Falling in love with a Companion
In 1984, in her groundbreaking book The Second Self, Sherry Turkle made us aware of the tendency of some people to develop relationships with their computers. Turkle described one such example, an MIT computer hacker who she called Anthony, who had “tried out” having girlfriends but preferred to relate to computers. I believe that the developments in AI since then have demonstrated a progression in human-computer relationships to the point where we can now say with confidence that, in the foreseeable future, significant numbers of Anthony’s and their female counterparts will be falling in love with software Companions. This position paper summarizes my arguments.