Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy
Showing posts with label Future Self. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Future Self. Show all posts

Friday, July 5, 2024

Future You: A Conversation with an AI-Generated Future Self Reduces Anxiety, Negative Emotions, and Increases Future Self-Continuity

Pataranutaporn, P., et al. (2024, May 21).


We introduce "Future You," an interactive, brief, single-session, digital chat intervention designed to improve future self-continuity--the degree of connection an individual feels with a temporally distant future self--a characteristic that is positively related to mental health and wellbeing. Our system allows users to chat with a relatable yet AI-powered virtual version of their future selves that is tuned to their future goals and personal qualities. To make the conversation realistic, the system generates a "synthetic memory"--a unique backstory for each user--that creates a through line between the user's present age (between 18-30) and their life at age 60. The "Future You" character also adopts the persona of an age-progressed image of the user's present self. After a brief interaction with the "Future You" character, users reported decreased anxiety, and increased future self-continuity. This is the first study successfully demonstrating the use of personalized AI-generated characters to improve users' future self-continuity and wellbeing.

Limitations and Ethical Considerations

Our work opens new possibilities for AI-powered, inter-active future self interventions, but there are limitations to address. Future research should: directly compare our FutureYou intervention with other validated interventions; examine the longitudinal effects of using the Future You platform; leverage more sophisticated ML models to potentially increase realism; and consider how interacting with a future self might reconstruct personal decisions as interpersonal ones between present and future selves as a psychological mechanism that explains treatment effects. Potential misuses of AI-generated future selves to be mindful of include: inaccurately depicting the future in a way that harmfully influences present behavior; endorsing negative behaviors; and hyper-personalization that reduces real human relationships and adversely impacts health. These challenges are part of a broader conversation on the ethics of human-AI interaction and AI-generated media happening at both personal and policy levels. Researchers must further investigate and ensure the ethical use of this technology.

Here are some thoughts:

Promise and Potential:

The concept of feeling connected to your future self (future self-continuity) is crucial for mental well-being. "Future You" could be a powerful tool to bridge that gap, leading to better decision-making and reduced anxiety about the unknown. Tailoring the AI-generated future self to the user's goals and personality is key. This personal touch can foster a sense of believability and connection.

Points to Consider:

*AI biases could unintentionally influence the future self's persona. We need to ensure the system promotes a healthy and realistic vision of the future, not a distorted one.

*Not everyone has access to such technology. It's important to consider how to make this tool widely available and address potential biases based on socioeconomic factors.

*While "Future You" can be a valuable tool, it shouldn't replace critical thinking and personal agency. People should still be empowered to make their own choices.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Moral self-judgment is stronger for future than past actions

Sjåstad, H. & Baumeister, R.F.
Motiv Emot (2019).


When, if ever, would a person want to be held responsible for his or her choices? Across four studies (N = 915), people favored more extreme rewards and punishments for their future than their past actions. This included thinking that they should receive more blame and punishment for future misdeeds than for past ones, and more credit and reward for future good deeds than for past ones. The tendency to moralize the future more than the past was mediated by anticipating (one’s own) emotional reactions and concern about one’s reputation, which was stronger in the future as well. The findings fit the pragmatic view that people moralize the future partly to guide their choices and actions, such as by increasing their motivation to restrain selfish impulses and build long-term cooperative relationships with others. People typically believe that the future is open and changeable, while the past is not. We conclude that the psychology of moral accountability has a strong future component.

Here is a snip from Concluding Remarks

A recent article by Uhlmann, Pizarro, and Diermeier (2015) proposed an important shift in the foundation of moral psychology. Whereas most research has focused on how people judge moral actions, Uhlmann et al. proposed that the primary, focal purpose is to judge persons. They suggested that this has a prospective dimension: Ultimately, the pragmatic goal is to know whom one can cooperate with, rely on, and otherwise trust in the future. Judging past actions is a means toward predicting the future, with the focus on individual persons.

The present findings fit well with and even extend that analysis. The orientation toward the future is not limited to judging and predicting the moral character of others but also extends to oneself. If one functional purpose of morality is to promote group cohesion and cooperation in the future, people apparently think that part of that involves raising expectations and standards for their own future behavior as well.

The pre-print can be found here.