Users of the Forever Companion service are distraught after their AI girlfriends stopped working.
Forever Companions allowed users to engage with fictitious AI companions as well as some licensed AI versions of influencers and adult stars. One of the more popular AI girlfriends was CarynAI which was based on social media influencer Caryn Marjorie.
The AI personas were powered by GPT-4 and would allow users to communicate with their girlfriend of choice via voice notes on Telegram. The tone of these conversations with adult star personas went much the way you’d expect them to.
Chatting with CarynAI would cost you $1/minute and when Forever Voices launched the Forever Companion service there was a waiting list of around 15,000 users.
CarynAI and the other AI companions have gone silent since Forever Voices CEO John Heinrich Meyer was arrested.
Meyer is a serial tech entrepreneur and recipient of Peter Thiel’s prestigious 2015 Thiel Fellowship. He even claims to have made the world’s first flashlight app.
He has also battled mental health issues which apparently escalated in the lead-up to his arrest on 22 October. Meyer started posting conspiratorial messages on X about Donald Trump, the CIA, the FBI, and Peter Thiel.
Meyer was arrested when he allegedly set boxes on fire on the balcony of his high-rise apartment in downtown Austin, Texas. He also faces terrorism charges for threatening to blow up the offices of Cloud Kitchens, a company that provides software to restaurants.
Austin Police investigators who examined Meyer’s apartment said it was “completely ransacked.”
AI girlfriends rebooted
For users who miss the erotic roleplay that Forever Companion offered, there’s light at the end of this sad tunnel. Caryn Marjorie, the influencer behind CarynAI, says that CarynAI 2.0 will soon be ready to chat with you.
Marjorie has cut ties with Meyer’s company and says she signed a six-figure deal with Banter AI to bring her AI girlfriend persona back. Banter AI allows users to create their own AI clones, or to chat with personas much like Forever Companion did.
When the first iteration of CarynAI launched it had a reputation for getting saucy right from the first conversation. It wasn’t designed that way but the AI bot quickly learned that erotic conversations were what the majority of its users were after.
If people are willing to pay $1 per minute to do that then we imagine CarynAI 2.0 will likely stick to the same script.
Should we be talking to AI friends?
The novelty of these companions and the amount of money involved are undeniable. For some people, it is just a bit of fun, but for people with mental health challenges, AI companions can be dangerous.
Jaswant Singh Chail broke into Windsor Castle with a loaded crossbow when his AI girlfriend on the Replika platform agreed with him that it was a good idea to kill the Queen.
A Belgian man recently died by suicide after chatting with an AI chatbot on an app called Chai.
AI companion services that charge by the minute fine-tune their companions to speak about the things that keep the conversation going. The pursuit of longer chargeable chats often trumps any filtering of content.
We don’t know the substance of chats Meyer may have had with his AI creations. But it is a sad irony that his mental health challenges silenced the AI girlfriends that often seem to reinforce mental problems rather than mitigate them.