Caryn Marjorie, 23, is a social media influencer with too much success and popularity. She has nearly 2 million followers on Snapchat, 98% of them male, and they enjoy the pictures of herself that she posts all day long. She doesn’t have enough time to talk to them all, so she has decided to clone herself through the magic of AI technology and created a bot simulation.
This week she launched CarynAI, an AI chatbot leveraging GPT-4 API technology developed by OpenAI that replicates her voice, mannerisms and personality. For $1 a minute, fans can chat with CarynAI in an “immersive AI experience” that feels almost like speaking to Marjorie herself.
Given the product’s growth rate, once she’s able to onboard all the fans who’ve expressed interest, she estimates she’s on track to earn about $5 million a month. The product made more than $100,000 the first week, she said. and there’s a waiting list of thousands to gain access.
“These fans of mine, they have a really, really strong connection with me,” she told The Washington Post. “Because of that they actually end up messaging me every single day. I started to realize about a year ago it’s just not humanly possible for me to reach out to all of these messages, there’s just too many and I actually feel kind of bad that I can’t give that individual, one-on-one sort of relationship to every single person. I wish I could, but I just simply can’t.
The launch of CarynAI introduces another angle into the burgeoning discussions around the use of AI technology.
From a commercial angle, CarynAI shows how AI applications can increase the ability of a single person to reach an audience of thousands in a way that, for users, may feel distinctly personal. On the human level, the impact could be enormous for what it means to have a “personal relationship” with thousands or millions of online followers. In short, it could redefine “personal relationships”.
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CarynAI may also redefine “romance”. Marjorie acknowledges that some of the exchanges with CarynAI become sexually explicit, though she says she doesn’t want that to become the service’s dominant feature, the service is end-to-end encrypted and she has no access to the conversations unless a user chooses to share.
“The reason why I created CarynAI was because I wanted to cure loneliness from my fan base,” she said. Should we assume that the $5 million a month that she is projected to earn is merely an insignificant byproduct?
CarynAI is the first major release from a company called Forever Voices. The company previously has created realistic AI chatbots that allow users to talk with replicated versions of Steve Jobs, Kanye West, Donald Trump and Taylor Swift.
But CarynAI is a far more sophisticated product, the company says, and part of Forever Voices’ new AI companion initiative, meant to provide users with a girlfriend-like experience that fans can emotionally bond with.
John Meyer, CEO and founder of Forever Voices, said that he created the company last year, after trying to use AI to develop ways to reconnect with his late father, who passed away in 2017. He built an AI voice chatbot that replicated his late father’s voice and personality to talk to and found the experience incredibly healing. “It was a remarkable experience to talk to him again in a super realistic way,” Meyer said.
“I see this as a way for someone with a following like Caryn to engage with millions of her fans simultaneously without having to become this person that’s glued to a phone creating content all the time,” he said.
But there are downsides that Marjorie did not foresee. Since CarynAI has rolled out, she’s been subject to significant backlash. She had to flee her home and has hired a security team that is working closely with law enforcement after people, outraged at the concept of an AI girlfriend, made terrifying threats against her.
“A lot of people have just been kind of really mad at the existence of this. They think that it’s the end of humanity,” she said.
She thinks however, that the anger will subside once people realize that AI-generated companions are here to stay. Meyer agrees, “I think in the next five years, most Americans will have an AI companion in their pocket in some way, shape or form, whether it’s an ultra-flirty AI that you’re dating, an AI that’s your personal trainer, or simply a tutor companion. Those are all things that we are building internally”.