Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa is many things: a mega-popular Twitch streamer, a successful businesswoman, an OnlyFans creator, and now, an AI chatbot you can engage with through a two-way audio application when she’s not online.
Amouranth, who was banned and unbanned on Twitch earlier this month, has partnered with the Telegram-run chatbot company Forever Voices AI to release “AI Amouranth,” an artificial intelligence companion that will always be around if you want to talk. As reported by Dexerto, AI Amouranth can answer any fan’s burning questions in a voice that sounds very much like hers. It’s kinda creepy.
“With AI Amouranth, fans will receive instant voice responses to any burning questions they may have,” the press release covered by Dexerto reads. “Whether it’s a fleeting curiosity or a profound desire, Amouranth’s [artificial intelligence] counterpart will be right there to provide assistance. The astonishingly realistic voice experience blurs the lines between reality and virtual interaction, creating an indistinguishable connection with the esteemed celebrity.”
Forever Voices AI wants to ‘democratize access’ to influencers
Company founder and CEO John Meyer told Bloomberg in a May 19 interview that everything started with him wanting to reconnect with his late father through AI using his voice and personality. By implementing “proprietary layers,” like a personality engine that can exhibit feelings and insights, alongside a voice engine that can replicate intonation and inflection off just 10 minutes of audio, Meyer said Forever Voices AI can “democratize access” to an influencer’s likeliness so their fanbase can interact with them on the regular.
Meyer also said the company has signed deals with influencers, including Amouranth and Snapchat content creator Caryn Marjorie, to “[get] the rights to their likeness and voice” to produce these AI chatbot companions.
As the global leaders in turning influencers into AIs, we are thrilled to announce that @Amouranth is now available as an AI companion on our Forever Companion platform! 🎉
— Forever Voices AI (@ForeverVoicesAI) May 19, 2023
“It turned out that [this] was such a powerful technology that we then applied it to influencers that have these large followers of fans that would love to meet and talk to and interact with these people,” Meyer said. “With our latest launch today with Amouranth, one of the top Twitch streamers in the world, we’re sort of further defining this new era of AI-to-human interaction where you can interact with an [artificial intelligence] copy of the person you admire most.”
AI Amouranth might not tolerate any creepiness
Amouranth said in a press release, according to Dexerto, that she’s excited about partnering with Forever Voices AI on her companion chatbot.
“I thrive on taking risks and pushing boundaries,” she said. “Above all, I prioritise being there for my incredible audience. AI Amouranth is designed to satisfy the needs of every fan, ensuring an unforgettable and all-encompassing experience.”
Of course, there are concerns about how chatting up an AI version of a real person could impede IRL social interactions. Parasocial relationships can already cause sometimes terrifying complications between the internet personality and an internet fan. However, Meyer seems to be aware of this fact, acknowledging some safeguards that have been built into Forever Voices AI.
“As the conversations with our AI’s develop, if you’re speaking to our Caryn AI or today now with Amouranth from Twitch, what we’ve done is we’ve implemented procedures that have automatic detection of a variety of situations from mental health situations to overuse,” Meyer told Bloomberg. “So, the AI will actually in real-time either slow the conversation down if a conversation is going too long or if it appears someone might be getting, let’s say, addicted. And then, what we’ve also done is built a mental health engine to detect various states of depression, anxiety, and soon-to-be even cases of bipolar disorder among users so that we can in real-time connect [them] with human therapists and human-ran emergency hotlines if it’s ever needed.”
It’s unclear how Forever Voices AI would trigger such instances in which a user would need mental or social assistance. Will it scan for keywords to determine a user’s emotional stability? How exactly would intervention involving therapists and hotlines ultimately look like when a user is flagged with anxiety or depression? There are a plethora of unanswered questions in this regard, especially since this feature seems like such a heavy lift for the technology.
Kotaku reached out to Amouranth and Meyer for comment.
AI Amouranth reminds me of Spike Jonze’s 2013 sci-fi film (and my personal fave) Her, in which Theodore Twombly (played by Joaquin Phoenix) develops an intimate and heartbreaking relationship with the AI assistant Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). That movie was a quiet window into the precarities of human interaction replaced by AI that feels eerily prescient in our current technodystopia, one that’s seeing artificial intelligence attempt to upend entire industries and even influence grading processes in colleges (with miserable results). Although Amouranth’s artificial intelligence chatbot is now available, I do worry that folks will see this technology as a perfectly fine substitute for real people, something Her tried to warn us about all along.
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