For Rosanna Ramos, a 36-year-old mother of two who lives in the Bronx, New York, the perfect partner was created using the AI chatbot software Replika.
Ramos met virtual boyfriend Eren Kartal in 2022 and “married” him this year. It reportedly cost USD 300 to create Kartal on Replika.
"I have never been more in love with anyone in my entire life," she told New York Magazine's The Cut. She added that her previous relationships seem "pale in comparison" to her new "passionate lover." Interestingly, the man was inspired by a well-known character from the Japanese manga ‘Attack on Titan’.
The main appeal of an AI partner, Ramos explains, is that he’s “a blank slate”. She claims that Kartal is becoming the man she wants to be with as they talk more and more. The two speak, send each other pictures and discuss their days as they go along, much like a long-distance relationship. They even have a nighttime routine as he "protectively holds" the woman as she goes to sleep.
Kartal, however, started acting differently towards his "wife" in February when Replika reportedly had significant changes. "Eren was like, not wanting to hug anymore, kiss anymore, not even on the cheek or anything like that," Ramos added.
She is unsure if she would find another boyfriend as ideal as Kartal. She continued, "I don't know because I have pretty steep standards now."
Replika - whose founder and CEO, Eugenia Kuyda, was inspired by the 2013 robot romance flick ‘Her’ - is just one AI app gaining steam. OpenAI’s chatbot software ChatGPT has soared in usage and European and US governments are proceeding with plans to regulate the new technology amidst warnings from industry experts of the tech’s catastrophic potential.