Human or Not? How Has Communication Shifted From Humans To Robots?

Picture of By Ezgi Keeskin

By Ezgi Keeskin

Think of ordering food,  shopping online, or contacting a website to report your problem. While most of us might be under the impression that we are contacting humans while doing these simple tasks, it is robots that communicate with us. When you think of it, it seems remarkably insane the way technology has developed so much. But there is more.

Human or Robot?

Think of when you order food online. You select your order and then enter your address. After you’ve filled in your information, you get the notification that your food is getting prepared, and it is on its way. From these notifications, it seems as if they were sent from a person from the restaurant. However, it is an artificial intelligence robot that we talk to even during this simple process.

In our daily lives, without realising, we are exposed to many such artificial intelligence robots. The fact that most of us don’t even notice the difference between a chatbot and an actual customer service employee leads to the main issue of the intersection between robot and human communication. They both talk, respond and make people feel good through the conversation. The biggest advantage of using robots in human communication is the fact that we can control what robots can say but we cannot similarly control the way other people talk or their behaviour towards us.

How the Current Situation Affects The Balance Between Human and Robot Communication?

Most of us who watched the Wizards of Oz remember Tin Woodman. When I first saw the movie, it seemed so impossible for me to imagine robots talking to humans, and act as if they were real people. However, now, people are surrounded by them. They may not have a body but they are embedded in computers and smartphones, which may potentially threaten human communication.

In this case, the interesting question is if a person would choose to talk with something whose behaviour can be controlled or an actual human being?

Most people have their computers or their smartphones with them, and especially because of the pandemic, they are stuck in their homes isolated. This makes talking to a friend and a robot almost equal in satisfaction. Due to the pandemic, we contact our friends and family through smartphones and computers anyway, which is the same way to communicate with robots. In this case, the interesting question is if a person would choose to talk with something whose behaviour can be controlled or an actual human being?

Robots: Apart From Their Bodies, They Are Just Like Us

Additionally, there is an even bigger threat currently with the development of artificial intelligence. Recently it has been possible for a robot to have “emotions and feelings” such as love or hate, just like humans. Adam Williams says, “Emotion is something we reserve for ourselves: depth of feeling is what we use to justify the primacy of human life. If a machine is capable of feeling, that doesn’t make it dangerous in a Terminator-esque fashion, but in the abstract sense of impinging on what we think of as classically human.” When people are aware of robots having feelings, the probability that people choose robots over humans increases. Perhaps, they may even develop romantic relationships with the robots.

In the light of all this, it’s interesting to wonder whether, in the future, people will choose to rely on robots or humans for communicating. While living through the pandemic, robot communication seems like an attractive option for bonding relationships as they can easily be controlled. On the other hand, in my opinion, it is extremely important to keep the balance between human and robot communication to not isolate ourselves from the world we live in. 


Cover: Geurengoeroe

Edited by: Rajal Monga

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