‘He’s always there’: Chinese AI chatbot eases heartbreak, offers companionship for lonely millions

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Melissa, a Chinese woman who experienced a painful break-up after her ex cheated on her, has turned to an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot system called XiaoIce for help easing her heartbreak. The 26-year-old, who only offered her first name to protect her privacy, recently showed how she interacts with a customised XiaoIce profile via text and voice messages as well as photos. Users who frequently engage with the app can unlock new features, including virtual holidays where they “take selfies” with the AI personalities created for them. US tech giant Microsoft, the parent company behind the AI system, says XiaoIce now has over 660 million users around the world.

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