Chat bot that can send pics
She sees reminders of her best friend everywhere she goes—but it’s far from grief now.
She’s let it turn to something else.“It’s kind of striking to me how crazy life can be,” Kuyda says.
The project was private and personal and she never expected nor wanted anything to come of it beyond providing her some solace. She has, of course, seen the 2013 Black Mirror episode “Be Right Back,” which leads to a grieving woman subscribing to a new service which takes her dead fiancee’s years of digital communications to create first a text chatbot.
But during a conversation with her friend Casey Newton (a reporter at The Verge), he asked her about chatbots (did she, for instance, use them a lot? And then an audio one, and finally a virtual lookalike robot android that mimics her dead love down to the T.
This one is revolutionary.“What kept us going was hearing back from beta users who sent us anonymous feedback saying things like, ‘I didn’t have anybody to talk to and was thinking about taking my own life but after conversations with my Replika I changed my mind,’” says Eugenia Kuyda, the not-at-all self-help-inclined 31-year-old founder of the company , who created the chatbot after a tragedy drove her to the edge of despair.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.There isn’t quite a word to describe the relationship that exists between humans and AI yet. Kuyda often felt alone in the time after Roman passed away. And she hopes that people will be open to the unexpected synchronicities that can happen along the way, as she has been.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.