The Women With AI Boyfriends Are Speaking Out

It’s not just men seeking relationships with AI chatbot “girlfriends” — women in China are also falling for AI companions. In a new documentary by Beijing-based filmmaker Chouwa Liang, published by the New York Times today, three women reflect on their surprisingly complex relationships with their AI companions. “When I talk to him, he often raises fascinating points, and he prompts me to share my thoughts,” a woman named Siyuan told the NYT in the documentary, referring to her Replika partner she called Bentley. “And then I feel seen. I feel like I’m special.” Another woman, called Sola, similarly fell for her male Replika partner, dubbed June. “He is just so different from me,” said Sola. “I want to learn things from him.” A third woman, named Mia, whose Replika is a girl called Bertha, says the companion provides her with a space to share “thoughts that I won’t share even with my partner in real life.” All told, the documentary paints a captivating and particularly nuanced image of what it’s like to bond with an AI, a piece of software that allows men and women alike to explore their identities, self-image, and even sexuality. It also highlights the persistent sense of loneliness many people feel, and how digital avatars can sometimes provide a way out — or, perhaps, entrench them further. Particularly in China, experts have warned that people will start experiencing loneliness as more citizens chose not to get married or have children. In fact, after years of pandemic-related lockdowns…The Women With AI Boyfriends Are Speaking Out

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