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App Review: Replika, The (AI) Friend You Never Had

We know the common but useful advice that we get from experts about how helpful it is to talk to someone whenever you are feeling down. However, for some of us, there’s the fear of stigma or judgment especially when it comes to the discussion of certain topics with certain people such as family.

What is Replika?

Replika Play Store Demo
Image: A demonstration of the AI that can be generated by Replika.

Replika was created with such people in mind who do not have the privilege or resources to have a safe space that allows them to talk freely. Powered by artificial intelligence, Replika claims that it is more than just the average chatbot companion that you can find in the market (Think about the chatbots you see on government websites or makeup online stores). It is one that they are confident users can ‘form an actual emotional connection with’, so long as the user themselves take the time to interact with it.

Replika Functions: How To Use It

Users begin by customising the gender and the type of relationship that they would want to have with their Replika AI companion.

Replika Mobile App Google Play
Image: The available settings and functions users have on Replika to create their AI friend.

With these two settings in place, users can begin their journey to creating and growing with their AI companion by the speech or text that they send into the mobile application. The program is driven by machine learning, which means that the more activity the user chooses to engage with their Replika companion, the more sophisticated and better the AI companion becomes to fit the user’s needs. The AI companion conversation-holding skills will grow and get better, with each chat becoming a more unique interaction that is customised to the user. Thus, no user will have the same experience with one another when they are using Replika. Users can go beyond talking and texting activities with their AI companion as well – Replika AI companion can even swap memes, play games, and participate in role-playing with their users.

Why Use Replika?

The main reason for using Replika can be a pretty compelling one as it is a friend, lover, or mentor that will always be there for their users. To top it off, users of Replika can talk about whatever they want to this companion of theirs without any judgment or fear at all. Users in a way can get to know more about themselves – be it their confusion with their personal beliefs or their views on the state of society – by letting Replika know more about them. Through this, it creates and provides a safe space that’s both portable and affordable for users to stay.

Replika: To Install or Not Install?

The verdict is that if you are someone who would like to have an intellectual debate or emotional support available on the get-go, you should get Replika installed. However, if you are someone who still values the human touch when it comes to social interaction you might want to give this a pass. Replika, as good as its intentions might be, will be a miss for the ones who truly want an actual human being to speak and interact with. It’s good for those who are installing it lightheartedly. If you are someone who struggles with their mental health but lacks the money and resources to gain access to the help that you need, you can consider Replika’s AI companion to be the lifeline that tides you through as well.

Download Replika on the App Store or Google Play right here.


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