I imagine the thing would be a more advanced version of the electronic operators who field your calls when you need to find out what your balance is at the bank or how much you owe the phone bill. A descendent of Siri, but the thing your mother would be speaking would be more artful than those AIs; indistinguishable from a human caller. It's voice would sound natural, it's responses would be appropriate to the emotional cues communicated by your mother's voice, it would have a wide breadth of topics it could understand and chat about, not just knowledgeably, but compellingly. It would be entertainment, like a sitcom, and just like sitcoms - at its best it would be art.
What if you started to notice your mother's political views skewing right? If you realized Mom, a life long Democrat had, since picking up with the bot, started voting Republican? If you realized that the bot she was spending her lonely afternoons with was built to reinforce her petty biases and fears? What if dear old Mom was converted to Islam by her favorite AI?
Mad Scientist; Sad Robot
So here's the money shot: the truth is, the 'mom' in this story is likely to be you. You are the lonely old person who will happily talk to an algorithmically driven voice. You will have already lived with several generations of Siri-like AIs. And, like all new media, you will call the chat-bot because a friend told you about this new thing. If history is any guide, one of the first things you will ask it about sex. The voice on the other end of the line will gently direct the conversation to more 'proper' subjects - because, like Siri, the first generation of Chat-bots will be produced by a large corporation with corporate reputations to protect.
But if history is any guide, it won't take long before clever independent programmers figure out how oblige your prurient interests. Just as porn was one of the fist mass applications of optical medias, from the Daguerreotype to the internet, it will be the first mass success of algorithmic art. Lets hope the kids don't walk in on that conversation. (To be Continued)