Soul Machines is breaking futuristic ground with its series of lifelike, emotionally intelligent, artificial humans. The New Zealand-based company hopes to revolutionize the way we interact with AI by making robots as human-like as possible. These artificial humans actually have virtual brain stems that release virtual versions of feel-good chemicals in our brains, such as dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. These chemicals are meant to create more genuine, human-like reactions within the artificial humans.

These artificial humans, like Ava, are different from other AI ventures because they recognize our emotional expressions and adapt their own responses accordingly. They also have facial movements that are advanced enough to display even subtle emotional expressions. Soul Machines thinks these characteristics make it possible for humans to forge real emotional connections with AI bots. Not only that, people will want to talk to them, confide in them, learn from them, and become friends with them.

Do you think it’s important for AI to be emotionally engaged and as human-like as possible? What role would AI ideally serve in a society? Answer these questions and more on Vialogues.

Excerpts from the discussion:

@00:33 Melanie Hering: I believe AI should serve society, not become it. AI can assist humans in being more effective, more efficient, more precise, more many things, but the moment we replicate ourselves in it, we lose our control to decide its role. If you seek social and emotional connections with AI, you're playing a fool's game of imitating human relationships, the foundation of our existence. It just seems so unnecessary to me.

@03:05 Ryan Allen: The movie Her had a pretty depressing moral to the story. I don't think we should be chasing that model.