Reading this article last week about robot caregivers and thinking about the empathic side of AI – a gentler HAL. I was reminded of the Guidestar system and Jerry from the movie War, Inc. Not sure if this was meant to be a machine or a voice call to a human – I like to think it was a machine.  The move is satire in the same category as Idiocracy in which the Green Zone in Baghdad has been renamed “The Emerald City.” Jerry’s voice is Montel Williams.

The second interaction is the best, in which Hauser (John Cusack) tells Jerry that he feels like a morally twisted character from a Céline novel. The juxtaposition of Céline + Hauser’s therapy session with a bot in a private jet is genius.

This area of machine / human mediated interactions is fascinating to me. It feels like this is what people ultimately want, but seems like it will nearly impossible to achieve, given the complexity of human emotion, but also the fact that the scientists working in this field are not the most emotionally intelligent humans (I’m generalizing).

Case in point, I noticed yesterday one of the engineers at work wearing a t-shirt with the message: “Social engineering specialist: Because there is no patch for human stupidity.”

There is probably a good talk on this topic as it relates to designing these interactions… if I were ever motivated to speak (much less attend) another design conference.

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