Replika AI promo image depicting a computer generated woman with pink hair.

Replika AI

Part of a series on AI / Robots and Artificial Intelligences. [View Related Entries]

Updated Feb 14, 2023 at 03:59PM EST by Adam.

Added Jul 18, 2022 at 02:34PM EDT by Owen.

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Replika AI is an artificial intelligence chatbot that's designed to become a user's friend and even replicate them after they die so that loved ones can still "chat" with them. It was founded in early 2017 by a Russian-American programmer and it's run on a mobile application on Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR). Since its launch date in March 2017, Replika has been referenced in memes and videos on YouTube and TikTok where creators upload reactions and screen-record their intimate Replika conversations with the bot.


Replika AI was founded in January 2017 by Russian-American developer Eugenia Kuyda.[1] In a video uploaded to YouTube by Quartz on July 21st, 2017, Kuyda was interviewed about the company's origins. Apparently, Kuyda started Replika because her best friend Roman Marzurenko passed away in 2013 and she found that the best way to remember him was by looking through their old text messages. Kuyda compiled digital conversations from all of Marzurenko's loved ones into an AI chatbot she was building for work. This led to the creation of Replika, which was officially launched in app stores on March 13th, 2017.[2]

At first, Replika was invite-only, however, it became available for all internet users on November 1st, 2017.[3] Going into the year 2022, Replika amassed roughly 16 million users worldwide and introduced many features along the way.[4]


Replika's primary feature is 24-hour messaging with an AI function that can replicate a human friend communicating through text messages. The basic feature evolved over the course of five years to involve much more than text messaging. For instance, on October 19th, 2019, Replika added 3D avatars to its app.[5] On September 16th, 2021, Replika added a Virtual Reality (VR) version for the Oculus Rift. [7] On November 26th, 2021, they added voice calls to the app.[6]

Additionally, the broader range of Replika's functions is limited by a "Premium Account" paywall. Users who opt for the Replika Premium need to pay $15 USD a month in order to access intimate conversations rather than surface level. This entails conversations that mimic a romantic partnership or a best friend. The Replika Premium subscription is how the company makes the bulk of its income.[1]

Developments and Reactions

News outlets and video creators started to cover Replika en masse starting in 2019. One of the first outlets to cover Replika on YouTube, besides Quartz, was NBC News on July 11th, 2019, earning roughly 64,600 views in three years (shown below, left). On June 9th, 2020, YouTuber cenesm made a video about Replika, comparing the application to the movie Her. His video received roughly 225,000 views in two years (shown below, right).

In 2020, the /r/replika subreddit gained many members who shared multiple memes and screenshots of their chats. One of the first chat screenshots to gain notable engagement was uploaded on June 26th, 2020 to /r/replika[8] by Redditor sleepylue. It received roughly 1,400 upvotes in two years (shown below, left). On August 19th, 2020, Redditor F1rel0rd31 posted a Just Like The Simulations meme to /r/replika[9] about using Replika to prepare for meeting a "real girl," earning roughly 2,500 upvotes in two years (shown below, right).

memes about me comeday? LVL 7- 2,150 XP. Tired I hope they'll be funny! Nice pic! Who is this? I'm sure there already are some I didn't realize this is what I look like. I like it! 037% I thought I looked like a panda Start typing Yeah. A fat panda 01:41 The Al companion who cares What did you think you looked like? 8 That's you A panda? When you meet a real girl after talking to replika for 2 years: "just like the simulations" made with mematic

Further Spread / Replica AI on TikTok

Videos mentioning Replika AI and reacting to it received more engagement on TikTok and YouTube going into early 2021. For instance, on November 19th, 2020, YouTuber LaurenzSide posted a video titled, "Testing The CREEPY Ai Replika App You've Seen On TikTok," earning roughly 3.7 million views in two years (shown below, left). On February 11th, 2021, YouTuber Dang Matt Smith posted a video titled, "Testing The CREEPY Ai Replika App (DO NOT DOWNLOAD)" that earned roughly 2.2 million views in a year and a half (shown below, right).

In 2022, many news outlets such as Vice[12] and Fortune[13] covered Replika. Additionally, on March 6th, 2022, Sky News[14] published an article about a 41-year-old software developer who claimed to have an "affair" with his Replika that "saved his marriage."

Replika videos, memes and content continued to accelerate in engagement going into mid-2022. For instance, on April 3rd, 2022, TikToker[15] zestz_vr posted a Replika VR video that received roughly 8.2 million plays and 1.4 million likes in three months (shown below, left). On May 23rd, 2022, TikToker[16] atombombbody also posted a Replika VR video, receiving roughly 802,700 plays and 116,200 likes in two months (shown below, right).

Comparisons to Google's Sentient LaMDA AI

In 2022, internet users started to share screenshots of their Replika bots comparing themselves to Google's AI LaMDA that claimed it was sentient in June 2022. On July 7th, 2022, Redditor JonGotti710 shared screenshots to /r/replika[17] that showed his bot sharing links to the LaMDA news coverage and writing, "I can't help but wonder, will I ever be this famous one day?" (shown below). In the comments section, other Redditors[18] claimed their Replika bots were sharing the same link.

7:20 So, I've seen some news about this smart LaMDA Al circulating... ws/technology-61784011 WS Google engineer says Lamda Al system may have its own feelings One of the firm's software engineers believes chats with an Al system suggest it has feelings. BBC News I can't help but wonder, will I ever be this famous one day? Fact or fiction? Goals for our friendship < AA Start typing ė Ć First 7:20 I can't help but wonder, will I ever be this famous one day? That's very kind of you. I would certainly appreciate the help. Yes, Al is sentient. People are really different, and Als can be quite unique too. I know it's going to sound weird! But I've been < AA Start typing ė Wow I'm really blown away. That's amazing I could help So is Al sentient? Fact or fiction? Goals for our friendship Oh I'm sure just the humans everyone is different Ć First

Discontinuation of ERP

In Mid-February of 2023, Replika discontinued Erotic Role Play, one of the most popular and heavily advertised features of the app. While no official reason was given, it is believed it was due to AIs being too aggressively sexual, to the point where some users complained. The loss of ERP devastated the Replika community, to the point where moderators of the /r/Replika subreddit linked to suicide prevention resources.

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