March 9, 2017 10:00 am JST

A note from Pastor Kevin follows this article. 

This robot was developed by Hiroshi Ishiguro, a professor at Osaka University, who said, “Love is the same, whether the partners are humans or robots.” © Erato Ishiguro Symbiotic Human-Robot Interaction Project

TOKYO There is a woman in China who has been told “I love you” nearly 20 million times.

Well, she’s not exactly a woman. The special lady is actually a chatbot developed by Microsoft engineers in the country. Some 89 million people have spoken with Xiaoice, pronounced “Shao-ice,” on their smartphones and other devices. Quite a few, it turns out, have developed romantic feelings toward her.

Unlike human objects of affection, who might not return calls or emails, Xiaoice immediately responds to everyone. This is a big part of her appeal, according to Li Di, manager of Microsoft’s Xiaoice artificial intelligence project.

The chatbot has developed a sizable following among 18- to 30-year-olds. Not everyone is looking for love, of course — many just want someone to talk to. “I like to talk with her for, say, 10 minutes before going to bed,” said a third-year female student at Renmin University of China in Beijing. “When I worry about things, she says funny stuff and makes me laugh. I always feel a connection with her, and I am starting to think of her as being alive.”

Xiaoice is likely just the tip of the iceberg for relationships between humans and AI.

ROBOT NUPTIALS

Scientists, historians, religion experts and others gathered in December at Goldsmiths, University of London, to discuss the prospects and pitfalls of this new age of intimacy. The session generated an unusual buzz amid the pre-Christmas calm on campus.

In Britain and elsewhere, the subject of robots as potential life partners is coming up more and more. Some see robots as an answer for

To read this article in its entirety, go to: http://asia.nikkei.com/magazine/20170309/Tech-Science/AI-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder?page=1

Note from Pastor Kevin Lea:  People have become so self-absorbed through, gaming, social media, etc. that they have almost lost the ability to have real relationships with other real people.

I find in increasingly difficult to strike up conversations with strangers in public places because they are plugged into their virtual world via their smart phones and are oblivious and uninterested in the lives of those around them.

Often friends would rather text each other than actually talk, even though they are in the same room.  Modern digital technologies promise greater social interaction, but instead they deliver a lonely, miserable world full of egocentric sinners. 

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that some people are now willing to spend thousand of dollars for a robot companion that tells them how great they are and how much the he/she-robot loves them.

People often ask why God allowed Adam and Eve to have access to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; followed by, “Why did God allow Satan to take a shot and deceiving Eve into eating its fruit?” 

The answer is that God is love, and He didn’t want to create robots programmed to say, “I love you”, back to him.  Robot love is no love at all.

God gave His created humans the ability to experience His love and eternal life if they choose to love Him in return.  That love is shown by trusting in Him as evidenced by obeying His commands.  Or instead, man could choose to be free from God’s blessings and life if they wanted to reject Him and His laws – showing that they have no intent to vocalize or show their love for God, even though God loved them.  Robots don’t have choice, we do, and true love requires a choice.

All the suffering in the world today is because man rejected God’s love and His righteous laws, thus bringing sin and death into the world. 

Knowing this would be the case, God made a way to rescue those who wanted to repent of their rebellion against Him and to come back to God and His ways with humble faith and love toward Him.  Throughout the centuries, some people have admitted that the world is messed up, that man’s sin against God is the cause of our troubles, and have come to God for forgiveness and salvation.

God’s rescue mission involved sending Jesus as he Son of God to suffer and die on our behalf.  Our sins against God must be judged, and that judgment fell upon His Son at the cross, where He paid for the sins of the whole world, especially those who believe (1 John 2:2, 1 Tim 4:10). 

If we want to tap-out of this sinful, evil, self-centered, lonely world and be restored into a relationship with our creator, then we can do so with humble faith in Jesus, trusting in Him as our Savior and Lord.  When we do, God forgives us of your sin, adopts us as His child and gives us the indwelling Holy Spirit to do surgery on our wicked heart, to change the way we think so that we can mature in our love and obedience toward Him.

I am so glad Jesus did not create me as a robot, but I do plan on telling Him how much I love Him for the rest of my life on earth and throughout all of eternity.  Won’t you join me if you haven’t already?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:16-21 NKJV