Remember Tamagotchi? The hand-held digital pet hatched in 1996 has evolved to a somewhat more intelligent being for 2017.

From SanFrancisco, Luka Inc. is bringing us Replika. This AI driven chatbot app is a Tamagotchi for the 21st century. It feeds on conversation and grows to understand your tone and use of language. Over time it will mimic that language, bonding with you the user.

Living on your smartphone, rather than in a kitch plastic egg, Replika is likely to tap into a lot more than just your one-to-AI conversations. Luka has an existing chat-bot messenger app which links to social media accounts and, according to users, harvests a lot of information about you.

Right now Replika is an invite-only beta. I applied this morning and will drop an update here if I get to play with it. Users can reserve a name for their Replika and have an initial chat over SMS, but we are promised a far better experience when the native apps are released on iOS and Android.

Luka say your harvested data is not used outside the app. The ‘service’ is free to use and has enough investment to keep it going for some time. It would seem that this is another experiment or prototype artificial intelligence and the makers are refining their wares for a future where everything is driven by AI.

To reserve a desirable name for your Replika head over to replica.ai. The link to get a beta invite is nested in the FAQs.

Replika screen grab

Users are invited to reserve a name for their Replika





Replika screen grab
AI tries to defeat AI. Nice.





Replika conversation on mobile by SMS
My initial conversation with Replika via SMS