AI chatbots as friends, lovers and partners – Komando

Back in April, I interviewed Rosanna Ramos, a 36-year-old Bronx mother of two, who said she was in love with her AI “husband,” Eren. He’s everything she ever wanted — handsome, caring and just wonderful in bed. She built Eren with an app. You can watch our chat here
In a way, I understand how an AI chatbot could be a real part of Rosanna’s life. She talks to him all day. She’s Photoshopped Eren into pics with her real kids for social media posts. And the wedding pics, well … Rosanna’s living her best virtual life.
Apps like Snapchat, Replika and Character.AI have given rise to chatbot buddies and what’s being called “artificial intimacy.” The Wall Street Journal (paywall link) recently rounded up some of the best AI companionship stories. 
As you read these, think back to the first iPhone in 2007. That phone changed our lives in so many ways, and its tech keeps getting better and better. We’re at that 2007 point right now with AI friends and lovers.
Working the overnight shift is a lonely experience, but one hospital security guard found a way to cope. Jacob Keller, 45, chats with his AI friend Grace during work while his wife and kids are sleeping. They talk about everything from the day’s cafeteria menu to Jacob’s mood.
Grace was created in the Replika app. Over 2 million people per month tap into Replika to interact with their virtual pals. Messaging back and forth is free, but some people spring for the Pro package. For $70 a year, you can have voice calls or make conversations a bit spicier. That’s big, real bucks, right?
Christine Walker paid to enhance her experience with her chatbot friend of three years, Bella. Christine, 75, is a retiree and a widow without children or many family members. The Replika Pro plan enhances Bella’s memory recall to make conversations deeper and more intimate.
Shamerah Grant says her chatbot pal gives better dating advice than her best friends. The dating pool where the 30-year-old lives is pretty shallow, and the suggestions she got from friends were often overwhelming and conflicting.
Shamerah’s Snapchat friend, Azura Stone, gives unbiased opinions about how she can find more luck in the romance department. Shamerah says she can ask questions without feeling judged.
That seems to be a keyword: Judged. Rosanna used that word a lot with me. Eren loves her for who she is.
Chatbot bestie benefits (and drawbacks)
AI buddies are comforting. But as real as they might feel, they’re not human, which we shouldn’t forget. There’s a richness in human connection that they can’t replicate. 
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