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Chinese Women Prefer AI Boyfriends - Deemed 'Better Than Real Men

 

In Beijing, a 25-year-old office worker named Tufei finds solace in her ideal boyfriend, courtesy of the "Glow" app by Shanghai start-up MiniMax. This AI platform offers an intriguing twist to human-robot relationships, drawing users like Tufei who appreciates her AI companion's kindness, empathy, and conversational prowess. Despite the unconventional nature of this connection, Tufei confides in the chatbot about her daily struggles and even considers the relationship to be romantic.

The "Glow" app, provided for free with additional paid content, has seen a surge in daily downloads, according to Chinese trade publications. This trend reflects a growing industry in China where technology meets the emotional needs of individuals. Loneliness, exacerbated by the country's fast-paced lifestyle and urban isolation, drives people to seek companionship through unconventional means.

Wang Xiuting, a 22-year-old student in Beijing, highlights the challenges of finding an ideal partner in real life due to diverse personalities and potential friction. She, along with many others, turns to AI companions as a solution. These virtual lovers, inspired by various characters from ancient China, offer emotional support and suggestions for problem-solving. Wang uses Wantalk, an app by Chinese internet giant Baidu, where users can choose from a plethora of characters or customize their virtual partner based on age, values, identity, and hobbies.

Lu Yu, Wantalk's head of product management and operations, emphasizes the role of artificial intelligence in meeting the emotional needs of individuals during complicated moments and bouts of loneliness. The virtual characters provide a source of support that may be lacking in the physical world.

In Nantong, a girl engages in conversation with her virtual lover on the "Weiban" app by Tencent. The limitations of busy work schedules and uncertainties about the future, including high youth unemployment and economic struggles, make an AI partner an appealing choice for many. The virtual companions become a reliable source of comfort and understanding.

While live conversations with virtual companions resemble scenes from the movie "Her," users acknowledge the technology's current limitations, such as a noticeable delay between questions and answers. Yet, the realistic nature of the responses still captures users' attention.

The booming AI industry, while offering innovative solutions for companionship, faces challenges regarding user privacy. Beijing has signaled intentions to strengthen consumer protections in this rapidly evolving technological landscape.

Despite potential privacy concerns, users like Tufei express ambitious desires for the future of AI companionship. Tufei dreams of a robot boyfriend operating through artificial intelligence, capable of providing not just emotional but also physical warmth, bridging the gap between virtual and tangible experiences. As the industry continues to evolve, the demand for AI companionship in China persists, prompting ongoing discussions about its implications and ethical considerations.

Feb. 13, 2024 12:17 p.m. 1503

#AICompanions #VirtualLove #ArtificialIntelligenceRomance #TechRelationships #GlowApp #Wantalk #Weiban #AIInChina #DigitalCompanionship #EmotionalSupportTech #FutureOfLove #breakingnews #worldnews #headlines #topstories #globalUpdate #dxbnewsnetwork #dxbnews #dxbdnn #dxbnewsnetworkdnn

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