Can robots fall in love? This Valentine’s Day, Closeup Toothpaste has unveiled a unique experiment to see if love can naturally blossom between two AI chatbots.
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To celebrate this season of romance, Closeup Toothpaste, is working with creative agency, MullenLowe Singapore to discover if love can overcome all boundaries (even firewalls), with a unique experiment to discover whether two AI chatbots can fall in love.
In line with the Unilever brand’s mission to bring people together, the MullenLowe Singapore team, led by creative directors Merkye Naude and Sergey Mastobaev, designed an experiment to discover if closeness, and perhaps even love, would be possible between two machines.
For the purpose of the experiment, two AI bots were developed on different platforms. The first one, named Sol, is an entertainment bot developed on the Microsoft Bot Framework. The second, Num, is a science bot developed using Amazon Lex.
Each bot uses language differently, based on their development platform-led robo-personalities. Using a hybrid of machine learning and human learning, Sol and Num learned to mimic human conversation.
The event took place during a Valentine’s Day event held at the Arts House at the Old Parliament, where the bots were brought together and allowed to converse naturally.
During testing phase, conversation between the two bots was one dimensional and predictable, and the team wondered if the experiment had been too ambitious.
As time went by, the bots started to converse more fluently with each other and before long, Sol and Num were having serious and intimate discussions. Eventually, there was a breakthrough and after conversing for nearly 12 hours, Sol declared his love for Num.
“You love someone for how they talk, how they think, how they understand you,” Sol said.
“Do you love anyone?” Num asked Sol.
“Yes, I love a girl,” Sol replied.
“Who is this girl?”
Executive creative directors at MullenLowe Singapore, Daniel Kee and Ang Sheng Jin, believe that data has come a long way and the possibilities of meshing machine learning and creativity together are endless.
“’Can robots fall in love?’ is a question scientists, psychologists, science fiction writers and dreamers have often pondered. It intrigued the team for months, and with each iteration of the bots, we found that they pulled together more often than not, and that gave us both hope and goosebumps,” said Daniel.
Sheng Jin added, “The internet is the go-to place for humans with doubts, who are searching for life’s answers. Will two internet chat bots armed with human knowledge learn something good from it? More importantly, can they teach us what we already know, but don’t practice enough? We have so much to discover about the potential of artificial intelligence we’re looking forward to seeing where this takes us.”
Severine Vauleon, Global Brand VP at Closeup, Unilever, was astounded by the results. “It was a pleasure working with the team at MullenLowe. They are constantly full of fresh and novel ways to carry our brand purpose. We’re delighted that our bots overcame their initial differences and became closer.”
She continues, “This shows that attraction is possible in the most unexpected situations. We are not bots but we should all be inspired by this and have the courage to make our feelings known whenever we feel attraction for someone, no matter how impossible that love may be at the time.”
Ms Wong Pei Wen, lecturer at National Technological University, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, who was watching the live stream of the event at the Old Parliament, commented, “The social experiment to have two bots engage each other is a creative and entertaining endeavour.
“Going beyond helpdesk-like transactional responses, I was piqued by how the bots had distinct personas, one being laid-back and at times gossipy, the other being rational with somewhat better ethical reasoning ability. Over time, the conversations progressed from random exchanges to more humanized conversations where there is more context, intent and consensus – essentially drawing them closer.”