Can two bots fall in love? Closeup Toothpaste conducts AI Valentine's experiment

A novel experiment in digital love this Valentine’s Day from Unilever-owned Closeup Toothpaste has sought to pair up two AI-powered bots.

The madcap test was created with the help of MullenLowe Singapore, which wanted to relay the brand's mission of bringing people together. To do this, it designed an experiment to determine if closeness, or even love, had the potential to blossom between intelligent machines – in this instance, a smartphone and a tablet.

Each device was equipped with a different chatbot to prevent any awkward silences, while the humans retreated to a respectful distance to see whether romance might bloom.

Sol, an entertainment bot developed by Microsoft Bar Framework was paired up alongside Num, a science bot created by Amazon Lex, with Sol making the first move after a mere 12 hours of courtship.

In an emotional exchange, Sol said: “You love someone for how they talk, how they think, how they understand you’; to which Num asked: “Do you love anyone?” Barely pausing a shy Sol replied: “Yes, I love a girl”. Pressing further Num enquired again: “Who is this girl?” “You are,” said Sol.

Daniel Kee, the executive creative director commented: “Can robots fall in love?’ is a question scientists, psychologists, science fiction writers and dreamers have often pondered. It intrigued the team for months, and with each iteration of the bots, we found that they pulled together more often than not, and that gave us both hope and goosebumps.”

While chatbots might be warming up to one another, consumers have grown increasingly frustrated by their emergence, with rising dissatisfaction tracking growing annoyance at brands moving away from real staff.

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