel more supported by their AI than people whose support got here primarily from close friends
  • The more often a participant used AI, the upper their feeling of social support from the AI
  • The more a participant felt socially supported by AI, the lower their sense of support from close family and friends
  • Although this is just not the case in all places, on average people's social support was the largest predictor of lower loneliness.

AI friends are fantastic, but you continue to need people

Overall, our results suggest that social support can come from either humans or AI – and that working with AI can actually help people.

However, since human social support was the biggest predictor of reduced loneliness, it is probably going that the underlying feelings of loneliness can only be addressed through human contact. Simply put, completely replacing in-person friendships with robot friendships could actually result in greater loneliness.

However, we also found that participants who felt socially supported by AI looked as if it would experience similar effects on their well-being as those that were supported by humans. This is consistent with previous research on online gambling mentioned above. While being friends with AI may not combat loneliness, it will possibly still help us feel connected, which is best than nothing.

Taking that away

Our research suggests that social support from AI could be positive, however it doesn't provide all the advantages of social support from other people – especially in relation to loneliness.

When used moderately, a relationship with an AI bot could provide positive functional and emotional advantages. But the secret’s to grasp that while it could make you are feeling supported, it probably won't enable you construct enough of a way of belonging to stop you from feeling lonely.

So be sure that you furthermore mght exit and make real human connections. These provide an innate sense of belonging that even probably the most advanced AI cannot (for now) achieve.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read