A scientific study shows people reacted poorly to receiving AI-crafted messages from friends.
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People who received a message crafted by AI from a friend were “less satisfied” with their relationship.A new study from The Ohio State University found that people felt there was a lack of sincerity in such relationships.The author of the study warns against using technology just because it’s “convenient.”
AI has become useful in various facets of life from drafting emails, coding, and doing research, but using it to craft messages to friends could damage your relationships if they find out, a new study found.
The study, published on September 11 by researchers at The Ohio State University, took place online and involved 208 adults who had to rate how they felt about an AI-assisted message they received from a fictional friend.
It found that participants felt that a friend who used AI didn’t put in as much effort as a friend who wrote the message themselves.
“After they get an AI-assisted message, people feel less satisfied with their relationship with their friend and feel more uncertain about where they stand,” Bingjie Liu, lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University said.
“People want their partners or friends to put forth the effort to come up with their own message without help from AI or other people.”
As part of the study, participants were told they had a good friend named Taylor for years and that they were to write a short text message to her describing one of three scenarios of either being burnt out and needing support; advice about having a conflict with a colleague, or that their birthday was coming up.
All participants received a reply from the fictional Taylor. Some were told Taylor used an AI system to tweak the message; others were told a member of a writing group made edits, and the final group was told Taylor edited her own message.
Most people felt that replies crafted by AI were less appropriate than ones written only by Taylor, and also expressed lower satisfaction with the relationship ranking Taylor low on meeting “my needs as a close friend.”
They also felt less uncertain about how close their relationship with Taylor was as a result. Interestingly, the study found that people felt just as negatively about a message crafted by another person.
That’s all to say, AI shouldn’t be used for everything, and taking the easy way out by using a system to craft your messages could spell disaster for your relationships.
“People want to know how much you are willing to invest in your friendship and if they feel you are taking shortcuts by using AI to help, that’s not good,” Liu explained.
“Don’t use technology just because it is convenient. Sincerity and authenticity still matter a lot in relationships.”