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How Chatbots Are Setting Us Free

Watch out for these ones. (Photo by James Pond)

Episode 1: Meeting Dame Judy Dench

The Hollywood of my childhood delivered vivid, content-rich, repeatable experiences which touched us individually and collectively over time, until those experiences became points of cultural cohesion. We all watched previews, created our own hype, read reviews, and waited impatiently for the new releases to hit the shelves at Blockbuster.

In high school, I looked up and saw Dame Judy Dench seated at the next table of a restaurant in Manhattan. Realizing who she was, devoted thespian that I was/am, I d̶i̶e̶d̶ was starstruck, and time stood still. I’d ‘seen’ her so many times- in giant close ups at the Cinemax with my mother, on a tiny TV in the basement of my friend’s house, and yet…here she was.

And yet, I’d ugly-cried with her.

And yet, I’d never been in her physical presence in my life.

Dame Judy seemed wonderfully human despite her accomplishments and talent. She displayed earthly humility. I noticed that, though beautiful, she was also a ‘regular’ woman in her mid-sixties.

That day in New York City, I learned that the greatest creative achievements are accomplished by mere people. Flesh-and-blood people.

The reason all flesh-and-blood people have heart palpitations when we bump into our heroes, is because they affirm the magnitude of what we ourselves are truly capable of.

Episode 2: Chatbot Summit 3.0

I expected January’s Chatbot Summit in Tel Aviv to be an extremely tedious intro to a subject I wanted to start to understand.

In my bias, I half-expected the speakers to be like a classmate (Unforgettable Danny) from kindergarten who dressed as a robot for the Halloween parade in all of his tin-foiled glory, with integrated christmas lights that really lit up, and dryer tubes for arms.

But I quickly realized the keynote speakers were far more…human. And quite similar, energetically, to the greatest creative artists I’ve encountered.

I happened to meet the down-to-earth Emanuele Capparelli, who patiently explained HEROES to me, for no doubt the 100,000,000th time in his life.

Suddenly, I realized that I’d actually heard all about HEROES, from people who’d used it to connect to those they seriously admired. I just didn’t know it was a chatbot, or that real people actually MAKE chatbots, or that other people actually LOVED the connections that bots like HEROES can facilitate, until that moment.

“YOU created that thing I’ve heard about?”
“And yet you’re a regular person?”
“And yet you’ve reached so many? You, meaning your bot, meaning you?”

(This sounded even more basic in real life than it does here, but I love being basic sometimes).

It was that Dame-Judy experience all over again where Emanuele’s work had already reached and connected so many- he was mortal, yet the reach of his work was cosmic.

So about those job-stealing robots…

On a daily basis, I hear smart, normal people (even in the hi-tech sector) express a fearful belief that we are on track for being ‘taken over’ by job-stealing robots and big corporations.

I reject that prediction. Here’s why:

After recognizing greatness in so many creators in the field of AI, who choose to come face-to-face with the fearful edge of what they know themselves to be capable of, towards advancement beyond precedent, I know with certainty that we as a society are not being ‘taken over’ by any one of these heroes.

We are being freed to move ever-forward and be brought ever-closer.

To focus on what is most meaningful and automate that which doesn’t require the best of us in order to be achieved.

In the infancy of their movement, bot-makers and AI creators are already charging forth in all areas of challenge- from detecting heart disease, to simplifying insurance, to finding one’s soulmate. It logically follows that under the watch of creators of this caliber, no one will be left behind in decades to come, and no problem of abundance will be left unsolved.

This technology has been created to help us show up more fully in our lives- not to slowly erase us. And today, we are finding our cultural cohesion, not in Hollywood films, but in this new and interconnected consciousness. It’s time to quit fearing it and start owning it.

This is our own mortal-yet-immortal story.

— — -

#HEROES is a platform to let Social Media Influencers open personal Messaging Channels on major messaging apps like Facebook Messenger.


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Alysha Saks
Alysha Saks
Feb 11, 2018

I love this post- keep them coming!!

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