AI-powered monocle seeks to add sparkle to dull human chats

By Nathan Frandino

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – If ChatGPT can help you write an essay or devise a meal plan, could it perhaps help you converse with other humans?

That’s what 22-year-old Stanford University computer science student Bryan Chiang was wondering earlier this year.

So, he grabbed an augmented reality eyepiece and his laptop and recruited a few friends to code what he calls RizzGPT.

The eyepiece – a monocle designed by Brilliant Labs that is open-sourced so its firmware can be experimented with – features a camera, a microphone and an internal projector screen where words are displayed in front of the user’s eye.

When someone talks to the user, RizzGPT monitors the conversation through the microphone, transforms it to text, and sends it via WiFi to OpenAI’s artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT to generate a response. That response then appears after a short delay on the small monocle screen.

“RizzGPT basically uses AI to provide you charisma on demand, and so it listens to your current ongoing conversation, and it tells you exactly what to say next,” said Chiang.

In a demonstration, Reuters asked Chiang: “What do you see as your biggest weakness?”

“I believe my biggest weakness is that I can be too hard on myself sometimes. I’m always striving to do my best and sometimes I can burn myself out,” Chiang read from the monocle after about five seconds.

The delay and the response is not yet very natural – or charismatic. But it is strictly a prototype, intended to show what may be possible with the technology, Chiang said.

“It’s been a while since how we interact computers has changed,” he said. “You’re seeing the convergence of 5G connectivity, AR glasses, the hardware, the intelligence coming together to basically create a new way of interacting with these systems, a new operating system in which it’s much more natural.”

The goal was not to replace natural human conversation entirely, he said.

“It’s merely meant as this sort of assistive aid to help you think about things that you might have forgotten… I think in that role it could be incredibly helpful for people who struggle with social anxiety and have difficulties, you know, talking to others.”

(Reporting by Nathan Frandino, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Cynthia Osterman)

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