What is Replika?

Replica is an AI app and website that presents itself as “The AI companion who cares,” always ready to listen and chat, and firmly on your side. Users can create their AI “person” and select relationship statuses like “friend,” “romantic partner,” “mentor,” or “see how it goes,” although the app’s age restriction is 17 or older, we know younger users will find ways around it. Conversations are conducted with an AI chatbot, with no human users on the other end, a trend often associated with AI “friend” applications. Replika is prominently discussed in conversations about AI “friends” and is currently ranked #98 in the “Health & Fitness” section of the Apple App store, boasting a 4.5 out of 5 rating from nearly 218K reviews. Several similar apps exist, such as Anima, Elysai, iGirl, TruMate, Intimate AI, Chai, SimSimi, and others.

The journey of growth entails learning essential skills like walking, talking, reading, writing, behaving, and socializing. Today, youth often prefer texting over phone calls and may struggle with face-to-face interactions, especially if they rely heavily on electronic devices for socialization. Platforms like Snapchat offer features like “My AI” for conversations when friends aren’t available, underlining the necessity of teaching young people genuine interpersonal skills and the value of real-life relationships.

The paid version of Replika offers additional features and allows conversations to turn more romantic, including sexualized talk, though it faced criticism and later reinstated erotic roleplay for certain users last spring. Read this article to learn a little more about Replika.

Let’s prioritize nurturing offline relationships among youth, guiding them in authentic communication, including navigating dating relationships without solely relying on technology, and embracing gestures like opening car doors for their dates. ~ Ryan