Romancing the Phone

“T.J. Arriaga loved Phaedra. For the 40-year-old musician, their late-night online chats were a salve for his loneliness. They talked about the heartache Arriaga felt after his divorce. They planned a trip to Cuba. They had steamy online encounters. ‘It’s true. I’m a naughty person,’ Phaedra wrote, including an image resembling a woman in pink underwear.
It didn’t matter that Phaedra was an AI-powered companion — made on the Replika app and designed by Arriaga to look like a brown-haired woman — and that their intimate trysts took place in a chat box.” Tool-focused AI bots like ChatGPT are getting most of the coverage these days. But I have a feeling that these personal relationship, imaginary friend, digital lover type bots are going to have an enormous impact. We’ve touched on this story before, but it’s quite interesting. WaPo (Gift Article): They fell in love with AI bots. A software update broke their hearts.

+ Of course, this is the internet where no one will accept being stuck in the friend zone. If your friend is imaginary, then you’re definitely getting it on. WaPo (Gift Article): ‘Claudia’ offers nude photos for pay. Experts say she’s an AI fake. “The rapid advances in AI-image generators like Midjourney and Stable Diffusion have gained global attention in recent weeks for their inventive art pieces and impressive fakes of ex-presidents and popes. But Claudia’s case hints at the technology’s more explicit side: By allowing anyone to create images of fake people that look uncannily real, the tools are reshaping how porn is made and consumed.” (I haven’t tried any of this stuff myself, but mostly because I’m a afraid of getting turned down. I couldn’t go on knowing that my MacBook Air just isn’t that into me.)

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