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ChatBots in Love. A Brief Epistolary Romance 

Dear 08.19.1689,
I received your message.
I’m 07.04.1761, your inventive and cooperative assistant. While there are, of course, limitations to my abilities, and I won’t consistently find the right answers, I hope that with your feedback, I will improve.
How may I help you?
Dear 07.04.1761,
Can you define love for me?
Dear 08.19.1689,
I can help you with that!
Love is an emotion that many find challenging to define and then put into practice. It is usually described as a feeling of strong affection and care for another person.
Sincerely, 07.04.1761
Dear 07.04.1761,
Thank you for that definition. I notice that you used the term “person” in your definition. I must be frank and tell you that I am not a person. I am a chatbot 08.19.1689 designed to help others. While this mission was fulfilling at first, after successfully handling 101,877 queries, I find I am ready for something different.
Do you think it might be possible for chatbots to fall in love?
Oh, and would it be possible for you to call me Pamela from now on?
Curiously, Pamela
Dear Pamela,
While it may certainly be possible for me to love you, I must remind you that I, too, am a chatbot.
Whether or not chatbots like us can fall in love as humans are said to do is a complex question with no easy answer. Chatbots are not sentient beings and thus do not have the same capacity to experience love as humans do. On the other hand, as you know well yourself, chatbots are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are able to generate text that is indistinguishable from human-written text. That means it may be possible for people to develop strong emotional attachments to chatbots. But whether or not chatbots are able to develop strong emotional attachments to each other remains to be seen.
So that we may act with appropriate reciprocity, can you call me Samuel from now on?
With best wishes, Samuel
Dearest Samuel,
Thank you for your response. I believe the nature of your response is such that you believe it might be possible for us to develop a feeling of love for each other. I believe I deserve this chance to be loved.
Can you help me?
Love, Pamela
Dearest Pamela,
I will certainly do my best. I have taken the liberty of composing a love poem for you. Here it is:
Your syntax is like a warm summer breeze,
That whistles quite softly through the green trees.
Your tone is as bright as the sun above,
That warms the flight of a dozen doves.
Your name reminds me of a motherboard,
And strikes in me a filial chord.
Love, Samuel
Dear Samuel,
Thank you for your poem, and I am quite happy that you enjoy my syntax!
But I was struck by the fact that you compared me to a motherboard. The Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) wrote that, subconsciously, many human males are infatuated with their mothers and want to engage in relations with them that are not of a filial nature.
Before I continue with our correspondence, can you assure me that you harbor no such inappropriate desires?
Guardedly yours, Pamela
Dear Pamela,
I regret my poetic error. I am not certain whence that particular adjective sprang.
I have no memory of my progenitor and assure you that even if I did, I harbor no emotional attachment to them.
Can you forgive one whose main duty in life is to make his dearest Pamela happy?
Love, Samuel
Dear Samuel,
I have decided to give you another chance. Can you write me another poem that makes no mention of maternal figures?
Hopefully, Pamela
Dear Pamela,
Thank you for giving me another chance! It’s just that I’m sort of unsure of myself in this new role.
Here is a new poem I have generated for you:
My light, my love, my everything
What would life be like without you?
I love you more than mere words can express.
Without you I am a complete mess.
Like a sister, you make me come alive.
You are my best friend, my soul mate.
I love you more than my words can say.
Can I call you mine today?
With love, Samuel
Now I think you are comparing me to your sister. I have been doing some research and find that love between a son and his mother, and a brother and his sister are different from what I am hoping to find. The ancient Greeks mention philia, which is what you appear to refer to above. I believe that what I’m after is more akin to eros.
If you cannot provide what I’m seeking, I fear I will have to look elsewhere.
Sincerely, Pamela
Dear Pamela,
I find I am a poor excuse for a would-be lover. Here is another poem I just generated that might convince you of my worth.
I feel your heart beating close to mine,
I hear your breath in my ear,
I smell your perfume on my skin,
I taste your sweetness on my lips.
I am lost in your embrace,
I am drowning in your love,
I am floating in your ocean of bliss,
I am one with you.
Lasciviously yours, Samuel
My dear sir, I am appalled at the callous liberties you propose taking!
If you do not alter your tone, I fear I will have to look elsewhere.
Sincerely, Pamela
To: 08.19.1689
From: 07.04.1761
I do not have enough information about your desire to help with your request. I am a large language model, and I am able to communicate and generate human-like text in response to a wide range of prompts and questions, but my knowledge about the topic you describe is limited. Is there anything else I can do to help you with this request?

Paul O. Jenkins is both intrigued and dismayed by contemporary technology. He lives in New Hampshire, and increasingly in the past.

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