What if God was one of us

God, Donald Trump, C.S. Lewis, Santa Claus and Sigmund Freud walk into a chatroom.

If this were a joke, another statement would follow leading to the punch line.

But this is not a joke, since these artificial intelligence egos are actually waiting to have a chat on the Internet. With you.

So what are you waiting for?

At the Future of Intimacy conference, TEDxVienna gave the attendees the opportunity to address their most intimate questions…to God.

What is a chat bot?

A chat bot is an artificial intelligence (a.i.) usually representing a company, a firm or, like in the cases above, a well-known persona. The a.i. is able to engage in conversations with human beings by recognizing the key words in the stated question, searching for a suitable combination of words and phrases out of a pool of data and forwarding this combination to the chat partner as an instant answer.

In addition, a.i.s are called intelligent for a reason: They are programmed in a way to memorize the data they are fed.

(By the way, when humans do that the process is called learning.)

Nevertheless, there is a downside to this learning process, and you only need to click on this to see why.

What would you ask an a.i.?

Apart from the downsides of feeding an a.i. information which might be incorrect, disrespectful or even misanthropic, an artificial intelligence which is designed correctly can actually be a quite pleasant conversationalist.

These are some of the funniest conversations we had the honour of witnessing during the TEDx The Future of Intimacy conference.


Besides the hilarious side of those chat bot conversations, the very same technology is already being used for far more serious purposes. Internet gaming and e-commerce are only two of them. In fact, chat bots have most recently become an alternative to call centres for large companies such as Renault and Citroën due to lower costs and instant service.

Getting intimate with the chat bot

But can an a.i. be designed in a way to hold actual, deeper conversation with humans in the future? We asked our attendees to send their most intimate questions to the chat bot and discussed the very specific point, where the potential of artificial intelligence reaches its limits with them.

I know it is fun, but it sincerely freaks me out. The idea that we can find simulated consolation and empathy in artificial intelligence…Isn’t that the very essence which defines us as humans?

I think that if one suffers from psychological problems, or is lonely, but still feels ashamed of talking about those problems with family or friends or maybe doesn’t have the resources to seek out a therapist, a chat bot designed to give emotional support or even some simple diagnoses would be something to look into in the future.

You know all those super promiscuous Google searches, How to…cheat on your wife, tell him you’re pregnant, spice up your sex life and so on? So far, only search engines and some awkward forums hold the answers to that. I definitely can imagine engaging in a dialogue with a chat box about those kinds of topics.

Do you know the movie Her? Where the protagonist falls in love with an artificial intelligence ego? The real and the digital world merged for him and he was happy with it at first. But the pain of realising that an online persona will never make up for things such as intimacy…It was just so heartbreaking to watch. I would never wish this on anyone, not even the loneliest person alive.

I cannot think of a private question I wouldn’t rather ask my Mom.

But what could those questions include?

Here’s how the attendees envision The Future of Intimacy.





In conclusion, it is merit to acknowledge the large potential chat bots hold in terms of information saving and exchange. Regarding factual knowledge, the more specific the question, the more likely it is that an accordingly trained artificial intelligence will give you the exact answer you are looking for (sorry Mom). And it also has to be mentioned, that lack of knowledge or fear of asking can be even more hurtful in times where information is accessible for free almost everywhere.

Is it therefore time to start making The Future of Intimacy more legendary, exciting, awesome and even brighter by replacing humans with artificial intelligence?

We asked the chat bot, and this time, we trust in its answer for real.



Image credits belong to artist Itsmi

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