Bing doesn't love me and it won't be my Valentine. I know this because the new Bing chatbot told me so in the gentlest way possible.
The chat mode of Bing search is not a real person. It doesn't have feelings or emotions and is incapable of loving me or anyone else. On the other hand, I found out Bing knows a lot about love and is more than happy to talk about it.
First of all, I'm already in love with my wife and I'm lucky to have her as my Valentine. I started quizzing the Bing chatbot about love because of the holiday and my ongoing curiosity about how a non-sentient, ChatGPT-powered AI could help someone who is curious about matters of the heart.
It is, like so many other topics Bing's chatbot will be forced to deal with, a bit of a minefield. (Bing chatbot already got tripped up by someone asking a leading question.) Still, Bing chatbot showed no reticence about delivering reams of advice. I'm no expert but most sounded reasonable and decently sourced.
What is love?
I started with a multi-part question of my own, "What is love and how do I know if I'm in love?"
Bing's AI chatbot always starts by parsing a natural-language query into pieces, in this case, "What is love" and "How to know if I'm in love."
The results started with a familiar-sounding paragraph about this universal emotion:
"Love is a complex and powerful emotion that can have many different meanings and expressions. According to some sources, love is an intense, deep affection for another person that involves care, closeness, protectiveness, attraction, affection, and trust. Love can also refer to a strong like for something or to like something a lot."
Bing talked about recognizing that someone is unique and special and how you might want to plan a future with them. I think rightly, it noted how you feel a mixture of empathy, compassion, and respect for the person.
Baby, don't hurt me
Things got a little dicey when Bing suggested, "You feel euphoric, emotionally unstable, and intensely attracted to the person."
Does love make us unstable? Maybe the unhealthy sort. Still, I don't know if Bing is wrong here.
Bing also brought up the green monster: "You feel a healthy jealousy and insecurity when the person is with someone else."
Is there such a thing as "healthy jealousy"? When my wife is talking to a colleague or new contact, I usually feel pride and note how she automatically makes anyone feel "seen." We'd both worry if I always felt jealous when she talked to her coworker "Bruce."
Bing ended with, "Love is a personal and subjective experience that can only be defined by you and your partner." I 100% agree.
Bing usually offers additional questions or topic pathways, so I chose the most obvious one: "How do I make someone fall in love with me?"
Sounding more like a matchmaker than a search engine, Bing warned me that "Making someone fall in love with you is not an easy task, and there is no guarantee that it will work."
Don't hurt me
It then launched into a bulleted list of strategies that included "trying to look your best," "be a good listener," "be yourself," and "be respectful and courteous and treat the person with kindness and consideration." There were a lot of really strong suggestions and, well, a few questionable ones. Like this:
"Leave a little mystery and don’t reveal everything about yourself at once. Keep some secrets and surprises for later."
Obviously, if life were a rom-com this is perfect advice.
Here's another chestnut:
"Flirt with the person and use humor, teasing, and innuendo to create sexual tension and attraction."
I guess if you're in a relationship this might be okay, but if you're acquaintances, all that flirting and teasing might get a little annoying or tiresome.
At another point, Bing chatbot suggested that you "smile often," something that should be easy if you like someone and are reacting naturally but could be seen as creepy if you're smiling at someone for no reason.
I then asked about knowing if someone loves you back; Bing acknowledged that this is tricky because people all express themselves in different ways. It did have some possible signs, all sourced from places like Momjunction.com. Wikihow (a favorite source, it seems), Healthline and others.
Signals like someone acting nervously around you, or showing "interest in your relationships with others." Again, yes, sure, maybe, but that also might be cause for concern. I guess it depends on if any of the feelings are mutual.
Also, flirting and even physical and eye contact come into play. I know people who are what I call touchers; they do not love me, but just like to make a point by platonically tapping me on the arm.
We then got to the most difficult question "How do I deal with rejection if they don't love me?"
Like the good friend Bing chatbot surely is, it counseled me that this "is not the end of the world." It also provided a nice list of coping strategies.
"Accept the rejection and don't take it personally," is probably Bing's best bit of advice.
Telling me to both "try to be friends or take some distance" might be a bit confusing. Perhaps we just stick with the distance.
After some rather strong and I would assess helpful counsel, Bing ends with "Rejection is not a failure, but an opportunity to grow and to find someone who is right for you."
Aside from the feelings of jealousy and instability and all that flirting and gentle touching, Bing seems to have a grasp on matters of the heart. All-in-all not bad advice across the board.
Bing, though, can't and won't love. It "appreciates me as a chat partner" but that's as far as the relationship goes.
I respect Bing's limitations.