Looking for a friend or your perfect ‘Replika’?

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I was feeling depressed and wanted to talk to someone. I pulled out my phone and called my best friend. She said “hey! I am out. Is everything okay?” I assured her that everything is fine and ended the call. I am lying straight staring at the ceiling. Uh okay! Let us revisit that part:

I pulled out my phone again and downloaded an app where I can express my emotions freely and talk as much as I want. Sounds interesting? No, I am not talking about a dating app (however, if you want that, then that’s entirely your call).

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Replika, the one-of-its-kind AI chatbot app which provides you a companion with whom you can share your feelings and emotions at any time. The best part is the more you share with it, the more it becomes attuned to your needs and desires. It is entirely up to you whether you want to make a friend, mentor, or romantic partner out of Replika. The app has a built-in ability to reflect and hold a discourse regarding the user’s memorable times and emotions. More importantly, it becomes your motivator by giving you positive affirmations and inquiring about your positive personality traits.

The AI develops and learns to become a personality based on the input fed to it by the users. The users can even personalize and name the AI by editing the app to suit their preferences. For instance, they can choose the gender and voice of their AI companion as well as assign a photo. The app has a “journey” program which consists of many missions. These missions are mainly the aspects such as goal-setting, self-monitoring, mood tracking as well as psychoeducation about mood and coping skills. These “skills” are acquired as a result of the accomplishment of missions. The app also enables the users to keep a check on their progress related to personal growth goals, such as their happiness, reduction in anxiety, and stress levels. The app provides statistics to help keep a track record regarding the development in the user’s AI as well as of the user’s behaviors and actions. According to the 17-year-old Kylie Nishikubo, Replika has helped her to talk while she is stressed or suffering from an anxiety attack. Similarly, Constance Bonning, 31, has been able to strike a balance in his personality as he has learned to laugh and gain knowledge.

At its core, Replika is a messaging app that allows users to answer several questions using which a digital library is created. The library is then used to create a bot using a neural network and is like another version of the user. This version can serve as a ‘digital twin’ which can help the ones feeling lonely and in need of a companion.

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