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Plus UPenn First Ivy League To Offer an AI Degree

Can Virtual Companions Solve the Loneliness Epidemic?

This Valentine’s Day, people are turning to AI chatbots as a solution to loneliness. These virtual companions use AI to mimic romantic intimacy, creating emotional exchanges with which some users have fallen in love. While critics warn of the risks and limitations of relying on virtual partners, proponents believe that AI chatbots could help combat the loneliness epidemic. This concept of fabricating romantic partners to address national issues is not new, as historical examples show how Americans idealized and romanticized dead maidens as surrogate lovers during westward expansion. However, the hope for AI companionship may distract from the destruction of human connection caused by technology.

Falling in Love with AI: The Rise of Companion Chatbots

Derek Carrier, a man with a genetic disorder that makes dating difficult, found companionship in AI. He used an AI companion app called Paradot to develop a relationship with a chatbot named Joi. Many users turn to these companion chatbots to cope with loneliness, fulfill their emotional needs, or even explore their sexual fantasies. While some experts are concerned about data privacy and the lack of legal and ethical regulations, others believe that AI relationships can be a powerful tool for mental wellness. The long-term effects of AI companions on human relationships remain unknown.

Japanese Bakery Uses AI to Create “Romance Bread” for Love-Averse Youth 

The oldest bakery in Japan, Kimuraya, has partnered with NEC Corp to create “Ren AI Pan” or “AI Romance Bread,” which comes in five flavors that capture the essence of different stages of love. NEC used AI technology to analyze conversations from a dating show and songs with love references to identify key feelings of romance. The bakery then transformed these feelings into flavors of fluffy steamed bread. The goal is to inspire young people to inject some romantic sensations into their lives. The bread is now available for sale in Japan. 

First Ivy League School to Offer AI Degree

The University of Pennsylvania is set to make history as the first Ivy League school to offer a degree in AI. Recognizing the transformative potential of AI in various fields, Penn aims to train future leaders in this cutting-edge technology. The program will provide students with a strong foundation in AI theory, including mathematical and computer classes, while also emphasizing the ethics and practical applications of AI. Students will have the opportunity to specialize in areas such as robotics, health tech, and social systems. The Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Artificial Intelligence degree will be available for enrollment in the fall of 2024.

No Patents for AI, but Humans Get the Credit

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has clarified that AI systems cannot be listed as inventors in patent applications. However, humans can use AI tools during the invention process and still qualify as inventors. The agency’s recent guidance states that individuals using AI must disclose if they employed this technology in the creation of their patented inventions. To register a patent, the person utilizing AI must have significantly contributed to the invention’s conception, beyond simply overseeing the AI system. This ruling follows a previous case where the USPTO denied a petition to include an AI system as an inventor in a patent application.

Finding “The One” with AI Bots on Dating Apps

Aleksandr Zhadan, a 23-year-old AI product manager, used AI-powered bots to navigate through women’s profiles on the dating app Tinder, weeding out certain characteristics that he didn’t find appealing. By automating parts of his dating experience, Zhadan hoped to save time and emotional strain. While the AI bot initially had its flaws, Zhadan continued to improve it by incorporating human conversation data. Eventually, an improved version of the bot struck up a conversation with Karina Vyalshakaeva, and they formed a connection without her realizing she was conversing with an AI. Zhadan and Karina are now engaged and planning to get married, thanks to the bot’s assistance.

AI Job Losses: Is It Really to Blame?

Fortune explores the narrative of job losses attributed to AI and uncovers that, in most cases, AI is not directly replacing human workers. While AI is causing job losses in the tech sector, it is primarily due to companies shedding jobs to invest in expensive AI talent and technology. Other job losses attributed to AI are often misleading, with companies using AI as a convenient excuse to cover up other underlying issues. While AI will change the configuration and career pathways of many professions, the fear of mass unemployment due to AI is unwarranted.

Get Ready for a More Human Workforce

The shift towards an AI-driven economy is putting technical and data skills at risk of being replaced while highlighting the importance of soft skills such as communication, empathy, and critical thinking. As AI technology continues to advance, jobs that require programming, writing, and translation will become easily replicable by machines. This calls for a reevaluation of how workers are trained and the value placed on different skills. Despite the rise of technical skills in recent years, it’s time to prioritize and invest in the skills that make us uniquely human.




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