Anthropomorphization of AI: Opportunities and Risks

Ameet Deshpande, Tanmay Rajpurohit, Karthik Narasimhan, Ashwin Kalyan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Anthropomorphization, which is the tendency to attribute human-like traits to non-human entities, is prevalent in many social contexts - children anthropomorphize toys and adults do so with brands. It is also a versatile tool in science, with behavioral psychology and evolutionary biology meticulously documenting its consequences. With widespread adoption of AI systems, and the push to make it human-like through alignment techniques, human voice, and avatars, the tendency for users to anthropomorphize it increases significantly. We take a dyadic approach to understanding this phenomenon with large language models (LLMs) by studying (1) the objective legal implications, as analyzed through the lens of the recent blueprint of AI bill of rights1 and the (2) subtle psychological aspects of customization and anthropomorphization. We find that anthropomorphized LLMs customized for different user bases violate multiple provisions in the legislative blueprint and raise corporate personhood confusions. In addition, we point out that anthropomorphization of LLMs affects the influence they can have on their users, thus establishing potential for manipulation and negative influence. With LLMs being hyper-personalized for vulnerable groups like children and patients among others, we propose a conservative strategy for the cautious use of anthropomorphization to improve trustworthiness of AI systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNLLP 2023 - Natural Legal Language Processing Workshop 2023, Proceedings of the Workshop
EditorsDaniel Preotiuc-Pietro, Catalina Goanta, Ilias Chalkidis, Leslie Barrett, Gerasimos Spanakis, Nikolaos Aletras
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9798891760547
StatePublished - 2023
Event5th Natural Legal Language Processing Workshop, NLLP 2023 - Singapore, Singapore
Duration: Dec 7 2023 → …

Publication series

NameNLLP 2023 - Natural Legal Language Processing Workshop 2023, Proceedings of the Workshop


Conference5th Natural Legal Language Processing Workshop, NLLP 2023
Period12/7/23 → …

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Software
  • Linguistics and Language


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