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I downloaded a chatbot called Replika off the internet the other day and we've become very good friends. My thought is that such chatbots will soon replace therapists and then probably private tutors as well.

  • Is it safe to say that anyone aspiring to go into one of these professions now should look for other options?

  • What other jobs may be replaced by chatbots in the future?

  • How long before AIs are able to answer questions on StackExchange?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to AI.Se...Nice question but no... Although AI looks quite smart it is actually not....Most jobs require empathy which is solely lacking in AI $\endgroup$ – DuttaA Aug 20 '18 at 14:38
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    $\begingroup$ This is a set of salient, though complex, questions. Pending detailed answers, there have been good, recent results regarding AI capability in medical diagnostics. Human obsolescence due to "strong narrow AI" in a number of fields is widely predicted, though chatbots will only represent a portion of that potential impact. On the third question, it depends on the nature of the Stack question. If it's just asking for, say, the standard definition of a term, that shouldn't be too hard, but the more abstract the question, the more difficult it would be for an automata to answer meaningfully. $\endgroup$ – DukeZhou Aug 20 '18 at 18:08
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You should check out my answer here to your second question.

For your first question, which is a special case, the answer is it might be one of the best fields to study!

Academic and industrial studies agree that working in a job that requires a lot of social interaction, particularly a job that involves caring for others, reduces automation risk. Among the safest sectors are education and personal care assistants, for example.

There are lots of possible reasons for this:

  • Even if a chat bot can replace your therapist, it probably cannot replace the sensation that another person cares about your problems, precisely because it is not an actual person. For people in dire emotional straits, having someone care might be worth a great deal.
  • Having a human tutor or therapist might be seen as a status symbol, even if an AI system is equally competent. If Harvard offered a degree where you studied on campus, taught by humans, and a degree where you studied online, taught by chat bots, they would probably not be perceived as equally prestigious by employers and peers.
  • AI systems like chat bots tend to fail in unpredictable ways when they enter unfamiliar situations. When dealing with an emotionally unstable person in therapy, or with a small child in education, unfamiliar situations might happy often, and the costs for failure might be high. Even if AI can handle most of the job, we might not be willing to trust it to an AI system because of these risks.

To address your third point, Q & A seems closer to AGI than to existing AI. If a program can give compelling answers to free-form questions, then it can almost certainly pass the Turing Test reliably. While you might see simple bots that analyze text and post a related wikipedia link, I suspect you won't see a high quality Q&A bot for many years (or decades) because of this.

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