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Google Engineer: ‘Human-Artificial Intelligence Romance Possible in 15 Years’

Google’s director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, has boldly predicted humans will be pursuing love matches with artificial intelligence (AI) by the year 2029. Using the popular Oscar-nominated Spike Jonze film ‘Her’ to stake his claims, Kurzweil said in a post on his website that he believes much of the human and AI interaction depicted on the screen will be a reality in the near-future.

Kurzweil acknowledged that some of the technical ‘toys’ of the seen  film are a reality today,”such as the flat-panel displays, notebooks and mobile devices.”

Other items featured he projected could be a reality in less than ten years. “I would place some of the elements in Jonze’s depiction at around 2020 … such as the diffident and insulting video game character he interacts with and the pin-sized cameras that one can place like a freckle on one’s face,” he continued.

The AI star  and love interest of the film, Samantha, the Kurzweil projected could be a ready for love in as little as 15 years.

“Samantha  herself I would place at 2029, when the leap to human-level AI would be reasonably believable,” the Google engineer added.

He also said that the fact that Samantha does not have a body in the film, would likely not be a problem for future human-level AIs.

“A lot of the dramatic tension is provided by the fact that Theodore’s love interest does not have a body,” he pointed out, making the connection to the AI featured in the film somewhat removed than love with a ‘real’ human. However, he said that while the movie exploits this idea as a narrative device, he called it “an unrealistic notion,” given the predicted advances in technology.

” It would be technically trivial in the future to provide her a virtual visual presence to match her virtual auditory presence, using lens-mounted displays, for example, that display images onto Theodore’s retinas,” he said, explaining the future technology would be able to match the voice with a virtual body for human-AI interaction.

He also stressed that this virtual technology would likely exist at the same time a Samantha level AI became a reality, and insisted that a virtual body for an AI love interest would be “completely convincing by the time an AI of the level of Samantha is feasible,” or in as little as 15 years.

Photo Credit: Screenshot from ‘Her’/Low-Res via Junkee.com


About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.