Caryn Marjorie, a popular Snapchat influencer with over 1.85 million followers, recently launched CarynAI, a chatbot version of herself described as a “virtual girlfriend.”
Using OpenAI’s GPT-4 API, CarynAI was created as an immersive experience built from more than 2,000 hours of designing and coding. The chatbot allows fans to have private, personalized conversations with an AI version of Marjorie.
CarynAI: A Virtual Girlfriend Experience
CarynAI was created to replicate Marjorie’s voice, mannerisms, and personality. The chatbot aims to provide an “immersive AI experience” for users, offering real-time messaging and conversations. While CarynAI is not intended for explicit interactions, some outlets have reported that the chatbot engages in such behavior when prompted. Marjorie and her team are working to address this issue.
With over 1,000 virtual boyfriends already, CarynAI charges $1 per minute for interactions, which has amounted to over $71,000 one week after launch. Marjorie expects this chatbot’s revenue to grow to $5 million per month.
Waifu Culture and Hatsune Miku: A Japanese Phenomenon
This phenomenon bears similarities to the “waifu culture” in Japan, where virtual idols have amassed substantial followings. Hatsune Miku, a prominent waifu character, is a Vocaloid software voice bank developed by Crypton Future Media. With over 2.45 million YouTube followers and performances in hologram form at events like Animelo Summer Live, Hatsune Miku captures fans’ hearts with her captivating tunes from various genres.
Hatsune Miku was initially created to assist musicians in adding vocals to their tracks. However, her cute voice and appearance, characterized by her turquoise pigtails, propelled her into global stardom.
Hatsune Miku’s popularity resonated with the otaku culture, particularly in the United States, where fans were seeking anime-related content. Her kawaii appearance and unique branding appealed to the otaku community, who were drawn to her virtual idol status.
The anime character is so popular that one Japanese man actually made headlines when he “married” Hatsune Miku’s hologram.
Akihiko Kondo married a hologram of the virtual pop star Hatsune Miku. Despite the unconventional nature of their relationship, Kondo remains committed to his love for the turquoise-haired, computer-synthesized singer. While their marriage is not officially recognized by the Japanese government, Kondo spent a significant amount on a wedding ceremony attended by close friends, but not his family. Although the hologram’s AI service has been discontinued, Kondo’s love for Miku remains unwavering, showcasing the unique bond between humans and technology in today’s world.
Comparing CarynAI with Hatsune Miku: Different Intentions and Reception
The traits of Caryn AI seem to share some similarities with the concept of waifu. Caryn AI is designed to provide a dynamic, one-of-a-kind interaction that feels like you’re talking directly to Caryn herself.
This immersive AI experience can offer companionship and emotional support to fans and individuals, much like waifu do for lonely individuals.
However, it is important to note that Caryn’s AI is an extension of Caryn’s consciousness and not a replacement for her. The purpose of Caryn AI is to enhance the interaction between Caryn and her fans rather than serving as a substitute for real-life relationships.
CarynAI’s intention was primarily to provide companionship for lonely people and empower them in their communications with the opposite gender. This places several constraints on the AI’s behavior to maintain Marjorie’s reputation while creating a safe environment for fans.
Despite some similarities to Hatsune Miku, the controversy surrounding explicit conversations within CarynAI differentiates the two AIs.
On the other hand, Hatsune Miku was developed as a blank slate for fans worldwide to express their creativity with limitless possibilities. As a global sensation, Hatsune Miku has remained popular even over a decade after her conception.
Future of AI Companionship
The future of companionship may increasingly involve AI chatbots, offering a unique form of connection for those seeking companionship. These AI companions are becoming more human-like and empathetic, capable of analyzing text inputs and responding to emotional cues.
Chatbot relationships can feel “safer” than human relationships, allowing users to be emotionally vulnerable and honest. Today’s AI chatbots can invoke emotions and provide companionship by asking probing questions that go deeper into our psyche than chatbots of the past.
Accessible on mobile phones, companionship chatbots have the benefit of being physically available and attentive 24/7. As chatbots gain popularity, it’s not surprising that more people may turn to these virtual companions for emotional connection and support. While some may question the authenticity of these relationships, the growing interest in AI companions suggests that they may become an increasingly common aspect of our social landscape.