AI Doesn’t Always Need To Be More Human There’s no shortage of ethical, moral, and even legal debates raging right now over artificial intelligence’s mimicry of humanity. As technology advances, companies continue to push the boundaries with virtual assistants and conversational AI, striving in most cases to more closely approximate real-life person-to-person interactions. The implication is that “more human” is better.

AI doesn’t need to be more human to serve human needs. It’s time for companies to stop obsessing over how closely their AI approximates real people and start focusing on the real strengths that this transformative technology can bring to consumers, businesses, and society.

Our compulsion to personify

The desire to strive for more humanity within technology is understandable. As a species, we’ve long taken pleasure in the personification of animals and inanimate objects, whether it’s chuckling when you see a dog wearing a tiny top hat or doodling a smiley face on a steamy bathroom mirror. Such small modifications can cause people to instinctively react more warmly to an otherwise non-human entity. In fact, a team of researchers in the UK found that simply attaching an image of eyeballs to a supermarket donation bucket prompted a 48 percent increase in contributions.

On the AI side, consider Magic Leap’s Mica, a shockingly lifelike and responsive virtual assistant who makes eye contact, smiles, and even yawns. A company spokesperson says Mica represents Magic Leap’s effort “to see how far we could push systems to create digital human representations.” But to what end? Just because people might toss more spare change into a donation bucket with eyes doesn’t mean personification of lifeless objects or concepts is always a good idea. If fact, it’s more likely to backfire on companies than you might think.AI Doesn’t Always Need To Be More Human

But that’s not necessarily the case. READ MORE ON: VENTURE BEAT

 Image Credit: John M Lund Photography/Getty Images

Image Credit: John M Lund Photography/Getty Images