Spoiler alert: it turned me down. But that’s far from the only thing I learned while playing around with the bot that the world has fallen in love with so badly.
When it was unleashed into an astonished world on November 30th 2022, ChatGPT became the fastest-growing web app ever, reaching a million users in the first five days before going on to clock 100 million monthly active users in January of this year. In so doing, the chatbot has captured the public’s imagination like little else and will be remembered as the first big trend of 2023. Needless to say, it is here to stay well beyond this year, having ushered in a new era for much more than “just” chatbots.
Given the bot’s abilities, it’s not surprising that people from various walks of life are left wondering if, one day, tech such as ChatGPT (and, indeed, artificial intelligence further down the line) will take over their jobs. But that’s not the only question occupying our minds – we’re also wondering how the tool’s ability to engage in a human-like conversation might impact our personal lives.
So, are we about to be replaced by some low-maintenance and highly eloquent tool? Who better to ask than the chatbot itself? So I did, and its virtual lips said something like “no”. So far so reassuring.
But since today is Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t help wading into somewhat more precarious territory and sounding the bot out on its “sentiments” about future prospects for human-technology relations(hips). Here’s my slightly irreverent take on this interplay.
Going on a date with ChatGPT gone wrong?
Why beat around the bush, right? Let’s “chat the chatbot up”. Turns out, the bot might indeed be reasonably available for a “functional relationship.” Just be wary of setting your expectations too high.
Now, what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by asking ChatGPT to be my Valentine, right? What could possibly go wrong? I genuinely thought I couldn’t be rejected.
But boy was I wrong! The model’s “ethical standards” seem so high that it wouldn’t even pretend to be going on a date so that I could brag about it!
ChatGPT’s resounding (and somewhat thoughtful) rejection did come with a bit of a caveat. While the bot wouldn’t “pretend” going on a date in the interest of keeping me honest with my friends, it didn’t mind “simulating” going on a date with me. I didn’t bat an eye and jumped right in!
At this point, it was pretty evident that ChatGPT is adamant that it does not have the ability to “like someone”. Instead, it focuses on what it can do best anyway – answer questions and provide information in a conversational manner.
However, not only was ChatGPT willing to bypass its own ethical limitations as long as I asked it only to “simulate” a date, but it seemed to be very much aware of how it envisioned a perfect first date.
Should we be scared?
As ChatGPT says, “It is still uncertain what the future of AI-human relationships will be.” And potentially, as AI models are integrated into human-like robots taught to display specific behaviors, the consequences might be beyond our imagination. For now.
So, while it’s clear that not only our professional but also our personal lives might be impacted by AI models, let’s turn the question around: Can technology such as AI improve human relationships? ChatGPT seems to be quite optimistic about the possibility:
To test the soundness of ChatGPT’s advice, I described two common scenarios and asked the model for advice in navigating them:
But the risks are real
Now on a more serious note. As ChatGPT set the internet ablaze in late 2022, it didn’t take long for the first alarm bells to start ringing, too.
For example, dating scammers (and apparently actual online daters, too) wasted no time in taking advantage of the tool – for example, to create convincing fake personas and to message their “love interests”. In essence, such bots are programmed to react quickly to the messages sent by the users of dating profiles, mimicking a real person and requesting such simple information as a user’s name, address, phone number, and email address.
These well-trained bots can be easily co-opted for collecting enough personal data to launch other successful scams or even to make direct money requests in an attempt to net an easy profit for their creators. At the same time, fake profiles like these can be used to spread malicious links and files.
Here are 10 red flags to help you spot not only fake social media and dating app profiles, but scammers in general:
- Be cautious of profiles that seem too good to be true, particularly if the person’s profile picture looks as if it were taken by a professional photographer.
- Be wary of profiles that lack important information, such as a bio or a list of interests.
- Do not give out personal information, such as your full name or your financial details, until you have met a person in person.
- Be cautious of people who claim to have a lot of money or a high-paying job, but still ask you to help them financially.
- Look out for people who ask for money, no matter the reason they provide for needing it.
- Be wary of people who claim to be experiencing an emergency and say they need you to make a money transfer immediately, or of anyone claiming to be military personnel who requests help with a package they’re trying to send over to you. Both are common tactics used by scammers.
- Be wary of people who seem to be moving too fast in the relationship.
- Be skeptical of people who use overly formal or overly romantic language in their messages.
- Remember that technology is constantly evolving, and that scammers are also continuously adapting their methods. It is, therefore, essential to be vigilant at all times, even when a person’s profile seems like a perfect match for you.
- If you realize you’re dealing with a romance scammer, report them to the dating app to stop the scam from harming other people.
Oh! I almost forgot – the gift!
Since one of the hardest parts for anyone celebrating Valentine’s Day is figuring out how best to show your affection for that special someone in your life, I reached out to ChatGPT for advice:
I take it as a yes.
Happy (and scam-free) Valentine’s Day!
When love hurts: Watch out for romance scams this Valentine’s Day
How romance scammers break your heart – and your bank account
by André Lameiras, ESET