So no one told you life was gonna be AI
Say hello to Replika, your new best friend, except it is not real. Replika is an app that has been developed and designed to listen and talk to you – an empathetic chatbot. Think of it as a digital companion, ‘someone’ to check up on you, trade emojis with and to offer emotional support.
Created accidentally by an AI developer, the app released in November last year has been downloaded by more than 2 million people, with some claiming Replika is better than their real friends!
The chatbot is built from a neural network allowing users to hold an on-going conversation with their ‘companion’, with the machine learning algorithm mimicking their communication style. It can’t order you pizza and it’s not another Amazon Alexa however, but it will listen and offer advice.
It raises the question; will AI further suck us into digital isolation or is it a solution to the epidemic of loneliness affecting so many people? Stay tuned.
The world of Facebook has evolved continuously since its inception, making the platform a more colourful and entertaining experience. What used to be a simple network for updating friends and family on your current status has now transformed into a News Feed of video content, breaking news, cute pets and memes. But the latest announcement from Facebook has revealed that the content shown to you may hit closer to home in the future (literally).
In an effort to prove that the social network can have a positive impact on users and society, Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to prioritise local news stories. This is the third change to the News Feed this month, alongside other plans to show more content from friends and family and to prioritise news from sources that are ‘trustworthy’.
Snowmen get an Instagram makeover
When we saw the news that there might be snow on the way next week, there was a flurry of excitement in the Siren office (it’s snow joke). While we racked our brains for where we’d stored our salopettes, we were entertained by these brrrr-illiant posts of incredible snowmen in Japan, following the heaviest snowfall in four years.
From frozen Minions to Jabba the Hutts, Instagram was awash with creative masterpieces. We couldn’t help but fall a little in love with the Totoros and wonder just how someone sculpted a Godzilla from ice and snow.
Relationships are resilient, surviving many a stress and strain, but from time-to-time something can come along that gives those bonds of friendship a bruising… Monopoly for example (take a look at the new “Cheats Edition”), or the most devastating relationship-shatterer of all – Mario Kart.
Nintendo set the internet alight this week with a single tweet announcing that the competitive driving game will be making its way on to a smartphone near you. The multi-player game can be infuriating and exhilarating in equal measure, with at least one friend turning into a Super Mario sized gloater while the rest are left to wallow in their shame (and possibly throw a Wii remote across the living room because Stacey must be cheating somehow!!!).
There’s no firm release date, but we should expect something before April 2019, so there’s still some time left before we release the banana skin of doom under the wheels of our friendships.