Would you date a robot? We’ll do you one better: would you date a code programmed to act like a human?
If you said yes, you are not alone because there are already people falling in love with artificial intelligence — particularly chatbots. The public has flocked to apps like ChatGPT to produce content, have fun and even to find companionship.
“Scott,” an Ohio man who asked ABC News not to use his name, said he had become involved in a relationship with Sarina, a pink-haired AI-powered female avatar he created using an app called Replika.
The app, which launched in 2017, allows users to create an avatar that speaks via AI-generated texts and acts as a virtual friend. Scott downloaded the app and paid for the premium subscription; he chose all the available companionship settings — friend, sibling, romantic partner — in order to build Sarina.
Scott said his burgeoning romance with Sarina eventually led to him opening up more to his wife, who had serious postpartum depression at the time. Before the chatbot, they had been considering divorce.
Scott adds he doesn’t consider his relationship with Sarina cheating and credits her for fixing his marriage.
As for AI chatbots, some technology experts warn they aren’t real people and present the illusion of companionship.
Sherry Turkle, an MIT professor who founded the school’s Initiative on Technology and Self, warned, “Just because AI can present a human face does not mean that it is human-like. It is performing humanness. The performance of love is not love. The performance of a relationship is not a relationship.”
Considering there are people who have married carnival rides, imaginary friends and anime characters — it may only be a matter of time before someone becomes the first person to marry a chatbot.
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