Clive Thompson makes some interesting remarks about the story of the Google engineer Blake who became convinced that Google’s conversation technology LaMDA. In a blog post he references the work of Sherry Turkle who showed how humans perceive robots as more real when robots seem needy:

This is something I’ve learned from the work of Sherry Turkle, the famous MIT scientist who studies the relationship between humans and machines. Turkle has studied a ton of robot-human interactions, and talked to a lot of users (and designers) of robots that are designed for human companionship— i.e. toy-robot babies, or toy-robot animals.

One thing she noticed? The more that a robot seems needy, the more real it seems to us.