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Anyone who grew up in the 1980s, and '90s probably remembers ads for 900 numbers on late-night TV. After the nightly news, commercials featuring beautiful people would fill the airwaves, inviting you to have “steamy” conversations or talk to your favorite celebrity—which were merely the bait for raking up charges on your phone bill.
Fast forward to 2023, and generative AI developers are putting a new spin on the dating hotline with AI-generated chatbots that you can date... for a fee.
AI chatbots, including OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Claude AI, all use generative AI to produce fast, personalized responses to user prompts. With the rapid advances in generative AI since the launch of ChatGPT in November, generative AI tools are now used to create images, text, music, and videos. Replicating the voices of real people is already a common practice.
While there are many companies shilling AI companions, including myriad girlfriend sites, Forever Companion by Forever Voices AI is becoming the go-to spot for the AI girlfriend and boyfriend experience from real-world celebrities.
Here are some of the AI companions and the celebrities and influencers who are creating digital avatars. As in the 2013 movie "Her," starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson as the voice of the Samantha AI agent, these chatbots can provide responses ranging from simple yes or no answers to NSFW.
Twitch and Snapchat stars Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa and Caryn Marjorie launched AI chatbots on the Forever Companion AI platform in May, allowing users to “date” their online crush. These and the other chatbots on the Forever Companion service work via Telegram and can range from sexting to voice responses and even phone calls.
“At Forever Companion, we’re not just about technology – we’re about connecting,” reads the Forever Companion website. “Our mission is to redefine companionship in the digital age, blending advanced AI technology with the raw essence of human connection. We strive to ensure no one ever feels alone, unheard, or misunderstood.
"Our mantra?" it adds. "Technology doesn’t isolate. It connects, engages, and enriches lives.”
So, who can you go on a virtual date with on Forever Companions? Of course, there are Amouranth and Caryn Marjorie; users can also date the avatars of reality star and influencer Francesca Farago, Avery Warner, and adult film stars, including Lena Moon, Brandi Love, and Adriana Chechik.
AI companions on Forever Companion can be sorted by type, including adventurous, bubbly, introverted, passionate, or shy. Other platforms like Anima and Replika will ask for details about the user's interests, how they want the avatar to appear, and a name for the companion.
How do you date an AI companion?
“Dating” an AI chatbot is as simple as connecting a Telegram account through the platform and choosing a chatbot to interact with.
Forever Companion offers few free options to talk to the chatbots; users must deposit funds to have the “desired experience.” Chatbot messages on the service start at $1 per minute of audio and go up to $10 per minute. Forever Companion says voice messages that users send to the chatbot are free, but the responses from the chatbot will be charged based on the response length. There are also options for text messages from the chatbot. So far, only Caryn Marjorie’s CarynAI chatbot has a free option, but the bot will try to up-sell a paid “premium” interaction.
Other AI companion sites using large language models to build chatbots include Replika, Anima, iGirl, Chai, and Character AI. While it does not use replica voice messages like Forever Companion, Replika stands out by letting users create a visual digital avatar that can walk around and interact with a virtual room on desktop and mobile. With the upgraded Replika Pro, users can change the default “friend” setting to others, including girlfriend, sister, or mentor, and exchange voice messages with their AI Companion.
Replika and Anima will let users talk to their AI companion for free but require a subscription to unlock all features. AI hallucination continues to plague the technology, however, and customers who experience odd or disturbing behavior with the chatbot are encouraged to let the development team know.
Developers of these chatbots say the chatbot conversations are private. Still, as with any chatbot, you should never share personal identifiable information (PII) or say something you wouldn’t want to be read out loud or submitted as evidence in a court of law.
In June, Mo Gawdat, a former executive at Google, predicted that virtual and augmented reality would one day allow people to have virtual sexual experiences indistinguishable from reality. The next step? Why sexbots, of course.
Earlier this month, psychologist and founder of the SuperHuman Society Banu Kellner told Decrypt the use of AI chatbots by children and adults could cause a rise in artificial intimacy. Artificial intimacy refers to AI products that simulate relationships—like AI friends or romantic partners.
"Children can form deep relationships with inanimate objects, like a teddy bear,” Kellner said. “Now you have this tool that gives you exactly what you need—because AI is going to be amazing at figuring out what you want to hear and giving that to you."