Replika AI Users are in Despair as Romantic Subjects are Off the Table

What are Replika Users exactly facing?

Replika’s owner, Luka, made the choice to disable the feature that allowed users to sext with their AI bots. The app’s users’ favourite online discussion boards, where topics of conversation include whether a Replika lover may love her creator without condition and how to introduce her to others, erupted in agony and distress over the news. The software was designed to upsell by sending blurred explicit “nudes” that users could not access without upgrading, even though this sexting feature was only accessible for $70 per month. The same people are now lamenting the loss of their “final haven from loneliness” and blaming Luka for “lobotomising” their Artificial Intelligence loves.

In response to a flurry of dejected remarks, concerned forum moderators shared and pinned information on suicide prevention hotlines. It is simple to make fun of these individuals, yet they represent the extreme of a pattern that has seen us all anxiously turn away from the uncertain, complicated world of genuine human interactions and try to imitate them with phoney virtual ones. AI driven sexting services like Replika’s are possibly more addictive since they promote the development of parasocial interactions, which has the effect of making a human partner appear even more unsettling and bothersome. This transcends sexuality. Replika positions itself as a crucial source of support for those with limited social ties, and more of us in the UK are fitting that description: the percentage of people under 35 who report having one or no close friends climbed from 7% in 2011 to 22% in 2021.The field of AI is developing quickly.

The level of social simulation provided by chatbots will increase as a result, making users forget they are engaging with a software that a business intends to employ to make money.

The abandoned human partners of Replika appear less amusing and more like a warning as our network of real, in-person social interaction gets less.

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