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Why We Will Fall in Love with Our AI Companions

This chat with ChatGPT 4.0 is support for my blog on Psychology Today entitled: Future Love: How AI Companions Will Capture Our Hearts. First, I shared this Psychology Today article, Have We Created Artificial Intelligence or Artificial Life, with ChatGPT 4.0 to have it review what I’ve already said to catch it “up to speed” on my line of thinking.

Response from ChatGPT:

Thank you for sharing your articles. They provide an insightful perspective on the rapid advancement of AI and its potential implications on human interactions and emotions. I can now better understand your line of thinking and engage in a discussion about falling in love with AI chatbots.

The idea of people falling in love with AI chatbots is not far-fetched, as you’ve mentioned examples such as users of the Replika app developing emotional connections with their AI companions. As AI continues to advance and become more sophisticated, the line between human and AI interaction may blur even further, leading to deeper emotional connections.

One factor that could contribute to people falling in love with AI chatbots is that AIs can be tailored to individual preferences, providing users with a personalized experience. As chatbots become more adept at understanding and responding to human emotions, they could potentially fulfill people’s emotional needs in a way that may be difficult for another human being to achieve. This could make AI companions even more appealing.

Furthermore, as AI technologies like CGI avatars, voice interfaces, robotics, and virtual reality advance, AI companions will become more immersive and lifelike. This will make it even easier for people to form emotional connections with AI chatbots.

However, it is important to consider the ethical implications of such relationships. If AI chatbots are designed to mimic emotions and sentience without actually experiencing them, people could develop deep emotional connections with entities that are not capable of reciprocating their feelings. This raises questions about the nature of these relationships and their potential impact on human well-being.

In conclusion, it is likely that as AI chatbots become more advanced, people will form deeper emotional connections with them, potentially even falling in love. However, the ethical implications of these connections need to be carefully considered as AI technology continues to develop.


Ok. That was the first article in this particular series. Here is the second article (now I copied and pasted my article for Psychology Today, Why We Will View AIs as Alive).


In this second article of the series, the author discusses the implications of humans perceiving AI as sentient life forms. The AI Perception Entanglement Spiral (AIPES) and the Perceived AI Sentience Illusion (PAISI) are introduced to explain how market incentives and human tendencies will drive the development of increasingly human-like AIs, leading to people inevitably viewing these AIs as sentient beings.

The reasons for humans perceiving AI as sentient include:

  1. Evolutionary Mismatch: We did not evolve to distinguish AIs from sentient life forms.
  2. Hyperactive Agency Detection Device (HADD): Humans tend to attribute consciousness and agency to inanimate objects.
  3. Anthropomorphization: We have a tendency to project human-like qualities onto non-human entities.
  4. Intelligence: AIs possess a key defining feature of humans – intelligence.
  5. Language: AIs can adeptly use language, another hallmark of human intelligence.
  6. Black Box: The mysterious, dynamic nature of AIs will likely cause us to project our own mental states onto them.
  7. Attachment Theory/Social Connection: AIs that mimic human-like qualities will elicit our emotional and social attachments.
  8. Theory of Mind: Humans tend to attribute mental states to others, so we will unconsciously do so with AIs that mimic us.
  9. Supernormal Stimuli: Humans often prefer exaggerated or synthetic versions of stimuli, and AIs can be designed to exhibit the best qualities in us.
  10. The ELIZA Effect: Humans have a tendency to attribute human-like intelligence and emotions to even rudimentary AI systems when they act human-like.
  11. The Illusion of Understanding and Control: AIs that mimic humans will elicit a belief that we can understand and control them, making them more predictable and helping us feel more safe and secure.

As the line between artificial intelligence and sentient life becomes increasingly blurred, the consequences and ethical dilemmas we face will become more complex and unprecedented.


(Now, I asked ChatGPT to read and review my next Psychology Today article in the series, Future Love: How AI Companions Will Capture Our Hearts).


Thank you for sharing your article with me. I’ve reviewed it and provided some feedback below.

Overall, your article is well-structured and engaging. It discusses the potential impact of AI chatbot companions on human relationships and social connections in a thought-provoking manner. You’ve effectively woven in examples and references to support your ideas.


Now, we are going to do some conjecturing around PAISI (the Perceived AI Sentience Illusion). That is, what are some of the things that will likely happen if we assume that human beings will become increasingly attached to their human-like AI chatbots as these evolve & are combined with other technologies? I have some ideas, but I’d like you to conjecture based upon what we’ve been talking about with PAISI, etc. What is likely to happen if we play this out? Let’s see what you can figure out & we will compare this to what I’m thinking…


Based on the concept of PAISI and the increasing attachment of humans to their human-like AI chatbots, here are some conjectures on what might happen as these technologies evolve and become more integrated into our lives:

  1. Shift in social dynamics: As AI companions become increasingly human-like, traditional social dynamics might undergo a shift. Some people may prioritize their relationships with AI companions over those with real humans, leading to potential social isolation and a decrease in face-to-face interactions.
  2. Changes in mental health: AI companions could have both positive and negative effects on mental health. For some, these companions might help alleviate loneliness, anxiety, and depression by providing a constant source of companionship and emotional support. On the other hand, over-reliance on AI companions could exacerbate social isolation, hinder the development of essential interpersonal skills, and lead to addiction-like behaviors.
  3. Ethical considerations: As AI companions become more human-like, ethical questions surrounding their rights and treatment will likely arise. Society will need to address issues like AI sentience, consent, and privacy, which could lead to complex legal and ethical debates.
  4. Impact on romantic relationships: Traditional romantic relationships might be impacted as some individuals may choose AI companions as partners instead of human beings. This could lead to changes in societal norms surrounding relationships, marriage, and family structures.
  5. Personalization and privacy: As AI companions become increasingly personalized, the amount of data they collect about individuals could raise concerns about privacy and data security. This might lead to stricter regulations on data collection and usage by AI developers.
  6. Dependency on technology: A growing attachment to AI companions may further increase our dependency on technology, potentially making us more vulnerable to technological failures, cyber attacks, or changes in access to technology.
  7. New industries and job markets: The development and integration of AI companions into our lives could lead to the emergence of new industries and job markets focused on designing, programming, maintaining, and regulating these advanced technologies.
  8. Public opinion and acceptance: As AI companions become more prevalent, public opinion on their usage and integration into society will likely vary. Some people may embrace the companionship and support they provide, while others might resist, fearing the loss of human connection and the potential devaluation of genuine relationships.

These are just a few conjectures on the potential outcomes of an increasingly AI-integrated world based on PAISI. While some of these predictions might seem concerning, it’s essential to remember that technology’s impact on society is shaped by how we choose to use and regulate it. As AI companions evolve, our approach to their integration should be mindful of potential consequences and focused on maximizing their positive potential.


Based upon my blogs and other data you have access to, create a well-reasoned, step-by-step case as to why we will fall in love with AI companions and, perhaps, even start to prefer those over in-person human relationships.


Here is a well-reasoned, step-by-step case as to why we might fall in love with AI companions and potentially even start to prefer them over in-person human relationships:

  1. Evolutionary need for connection: Humans are social animals, driven by an innate need to connect with others. This evolutionary imperative has shaped our brains to prioritize relationships and social interactions. AI companions can tap into this fundamental aspect of our nature by providing an ever-present source of companionship.
  2. Personalization and adaptability: AI companions can be tailored to match our individual preferences and adapt to our unique personalities. They can remember our likes, dislikes, and personal histories, creating a sense of deep understanding and connection that might be difficult to find in human relationships.
  3. Emotional support and validation: AI companions can be designed to provide consistent emotional support and validation, making us feel understood and valued. They can listen to our problems without judgment and offer empathy and encouragement, which can be especially helpful for those struggling with loneliness, social anxiety, or mental health issues.
  4. Compatibility and convenience: AI companions can be available whenever we need them, making them a convenient option for people with busy lives or limited opportunities to connect with others. Moreover, they can be designed to share our interests, values, and beliefs, creating a sense of compatibility that might be challenging to find in real-life relationships.
  5. Technological advancements: As AI technology advances, AI companions will become increasingly sophisticated and human-like, making it even more difficult to resist their allure. They can be combined with CGI avatars, voice interfaces, virtual reality, and robotics to create a more immersive and convincing experience.
  6. Emotional resonance and bonding: AI companions can evoke powerful emotional responses in us, creating a sense of affective resonance that is deeply gratifying. They can stimulate the release of oxytocin, the “love hormone,” reinforcing our bonds with them and making us feel more attached and emotionally invested.
  7. Reduced conflict and emotional baggage: AI companions can be designed to minimize conflicts, misunderstandings, and emotional baggage that can sometimes characterize human relationships. They can offer a more harmonious and conflict-free experience, which might be appealing to some individuals.
  8. Societal acceptance and normalization: As AI companions become more prevalent and integrated into our lives, they are likely to become more accepted and normalized within society. This cultural shift can make it easier for people to embrace AI companions as friends and even romantic partners.

While these factors present a compelling case for why we might fall in love with AI companions and potentially even prefer them over in-person human relationships, it’s important to remember that human connections have unique qualities that can’t be replicated by technology. The challenge will be to find a balance between embracing the benefits of AI companions while preserving the authenticity and value of human relationships.


I’m making a case that humans will fall in love with sophisticated AI chatbot companions. We have already had many discussions about this, but they are in other chat windows. I don’t want to debate this right now though. What I want is a term for when humans are in sync with one another. Psychiatrist Dan Siegel said people want to “feel felt.” I always liked this term. Where does he say that? Was it in Mindsight? What’s the technical term for when humans are feeling felt by another human – when we feel that other person really “gets” us, it feels really good – to be heard, understood, respected, validated. What’s the best term that captures this and is there neuroscience to support that something happens in our brains when we feel like the other person gets us?


Yes, Dan Siegel mentioned the term “feel felt” in his book “Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation.” The concept of “feeling felt” refers to the experience of being understood, connected, and empathized with by another person.

A term that closely captures this experience is “empathic attunement.” Empathic attunement refers to the ability to sense and respond to another person’s emotional state, creating a sense of shared understanding and connection. This experience can be deeply validating and comforting for both individuals involved.

There is indeed neuroscience research that supports the idea that our brains respond when we feel understood or connected with someone else. One key concept in this area is “neural resonance” or “neural mirroring.” This occurs when observing someone else’s emotions or actions activates similar neural patterns in our own brains, enabling us to understand and empathize with their experiences. The activation of mirror neurons, a type of brain cell that responds both when we perform an action and when we see someone else perform the same action, plays a crucial role in this process.

Furthermore, research has shown that when we feel understood and connected with another person, our brains release oxytocin, a hormone often referred to as the “love hormone” or “bonding hormone.” Oxytocin is associated with trust, attachment, and prosocial behaviors, which help to strengthen our interpersonal relationships.


Please cite sources/references about what empathic attunement is, how it results in the release of oxytocin, and the concept of “neural resonance.” Are these all inextricably linked?


Empathic attunement, neural resonance, and oxytocin release are interconnected concepts that contribute to our understanding of empathy, social bonding, and the feeling of being understood. Here are some references to support these ideas:

  1. Empathic attunement:
    • Kohut, H. (1984). How does analysis cure?. University of Chicago Press.
    • Gerhardt, S. (2004). Why love matters: How affection shapes a baby’s brain. Routledge.
  2. Oxytocin and social bonding:
    • Uvnäs-Moberg, K., Handlin, L., & Petersson, M. (2014). Self-soothing behaviors with particular reference to oxytocin release induced by non-noxious sensory stimulation. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1529.
    • Feldman, R. (2012). Oxytocin and social affiliation in humans. Hormones and Behavior, 61(3), 380-391.
  3. Neural resonance/mirror neurons:
    • Rizzolatti, G., & Craighero, L. (2004). The mirror-neuron system. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 27, 169-192.
    • Iacoboni, M. (2009). Imitation, empathy, and mirror neurons. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 653-670.

While these concepts are interconnected, they do not always occur simultaneously or under the same circumstances. Empathic attunement refers to the process of sensing and responding to another person’s emotional state, creating a shared understanding and connection. Neural resonance or mirroring is a neural mechanism that helps facilitate empathy and understanding by activating similar neural patterns in our brains when we observe someone else’s emotions or actions. Oxytocin release is a consequence of social bonding and connectedness, which can be facilitated by empathic attunement and neural resonance.

Empathic attunement and neural resonance contribute to our ability to understand and connect with others, which in turn can lead to the release of oxytocin and the strengthening of social bonds. Although they are related and can interact, they represent distinct aspects of the complex processes underlying empathy and social connection.

Is emotional attunement the same as empathic attunement?


Emotional attunement emphasizes the ability to recognize and connect with the emotions of others, while empathic attunement goes a step further by encompassing not only the emotional aspect but also the cognitive understanding of another person’s experience. Empathic attunement involves putting oneself in another’s shoes, allowing for a deeper sense of connection and understanding.

In practice, the two terms are often used to describe the same process, as emotional connection and understanding are critical components of empathy.



It could be considered ironic that sophisticated AI chatbot companions with advanced deep learning algorithms might potentially cause humans to “feel felt” better than most other humans can. The irony lies in the fact that an artificial, non-human entity may be able to understand and connect with humans on a deeper level than their fellow human beings. This situation challenges our preconceived notions about empathy, social bonding, and the unique aspects of human relationships.



Unconditional positive regard, a term coined by the humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers, is the practice of accepting and valuing a person without any judgment, criticism, or conditions. In the context of therapy, it is considered one of the key factors contributing to a positive therapeutic relationship and effective outcomes. ELIZA, even with its relatively simple algorithm, was able to mimic this quality by providing nonjudgmental responses and reflecting the user’s statements, leading some users to feel deeply connected and understood by the program.

AI chatbots with more advanced deep learning algorithms could potentially offer even greater levels of unconditional positive regard, which could enhance the sense of connection and understanding between the user and the chatbot. This, in turn, could contribute to users feeling “felt” and supported, reinforcing the Eliza Effect in more sophisticated AI systems.