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AI Creates Future Self Chatbot to Help You Make Wise Choices

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Should you find yourself spending too much time on the couch, eating fast food, drinking excessively and neglecting to save for retirement, maybe it’s time to have a conversation with your future self.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed an AI-powered chatbot that embodies your older self. Called “Future You,” the chatbot is designed to prompt you to think more about your future and make better decisions today.

Your picture is taken by the chatbot and made to look old, with wrinkles and white hair. It then generates memories and stories based on its current goals and aspirations — so that it can provide advice from what seems like your own experience as your future self.

“We want people think long-term,” said MIT researcher Pat Pataranutaporn. “If we tell them what’s going to happen in 30 years, they’re not going to care because it’s too far away. But if we can get people to actually think long-term more often, then their behavior could change over time.”

For instance, a college student who wants to become a biology teacher asked her future self what was the best moment of her career. The chatbot responded as a retired 60-year-old educator who spoke about helping a struggling student succeed.

To interact with Future You, you answer questions about yourself, friends, family members, past experiences and future goals. You also upload a photograph of yourself that shows what you would look like at 60; this photo is used by the program to age you in order to make the conversations feel real.

The program uses all these answers of yours to come up with detailed memories for your future self so that when you talk about them with Future You later on during another session — when the system acts as if it were your older self — it feels real.

Then from there on out during sessions throughout following weeks or months where different parts within this one session can be accessed again if desired: such as ‘what were some things we discussed last time?’ Or maybe even share stories from both past selves too like an introduction into what might happen next. So you could think of it as more like a long-term relationship where each meeting has its own agenda but builds on previous ones too.

The chatbot, which runs on OpenAI’s GPT-3.5, talks to you as your older self and shares life stories and advice based on the goals and dreams you provide.

Pataranutaporn himself has had deep conversations with his future self, which do include reminders about limited time spent with loved ones. He said this advice had a lasting impact on him.

Users are reminded that the future self is not a prediction but a possible future based on their current choices. They can explore different futures by changing their answers.

A study involving 344 volunteers found that people who talk to Future You feel less anxious about themselves and more connected to their future selves. And when people feel connected to who they will become in later years of life, they make better decisions for themselves now—such as setting goals, exercising more often or eating healthier foods.

Ivo Vlaev, a professor of behavioral science at Warwick Business School in England, called the project “fascinating,” saying it is “about making our imagination of our future selves more real.”

Vlaev told that if done well, these conversations could greatly influence people’s choices for the better — including sticking with education plans or living healthier lives or planning finances properly.

Source: theguardian