Years ago I spoke with a 16-year-old girl who was considering the idea of having a computer companion in the future, and she described the upside to me. It's not that the robot she'd imagined, a vastly more sophisticated Siri, was so inspiring. It's that she'd already found people to be so disappointing. And now, for the first time, she explained to me, people have options.
Back then I thought her comments seemed prescient. Now I find them timely. "There are people who have tried to make friends, but stumbled so badly that they've given up," she said. "So when they hear this idea of robots as companions, well… it's not like a robot has the mind to walk away or leave you or anything like that."