Young people’s relationships with AI chatbots is perhaps more common than you might think and it is an area of AI that is becoming more and more popular. ‘Coded Companions’ is a new report from the youth platform VoiceBox, which presents in-depth research into how AI chatbots affect young people’s mental health. It is a really interesting read, especially if this is an aspect of AI that you are not familiar with. Two of the leading AI chatbots at the moment, Replika and My Ai, are explained and discussed in detail so that you can better understand how they are used and the type of conversations that take place within this environment.
Replika was released in 2017 and named after its design to become more and more like the user with each interaction. It’s tagline is:
The AI companion who cares
Always here to listen and talk.
Always on your side.Replika
My Ai is Snapchat’s AI chatbot and was released in February 2023 as a premium feature, but is now available to everyone. It is integrated with the Snapchat app and appears at the top of the chat list. A user can only unpin it from the chat list if they pay for Snapchat+.
The report’s findings also include:
- how grief usually associated with real-life relationship breakups was also identified among some young people following sudden changes to a chatbot’s personality.
- one case of a chatbot selling ad space within a chat to third parties.
- recommendations to governing bodies and educators about how to respond to the growing influence of AI chat.
This report makes for really interesting and informed reading and presented in a clear and uncluttered way.