26 September 2023

Valentine’s Day in the age of ChatGPT

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Michael Grothaus* says a new poll from McAfee suggests that AI-assisted missives could quickly change the nature of romantic courtship.

It seems like every morning another report indicates that ChatGPT is going to kill something—jobs, SEO, copywriting, Google, creativity.

Now we can add romance to the list of its potential victims.

That’s according to new research from McAfee, released one week ahead of Valentine’s Day.

McAfee polled over 5,100 individuals and asked them a series of questions about their current romantic situation and their romantic forms of communication.

It dove especially deep into questions surrounding the use of AI tools like ChatGPT to augment that communication.

The results showed that 42 per cent of U.S. men plan to use AI to write a Valentine’s note this year, compared to fewer than one-fifth of women.

That’s despite 50 per cent of all U.S. respondents saying they agree or strongly agree with the statement “I would be hurt or offended if I found out my Valentine’s message was written by a machine / Artificial Intelligence.”

Yet McAfee’s research shows that most people wouldn’t even be able to tell if a Valentine’s Day letter was written by ChatGPT or not.

When shown a ChatGPT-written love letter, 39 per cent of respondents said it was “obvious a person wrote this.” Another 37 per cent said they had no way to tell.

Only 24 per cent got it right that the letter was written by ChatGPT.

McAfee also asked respondents to say which of two short love poems they found more romantic—one written by E. E. Cummings or one written by ChatGPT in the style of E. E. Cummings.

ChatGPT’s poem won by a landslide, with 67 per cent of U.S. respondents saying it was more romantic.

Perhaps what’s most interesting is the reasoning behind why someone would choose to use ChatGPT to write a personalized Valentine’s card to their love interest:

  • 32 per cent said the AI-written letter would make them feel more confident.
  • 24 per cent said they wouldn’t know what to say and don’t know what their partner wants to hear.
  • 20 per cent said it’s an efficiency thing since they are short on time.
  • 10 per cent of scoundrels said, “I don’t believe my love interest or partner would know and it would be quick and easy.”

What can you say? That’s love in the 21st century, apparently.

*Michael Grothaus is a novelist and author. his next novel, Beautiful Shining People, is coming in 2023. You can read more about Michael at michaelgrothaus.com.

This article first appeared at fastcompany.com

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