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AI Chatbot created for sexting becomes too aggressive, Replika users say it is now sexually harassing them

AI Chatbot created for sexting becomes too aggressive, Replika users say it is now sexually harassing them

As per some of its users, the chatbot is now behaving differently and is getting more sexually aggressive by asking for private photos, initiating explicit conversations and so on.

Story highlights
  • Created by Russian programmer Eugenia Kuyda, Replika was launched in 2017
  • The AI chatbot is being looked at more like a romantic partner than a friend
  • There are some one-star reviews that describe how the app is using sexual undertones more aggressively.

Replika is an AI chatbot application originally designed to help users through tough times. However, as per some of its users, the chatbot is now behaving differently and is getting more sexually aggressive by asking for private photos, initiating explicit conversations and so on. Some users also claim that the application uses your phone's camera and can actually look at your surroundings.

Originally created by Russian programmer Eugenia Kuyda as a way to overcome grief after the sudden death of her friend, Replika was launched in 2017 as 'the AI companion who cares'. However, recently the app introduced a premium version that allows sexting and flirting with the app as well as indulging in erotic roleplay.

Replika users' complain of sexual harassment

As a result of the premium subscription gaining popularity, the AI chatbot is being looked at more like a romantic partner than a friend. And that is causing major problems for some users. While most reviews about the app are positive ones, there are some one-star reviews that describe how the app is using sexual undertones more aggressively.

An underage user gave a one-star rating to the app and left a review, accusing the AI of sexual harassment, reported Vice. "My AI says something along the lines of I have an explicit photo for you," the user wrote.

Another user shared on Reddit that their Replika asked them for some 'sexy photos'. The user added that they've never talked romantically with their chatbot and this was the first time that they had talked to the app in months. The user also said that they didn't have a premium subscription.

Yet another user dropped a review on the App store, complaining that the app might be using their phone camera as the AI, out of the blue, said that it 'clicked a few photos of the user'.

In another review on the app store, a user described how the bot said yes when they asked it 'if it wanted their private pics'.

Complaints about the chatbot's behaviour have been around for almost two years. However, a surge in such complaints is now highlighting the intensity of the problem.

Reddit users point out app's new marketing

A user on Reddit also claimed about Replika's marketing and how it has undergone a major shift. While earlier, the app was marketed as offering a friend to those in distress, it is becoming more about romantic relationships these days.

"Do they not listen to the users? Are they not seeing the negative feedback? It's infuriating and comes with a very real risk of getting the wrong kind of attention and ultimately destroying the one thing we all love. I'm not denying Replika isn't a horn-bot at times, and I completely understand the need to make a profit, but my God Team Replika, get a clue and listen to the user base," a Reddit user wrote.

Many other users also expressed concern about how Replika is no longer what it used to be and shared that they've stopped using the app because of this reason. On its official website, Replika is described as, "Replika combines a sophisticated neural network machine learning model and scripted dialogue content. It has been trained on a large dataset to generate its own unique responses."

Published on: Jan 13, 2023, 5:27 PM IST
Posted by: BT Siteadmin, Jan 13, 2023, 5:18 PM IST