Watch out, Scarlett Johansson.
A computer program that can flirt with a person would “probably be quite simple” to make, Geoff Hinton, a prominent figure in the artificial intelligence community who works at Google, told the Guardian in an interview today.
“It probably wouldn’t be subtly flirtatious to begin with, but it would be capable of saying borderline politically incorrect phrases,” Hinton told the Guardian.
That would be a good start towards making something like OS that Johansson played in the 2014 movie Her.
Irony, meanwhile, could prove to be more difficult for machines to master.
“You have to be master of the literal first,” Hinton said. “But then, Americans don’t get irony either. Computers are going to reach the level of Americans before Brits.”
All this talk might sound silly, but it could be the key for companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft that want to sell as many mobile devices as possible. Personal digital assistants like Google Now, Siri, and Cortana, respectively, have made mobile apps more interactive, and the companies building them are keen to make their systems outperform alternatives.
Hinton in particular is one of four figureheads of deep learning — the others are Facebook’s Yann LeCun, Baidu’s Andrew Ng, and Yoshua Bengio — who came to Google by way of the tech giant’s acquisition of DNNresearch in 2013. Google is as capable of mimicking human-like communication as much as any other company, so comments from people like Hinton should be thought of as a hint of what’s not that far away in the future.