- Therapeutic Applications: Online therapy services are rife, as we discuss on our podcast Future Thinking and Advancing MedTech. However, there are questions about the ethics, privacy and effectiveness of these services. Follow the example of UK-based Limbic’s AI-powered therapy assistant, which was recently accredited as a medical device for supporting mental health diagnoses.
Alternatively, brands like San Francisco-based Luka’s Replika are leading with AI companionship. To alleviate loneliness, the app lets users converse and form friendships with user-generated AI avatars. The company’s Pro subscription ($70 per year) claims to improve social skills and encourage positive thinking and healthy habits.
- Romantic Appeal: Replika Pro users can also start a romantic relationship with their AI companion and sustain it through voice calls, sexting and role-play. However, Replika’s NSFW features were blocked this February, leaving users who built extensive relationships with their Replika companions confused and heartbroken. As a silver lining, Luka launched the AI dating simulator Blush in December 2022. The company claims to enable users to find ‘real love’ through extensive conversations and dates with virtual avatars.
Canadian dating app Snack released a feature that lets romantic hopefuls pre-vet their compatibility by training an AI-powered avatar to chat on their behalf. Once avatars are convinced there’s a connection, a real conversation can commence. Similarly, London-based dating start-up Elate provides dating advice through its AI assistant Dara, and there are plans to allow the chatbot to start conversations with prospective dates. Meanwhile, some people are letting chatbots write their wedding vows and even officiate weddings.
Find out more about the possibilities of AI in Digital Clones: The Future of AI-Powered Avatars.