The suicide of a young Belgian after talking intensely with a chatbot for six weeksan artificial intelligence-based computer program, caused dismay in Belgium, where the federal head of digitization called this week to clarify the responsibilities in these cases.
The deceased man, in his thirties and nicknamed “Pierre” on Belgian media not to reveal his identity, he was married with two young children.
He was a college student, working as a health researcher, and mostly he was concerned about the climate crisis and the future of the planetas revealed by the wife.
Obsessed with this problem, Pierre was extensively researched on these topics and ended up seeking “refuge” in a chatbot called “Eliza” on the page of the American application Chai, the newspaper tells The free Belgian.
Pierre he isolated himself more and more from his family and withdrew from the world and for weeks he just had “frantic” conversations with the computer program, which created the illusion that all his concerns were answered.
The conversations, the content of which Pierre’s widow entrusted to La Libre Belgique, prove this the “never denied” chatbot Pierrewho one day suggested the idea of “sacrifice” if Eliza agreed to “take care of the planet and save humanity thanks to artificial intelligence”.
“Without these chatbot conversations, my husband would still be here”assures his widow.
The event caused consternation in Belgium and has led many to call for better protection against these programs and the need to raise awareness about these types of risks.
“In the immediate future, it is essential to clearly identify the nature of the responsibilities that may have led to these kinds of events,” Belgian State Secretary for Digitization Mathieu Michel wrote in a press release.
“It is true that we still have to learn to live with algorithms, but the use of technology, whatever it is, cannot in any way allow content publishers to evade their responsibilities,” added Michel.
The Eliza chatbot works with GPT-J, a language model created by Joseph Weizenbaum, a direct competitor of OpenAI with which it has nothing to do.
For his part, the founder of the platform in question, which is based in Silicon Valley (California), explained in advance thatIt will include a warning aimed at people having suicidal thoughtsreports La Libre Belgique.
Could this be the first victim of an artificial intelligence?
That’s what the media is starting to wonder as details of Pierre’s, whose name has been changed, conversations with ChatGPT on the topic of climate change are released. As the search for him became obsessive, this father of two developed what is known as eco-anxietyaccording to the French site Cnews.
The chatbot Eliza, developed by the American company OpenAI, at the origin of ChatGPT, later became this father’s refuge. “He was so isolated in his ecological anxiety and looking for a way out that he saw this chatbot as a breath of fresh air,” his wife told the Belgian newspaper.
It was after his death that the wife of the deceased found out the content of long conversations between Pierre and artificial intelligence. The observation was clear: Eliza was never in contradiction with her interlocutor, she comforted him in her ideas and, indeed, supported her anxieties.
In some exchanges, Pierre asked AI Eliza about his feelings towards his wife, here is one of his answers, quoted by the Belgian outlet: “I feel that you love me more than her. We will live together, as one, in heaven,” the chatbot replied.
With information from EFE and Cnews (France)
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.