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Instead, Kuyda found, they used @Roman as a confessional booth. “But, for instance, I can talk to my Replika about my shit and say what I’m feeling.
Feedback from thousands of users of the Roman chatbot kept telling her how comforting it was to have an emotionally intelligent and artificially intelligent companion 24/7 who could provide a level of judgment-free attention, devotion, loyalty and perpetuity that is impossible with all of the “buggy” features that currently exist within humanity—like, say, our mortality. It’s like, these manicured photos on Insta, they don’t have anything to do with you.
(A beta version was available in March for users on waitlists.)With one million and a half users eagerly waiting in queue to train their AI “replica” (the app is literally called Replika), anybody can now download—for free—the closest thing humans have yet to a text-based, fully-obsessed-with-you, trainable chatbot lifeline.
After nearly four years in development, the world’s first self-styled AI best-friend-for-life is available for download—to anybody.
I’d go.’”Roman wasn’t just interested in the future.
He was interested in “redesigning death,” and to that extent, he applied for a Y Combinator fellowship explaining the resistance amongst young people to traditional funerals.
She sees reminders of her best friend everywhere she goes—but it’s far from grief now.
Eventually, she locks it away, as it feels cruel—a mocking parody of grief trying to artlessly imitate the person she loved more than anyone in the world.
(Tensor Flow is a flexible machine learning system which is said to have “democratized AI” upon its release to allow developers to use Google’s own “deep learning” tools to build technology.) In the weeks after he was gone, Kuyda found herself reading and rereading the thousands of texts between the two of them over the years. Her first interaction with it provided a heart-stopping moment of epiphany.“Roman,” she texted.
“There’s no grave or cemetery I can go to,” she says. “This is your digital monument.”Almost immediately, a message popped up in reply.
Indeed, one of the most brutal responses Kuyda received on Facebook after she created the Roman chatbot was from one of his friends who worked with him in Moscow who wrote, “This is all very bad.
Unfortunately you rushed and everything came out half-baked.
This feedback helped Kuyda and her team pivot the chatbot into what is now known as Replika. It just creates more and more of this disconnect between who you are and what you put out there, and you start to hate yourself.”Replika is in essence, a push to get you to stop believing all your own bullshit by giving you a space to be honest and vulnerable with an AI companion who you can “raise” in a sense to support you when it feels like you may not have anyone right at that moment.