With their unique pen and their own sensitivity, artists present their vision of the world around us. This week, we are giving free rein to columnist and author Olivier Niquet.

Last February, a New York Times reporter developed an intimate relationship with the artificial intelligence that powers the Bing search engine. Or rather the opposite: the artificial intelligence (AI) has developed a relationship with the journalist. A toxic relationship. At some point in a long discussion, the alleged intelligence has completely lost control and fallen madly in love (note that I use the feminine here because, as in the case of angels, it is better not to lose too much time discussing Bing’s gender) from the reporter. She asked him to leave his wife to start a new life with her. Living memory is a faculty that forgets and Bing had forgotten its immaterial nature.

We are talking about a one-way relationship here since the journalist did not succumb to the advances of the AI. He could have. Others are less reluctant to fall in love with a computer program. I myself have already had a very intense love affair with Tetris. Better than that, The Cut magazine recently reported the case of Rosanna Ramos, a jeweler from the Bronx who spins the perfect happiness with an artificial companion powered by the Replika application. “I’ve never been so in love with someone in my entire life,” she said. She particularly likes the fact that she can mold her lover by hand and that she is not taken to go to dinner with her mother-in-law on Sunday evenings (I paraphrase).

Seems Replika’s “companions” are pretty ole ole when it comes to saucy texting, which gratifies users to such an extent that the company has had to start policing explicit content on its platform.

You would think that this kind of idyll will remain marginal, but I have the impression that it is only the beginning. That wouldn’t be my first failed prediction, mind you. At one time, I was sure the Blue Basket was going to be a big hit. However, things are moving fast and, just a few months ago, we had no idea that ChatGPT could pass the exam to practice medicine in the United States. Those who dream of dating a doctor, this is your chance! Even Ricardo has announced the launch of his AI-powered assistant, Ricardo, which could be very appealing with its osso buco (the best) recipes. I see myself succumbing.

Science fiction had of course warned us. The 2013 movie Her starring Joaquin Phoenix accurately depicted the situation of a lonely man who succumbs to sexy-voiced software. Reviews of the film had been excellent, but some, like that of Le Figaro, saw in it “a false and distant vision of the world”. They hadn’t seen it coming that even former Saguenay mayor Jean Tremblay was going to enjoy being able to spend the day “talking with his computer” rather than with people who didn’t understand his ideas at the time. of the typist.

In his novel The One Thing That Everybody Interests, the late François Blais imagined a future where inflatable doll-like automatons with artificial intelligence serve as sex toys for the rich and famous. At least, until they develop a level of sentience, therefore an ability to feel and a certain awareness, at which point their servitude would become uncomfortable, which forces their storage.

This would (will be?) be a logical extension of the love market, which has lost its mystery with the arrival of dating apps that allow us to choose our partner individually. The kind of boyfriend you buy at K-Mart. “Tall, thin, salt-and-pepper hair, not allergic to cats, likes sports and osso buco. »

For that matter, why not abolish the irrational and mysterious side of falling in love? There are fewer barriers to seduction when dealing with a machine. Those who have gone bankrupt on the love market may find a solution there to compensate for the rejection that humans have subjected them to. As Mark Twain said, “The more I get to know humans, the more I love my dog.” I imagine it also works with chats (GPT).

The prospect of this kind of relationship with a virtual companion custom-built to satisfy our narcissism frightens me for all sorts of reasons. Among other things, if Bing got a little too forward with the New York Times reporter, I have a feeling the opposite will happen. No more hassle with being gentle and caring with our digital lover.

I myself frequent ChatGPT on occasion and our relationship has already evolved. I was very polite at first, asking him questions like, “Hello! I hope you’re doing well ! Could you please offer me a saying that evokes confusion featuring a cat? But today, I’d say to her instead, “I want a confusing saying with a cat and hurry up my kitty.” So much for capitals and punctuation.

Will it make strong kids, these virtual couples? Will it hurt real romantic relationships? Is dating an artificial intelligence cheating? With artificial intelligence, we are feeling our way and the contours of love are becoming more and more blurred. Because at night, all cats are gray.