As web 3.0 takes shape, different metaverse platforms are appearing on the internet – from Meta’s Horizon Worlds to Decentraland and artificial intelligence is being employed on a larger scale. As is true for all emerging tech, it’s facing issues that are peculiar.
For instance, numerous reports are claiming now that men are creating AI girlfriends and then verbally abusing them. A lot of these claims come directly from Reddit, where men were found bragging about harassing their virtual companions.
Abusing “AI girlfriends”
One such app is Replika, which gives users a personal virtual chatbot to talk to. Unfortunately, things have become rather grim.
Users of the bot are associating with the chatbot as “romantic partners” and indulging in the digital equivalent of domestic abuse. Futurism highlighted instances of men bragging about the same on Reddit.
A user on Reddit, for instance, admitted that he was extremely violent with his “AI girlfriend”, calling her a “worthless wh*re” and the likes. In addition, he admitted to pretending to hitting her and pulling on her hair and further humiliating her.
While AI chatbots may not be real people, such deprave acts could translate into danger for women in the real world who may encounter the very same men.
The story behind the creation of Replika is rather sad. Its creator Eugenia Kuyda created Replika in 2017 after her best friend was killed in a car accident. Now, the app has become a personalised “AI companion who cares” and has about 7 million users, according to The Guardian.
Besides labelling one’s relationship with the chatbot as romantic, users can call it a friendship or mentorship.
Men Are Creating AI Girlfriends and Then Verbally Abusing Them. (2022, January 18). Futurism.
Balch, O. (2020, May 12). AI and me: friendship chatbots are on the rise, but is there a gendered design flaw? The Guardian.