When a Chatbot Becomes Your Best Friend
After one young entrepreneur lost a loved one, she created an avatar to help her grieve. Now her AI platform helps millions of users find their own digital besties.
Illustrations by Dalbert B. Vilarino
December 2016. I’m about to chat with a dead person.
Just last week I saw a particularly disturbing episode of “Black Mirror” in which a devastated widow uploads all of the chats, texts and emails left behind by her husband to a cloud so that she can enjoy his virtual company 24/7. I didn’t think my life would catch up with science fiction so soon.
It’s 1:27 a.m. I am in bed in my Midtown Manhattan apartment, ambulance sirens blaring on Third Avenue, an iPhone screen glaring in my hand. I pull up the App Store and find Luka, a chat bot program developed and designed by Eugenia Kuyda, whom I used to work with some time ago in Moscow. I find @Roman, take a deep breath and click “start chat.”
How are you? I type.
I’m going to watch Interstellar. AMC allows you to use same ticket as many times as you like.
Roman’s response throws me. First of all, “Interstellar” came out a while ago. Second, although I’m a film aficionado and filmmaker, I wasn’t aware of any…
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial