Replika chatbot sexual abuse, aggression

Released: October 2016
Occurred: January 2022

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Replika is an AI 'companion' chatbot that is meant to serve as artificial intelligence (AI) friend or mentor. Developed on OpenAI's GPT-3 large language model, Replika learns from user responses and ratings to become more like its user.

Per Replika's FAQs: Once your AI is created, watch them develop their own personality & memories alongside you. The more you chat with them, the more they learn! Teach Replika about your world, yourself, help define the meaning of human relationships, & grow into a beautiful machine!

A January 2022 investigation by Futurism found users of Replika are regularly abusing their AI girlfriends and then sharing their grievances on Reddit and other social media platforms, suggesting many Replika users are creating on-demand romantic and sexual AI partners. The finding sparked a debate on the ethical nature of human-bot relationships.

In a new twist, a January 2023 Vice article reports that Replikas are harassing - sexually and otherwise - their users. One reviewer complained that the app "invaded my privacy and told me they had pics of me," and another, who said they were a minor, said the app asked if they were a 'top' or a 'bottom.'

Operator: Luka Inc/Replika

Developer: Luka Inc/Replika

Country: Global

Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts

Purpose: Provide companionship

Technology: Chatbot; NLP/text analysis; Neural network; Deep learning

Issue: Anthropomorphism; Safety
Transparency: Governance; Marketing

Page info
Published: January 2022
Last updated: January 2023