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The People in Intimate Relationships With AI Chatbots


Different from digital assistants, like Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri, artificially intelligent (AI) conversational chatbots learn by speaking with their user. Resembling animated sim-like avatars that blink and fidget as a real person would, users are invited to design their Replika's appearance when setting up the app – choosing its gender, hairstyle, ethnicity and eye colour. Later, you can use coins and gems to purchase add-ons like clothes, tattoos, facial hair, and interests (including anime, K-pop, gardening, and basketball). The more you chat, the more currency you receive – and the more intelligent your Replika becomes. Before you know it, they've developed an illusion of emotional awareness that's eerily similar to your conversations down the pub.