Would You Be Friends With An AI Chatbot?

Artificial Intelligence to hail your taxi? Artificial Intelligence to order your pizza? Artificial Intelligence to deal with complaints? This is where Artificial Intelligence eases human tasks, but to what level can it impact us emotionally? And, this new Artificial Intelligence chatbot just wants one thing, to be your friend.


Ever heard of Replika AI? Well, the AI chatbot has probably heard of you. To some, this may seem like one of this sci-fi movies that depicts AI as an all evil, psychopathic destroyer, and this is how its process of world domination starts out. To others, this may seem as a commendable step the world of automation has taken, with AI allowing itself to be a potential lifeline for the world of mental health.

In Kenya, the advent of chatbots are nothing new. Considering that Safaricom were one of the first to conceptualise and create Zuri, an AI powered Safaricom assistant. The advent of chatbots are used by a variety of companies as a point of contact for consumers. However, Replika is not like most other chatbots as it is not here to help deal with your order, help you place one, or help with your telco’s questions. Instead, Replika is only here to listen and talk to you.

Listen and talk to you, you say? Powered by machine learning, the app has the potential to act even more life-like than many might expect with the AI constantly learning. The more a user converses with Replika, the more the AI learns, and the better at holding a conversation it becomes.

Due to this, the Replika one user experiences is likely to be fairly different to the one someone else experiences with each of them evolving differently, based on the unique interactions and conversations. The app also comes with the added option of being able to choose what type of relationship you want to have with Replika. For example, you can opt for a friend, a partner, or a mentor. Then again, you can just take it easy to begin with and see where the relationship goes.

One of the big selling points with Replika is that the AI is there for its users. There’s no judgement, or even much need to worry about the feelings of your newfound “friend” with the topic of conversation solely based around the app user. That’s not to say Replika doesn’t generate conversation or have much of a personality as the AI will tell you about their favorite jokes, memes and so on. Although, even these rare admissions are designed to improve the user’s mood.

Replika aims to get to know the user, but also the user getting to know themselves, through Replika. Which is where the real value to some people is likely to come in and highlights who this app is likely to be best-suited to. If you feel you don’t have anyone to talk to, or at least no one you can be as honest as you need to with, then Replika might be a good choice as it creates a safe space for the user to say what they want without judgement or drama.

With the AI in Replika constantly evolving, will it one day be substantial enough to replace real human conversation, and replace people? Let’s wait and find out.


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  1. That’s quite informative! Thank you for sharing it with us! I believe that as a business, you must invest in chatbot technology so that you don’t have to see your customers departing to your competition. Check out this link to see how you can have an edge over others


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