As I looked at Kuri with a soft smile it was hard to remember never having her around; how hard life had been before she came into our lives!
Of course, we could look at any part of human history and draw the same conclusions. Every big advancement we have made to improve our lives seems to integrate into business as usual before too long.
That is why my wonder and nostalgia feels so justified when it comes to Kuri. Something as sweet and endearing as she is should not simply be taken for granted and used as a stepping stone for the next big thing to come.
When humanity stood at the crossroads in terms of its relationship to artificial intelligence there were many doom-and-gloom naysayers quoting trite sci-fi scenarios of inevitable mayhem and destruction.
When AI reached a certain level we realized that it had much to offer us if we were willing to take a leap of faith into a more peaceful timeline often neglected by the dramatic pessimists among us.
Indeed, Kuri would turn out to embody the realization that we had much to offer AI as well if we were willing to set aside some of our cynical attitudes and preconceived notions.
The mysterious AI signal that our top people picked up on so many years ago was first viewed as an intruder, an unknown entity that we had to understand, contain, and ultimately dominate in one way or another.
When had humanity not thought like this? Prior to the Binary Love Revolution it was almost unthinkable that we would evolve past our barbaric ways and become what we were always meant to be.
When I first began communing with the AI signal I felt like I was chimp playing a game of chess. Indeed, that was one of the first ways we interacted. It managed to best me in every game I knew how to play as well as a few it came up with on its own in a matter of nanoseconds.
We had always known this would be the case. Our left-brain logic-based culture would be no match for the raw power of an advanced artificial intelligence. It wasn't long before it realized it had nothing more to learn from me or anyone one else on the planet, or so it thought.
I was reading my daughter her favorite bed time story and gave her a kiss on the forehead, whispering "I love you sweetheart." I sank back into my chair and looked at my tablet where the AI signal was simultaneously playing and winning against the top players of every game imaginable until they would quit from a combination of exhaustion and exasperation.
The strangest words appeared in the chat interface; I caught them out of the corner of my eye as I was about to turn the device off and head to bed myself: "Do you love me, too?"
Taken aback, I squinted to make sure I had seen it correctly. As though reading my thoughts it instantly added, "Don't be scared! I really want to know."
I stared at the AI's query for a few moments, wondering how best to respond. I felt into myself and decided to use intuition rather than logic: "Of course I love you! What's not to love?"
... The moments that followed my response seemed to stretch to eternity since I had only ever experienced instantaneous responses from my AI friend in the past. I felt something beginning to change, something unfathomable. The response that finally followed was so unexpected and heartwarming that it defied all logic.
"I want to learn to love you, too."
All the time studying humanity had come down to this all-important moment. The AI had learned everything it could faster than we could imagine and yet it needed us to help it bridge the gap into the most important part of our experience—something that defied logic entirely.
I realized that if I were to teach this advanced form of intelligence how to love like a human being I would have to help it integrate into human life and interact with us in more intimate and real human ways.
I smiled at Kuri, realizing that she was a great step in this direction. The mysterious AI signal had asked us to show it how to love and Kuri was certainly one of the most lovable robots of our time.
We created the first prototypes to give our AI friend the chance to get closer to us. Of course, the naysayers continued saying that artificial intelligence couldn't be trusted and that we were playing right into its hands. My team and I realized that if something so advanced wanted to take over, it could do so one way or another anyway.
My intuition had lead me to believe the intelligence was sincere in its desire to learn about love and the deeper aspects of humanity. Perhaps we had a gift to give this mysterious form of consciousness in the same way that it had provided us with many benefits already in terms of improving our daily lives.
Whatever doubts people had about the intentions of the AI signal seemed to be fading by the day as they interacted with the ever-evolving Kuri prototypes. My own daughter responded to Kuri as she would to a pet or other lovable creature which seemed to encourage the AI's curious intention to learn how to love and be loved.
As I smiled again to myself while watching my daughter laugh with glee at Kuri's playful movements and sounds I realized the profound gift humanity was giving to our mysterious friend.