artificial intelligence To flirt with you. Helps Find an appointment. Become Your sweetheart. Or the one that becomes a companion and repository of your hopes and dreams. In this last category falls “a point“, which is a new artificial intelligence and chatbot that works to recognize your deepest thoughts and feelings, to serve as a “friend, companion, and confidant,” which is the name of the company. App Store Description He explains.

The idea sounds interesting: AI that becomes personalized to you and your interests, allowing it to offer advice and input that is not only generally applicable, but reflects what it learns about you through extensive question-and-answer sessions. Or, if you’re struggling in some areas like the fallout from a career change, says Jason Yuan, co-founder of Dot Experienced; To disperse; Or an obstacle to your success, Dot can listen sympathetically and offer support.

But Dot is not a person. He’s not a therapist or best friend. It’s an AI tool that mimics human speech and empathy, but it doesn’t act as a substitute for the real thing.

This is by design, the founders explain.

“The dot is not a substitute for human relationships, and it is not a substitute for friendships and partnerships. I think it’s a different kind of thing. It facilitates a relationship with my inner self,” Yuan told TechCrunch. “It’s like a living mirror of myself, so to speak.”

Image credits: New point/computer

It’s easy to get drawn into this experience, perhaps even more so, if your daily life lacks meaningful human interaction. Although Dot’s creators say the chatbot will eventually prompt you to talk to a mental health professional if you delve into “heavier” topics, one can imagine people spending increasing amounts of time expressing their feelings to Dot as they get used to Experience.

In this way, the team believes Dot can actually help Prime users experience human connection by making people feel comfortable opening up.

“I talk to my friends about a bunch of things, but I never — for the entire past year, if I was struggling at work, none of my friends knew about it,” Yuan said. “And by talking to Dot, it helped me build the muscle to be able to do this with other people. Its main purpose is to help you feel like your existence is…” Yuan continued, but paused again to find the right words. “It’s to give you a safe space to be and say, like, ‘I accept you, and maybe because I accept you, others will accept you, too.’”

There is something to be said about the state of the human condition in our desolate modern world, an area that technology is now looking to solve.

Image credits: New point/computer

To get started, Dot’s onboarding process asks a good set of “getting to know you”-type questions, which can be fun to answer: “What do you do at work?” “Favorite TV?” “How do you spend a typical Sunday?” And more

Using these answers as a starting point, the AI ​​then makes a big move to get to know you on a deeper level.

For example, a demonstrated interest in science fiction TV shows immediately leads to a question about whether you are “attracted to stories that explore the big questions in life, such as what it means to be human.” The desire to one day run a small business leads Dot to ask what appeals to you about being a small business owner and what kind of challenges you expect to face. Have you thought about ways in which you can meet these challenges? Dot wants to know.

When you prompt Dot to shoot down this train of thought — it’s just an aspirational dream, after all — the AI ​​immediately turns to asking you about… Your biggest priority or focus in your life and career right now.

Have you ever been on a first date that felt like an interview?

Even asking Dot to have a casual conversation results in her becoming overly interested in you.

Instead of asking if you want some recommendations for an upcoming vacation to tell the AI ​​about, Dot wants to know what you’re most interested in seeing and why you’re inspired to travel there, specifically. (Dot congratulates you on your choice of destination, too.)

In other words, Dot’s primary goal is to get to know you before it becomes a useful tool that helps you accomplish some task. He can only reach the latter by knowing who you are and what you like.

Image credits: New point/computer

“It’s not an either-or, it’s a matter of thinking [is] “In order to actually help you down this path, you have to understand your motivations and a little bit about what you want to get out of it,” co-founder Sam Whitmore said, referring to the example of vacation planning help. “You have to understand that you’re someone who wants maybe more of a cultural experience or more of an athletic experience and needs to know those things about you so that they can actually do the things that a regular assistant would do. That’s been one of our theses from the beginning.”

Although an obvious job has been done to make Dot seem empathetic and engaging, compared to typical AI tools, there’s also something weird about having meaningful conversations with a bot.

Dot, after all, isn’t really AI-friendly. It’s AI for you. Or rather, artificial intelligence that forces you to look at yourself, albeit through a seemingly ambiguous interface.One white female“Sometimes, instead of ‘Dear Diary’.” However, if you have never excelled at writing diaries or journal entries, Dot may be a way to express your thoughts and feelings in order to gain better insights into yourself.

“It’s meant to be a tool used for self-introspection, accountability, and personal growth — but not a relationship that replaces the human relationships in your life,” Whitmore said.

However, the line between those “real” relationships and the artificial relationship with Dot seems blurry at times.

Tell Dot something sad, and the AI ​​sympathizes: “I understand. Grief has its own timeline, and some days the weight of loss is heavier than others.

“Want to talk more about what’s on your mind? I’m here to listen,” the robot will say, waiting for further input.

Image credits: New point/computer

Under the hood, Dot leverages about 10 different MBA and AI models to achieve its imitation of human companionship, including models from OpenAI, Anthropic, Google, and others, as well as open source models.

He sometimes cites his sources — websites that talk about “the best wines for relaxation,” for example, when they suggest you might want to drink wine today — but will warn you to limit yourself to “maybe one glass” if you feel like it. under. However, more often than not, Dot is just chatting.

You can also zoom out of your daily conversations to see “logs” of your trip while talking with Dot, a subscriber-only feature priced at $11.99 per month. Subscribers can participate in unlimited conversations instead of being limited to a certain number of messages per week as well. In the unlimited level, Dot will never stop working. But it will, at some point, try to shut down the conversation by redirecting users to change the topic or even do something else.

“When Dot expresses that he is wrapping things up, [beta testers have been] It was like, “Okay, cool,” rather than feeling abandoned, Whitmore noted.

Although Dot’s personal conversations will provide valuable treasure to marketers, New Computer’s privacy policy claims that the data itself is not monetized, sold, or used to train AI. Instead, the company intends to generate income through subscriptions. Additionally, New Computer says data is encrypted both at rest and in transit, and users can request its deletion at any time from the app.

The iOS app, which was launched on Wednesday, has attracted thousands of users after closed beta trials over the past eight months.

Founded by a former Apple designer yuan And an engineer Whitmore, formerly head of engineering at Boston fintech Kensho, the startup behind Dot, known as “New Computer,” is backed by $3.7 million in seed funding from the OpenAI Fund, Lachy Groom, South Park Commons, and other angel investors. In addition to the founders, there are three other full-time employees at New Computer in San Francisco.

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