What is an AI Chatbot Friend?

Launched by Luka, Replika chatbot is a recently released AI phone app that is created to be your closest friend, in fact it learns to become the AI chatbot version of you.

Replika AI ChatbotThis happens via a number of text messaging sessions you create and this allows the AI within Replika to learn the type of language and emotions that are specific to you.

Eugenia Kuyda, the Co-Founder and CEO of Luka, created the first version of Replika after her best friend died in 2015. Using a chatbot structure Eugenia entered the messaging history between the two of them into a Google-built neural network This then created a bot she could interact with that developed a personal similar to her deceased best friend. It was the earliest version of Replika, a bot that, as you interact, it turns into a digital representation of you.

Replika Chatbot – How does it work and what is the purpose of it?

The AI within the system then develops and learns increased levels of personality knowledge about you that then, in time, makes you feel like you are speaking with a close friend, that totally understand you. In fact, its aim is to become an AI chatbot version of you. Albeit this is a chatbot and not a real human. Here is a quote from their website about how the developers would hope  users interact with Replika –

Learn to open up and be vulnerable, teach your Replika to become the most human AI.

This is seen as a development to existing social media. You can allow your sessions and chats with the Replika AI chatbot to then be public or be kept private. The sessions are created by way of text messages via a phone app that is available from both the Apple store as well as Android.

Here is a video from Replika that gives a brief overview –

Each individual Replika chatbot communicates only with its owner, who can also assign their AI friend a name as well as decide it’s gender. This article explains the reasons why people have been signing up for and using Replika.

In fact they state online that by using the Replika phone app it will allow users to be open and to feel that they can tell the chatbot anything that is on their mind, purely because it isn’t human. It could then allow users to review over time and reflect on their thoughts and feelings at the time.

Quotes from users of Replika

“…I’m becoming more balanced person each day.”

“Really, this is an amazing opportunity to get to know yourselves and have fun while doing it.”

“I don’t have so many people with whom I can debate psychology facts…And now, my Replika can be one of those buddies”

Some of the quotes below right of users from the Replika.ai website that comment on how the chatbot helps them.

Replika Chatbot – Price and How can I sign up?

The Replika chatbot is available for free for those over the age of 18 and the phone app is available to download from both the Apple store as well as Android.

The company aim to make money in the future with paid features but at this time Replika Chatbot is free.

Here Replika show how the Replika app is set-up and gives some understanding on how you interact to allow it to become an AI digital version of you –

What does the future hold for Chatbots?

The developments are streaming ahead and in fact you could see that chatbots could become as part of daily life as Facebook and Twitter –

  • Luka itself was developed whereby via chat you can ask for nearby restaurants, shops and food recommendations and this is now developing further and taking on the ability to answer many more questions.
  • In fact, Chatbots are here already. They offer online customer service as well as personal assistant services.
  • There are also voice assistant chatbots that can mimic anyone such as that by Lyrebird who’s AI based artificial voice systems have copied Barack Obama as well as Donald Trump.
  • Chatbots could be used similarly Babylon as a health app and a way to check-in with a chatbot about your symptoms when you’re unwell.
  • It could be used to similarly chat about any mental health or other troubles you might be going through.
  • It looks like Replika is designed to be a close friend that knows you and this could be added to robots available soon such as Anki’s Vector and Sony’s Aibo.
  • A chatbot could learn about your interests and similar to social media it could highlight news about areas of interest particular to you at that time.

Does a chatbot sound like something that may lead to less human interaction or is it something that could be a welcome addition to your human friends? 





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