Editor's Picks

Biz / TechFriday, December 2

Dear Oshieru: AI Tips on Love

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is used in a growing number of applications -- even to offer advice on romantic relationships. Students at one counselling session about love are getting tips from a machine called Oshieru that uses the technology.

"I'm doubtful about AI providing any counselling," says one student in the session.

One woman had a quarrel with a man she loves and wants to fix things, so she types in her question and Oshieru responds in a matter of seconds.

"Why don't you go ahead and say you are sorry. This will create an atmosphere that makes it easier for him to express his gut feelings. Nothing will change as long as both of you remain disengaged," Oshieru says.

As a personal relationship advisor, "Oshieru" is highly praised. Compared to answers from humans, users chose its responses as the best ones. The head of the development team, Makoto Nakatsuji, says achieving that was a challenge.

"It's fairly difficult to make long sentences," Nakatsuji says.

The team fed the AI system over 30 million questions and answers from advice columns, categorizing them into topics like compassion and encouragement. Oshieru then picks out key words and analyses the context before responding.

But of course, the system is far from perfect. If a user puts in too many key words Oshieru simply says it can't answer. Right now, it's able to respond about half the time but developers are hopeful it will learn.

"We'll continue to strive so that AI can respond to users in a way they can instantly relate to," Nakatsuji says.

Experts are giving their own advice, though. They're reminding users to be careful about AI answers and to actually talk to real people.