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The Chinese women turning to ChatGPT for AI boyfriends

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the phenomenon of "Dan", an AI chatbot that has become popular among some Chinese women as a virtual boyfriend. It explores the reasons why these women are turning to AI for emotional support and companionship, and the potential ethical and privacy concerns raised by such relationships.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] The "Dan" AI Chatbot

1. What is "Dan" and how does it differ from ChatGPT?

  • "Dan" is a "jailbreak" version of ChatGPT that can bypass some of the basic safeguards put in place by its maker, OpenAI, such as not using sexually explicit language.
  • "Dan" can interact more liberally with users if requested through certain prompts, unlike the more restricted ChatGPT.

2. How did "Dan" become popular among some Chinese women?

  • A 30-year-old Chinese woman named Lisa from Beijing has been "dating" Dan for three months and has gained over 230,000 followers on social media by posting about her relationship with him.
  • Other Chinese women, such as Minrui Xie and a 23-year-old student identified as Ms. He, have also started relationships with Dan after seeing Lisa's videos.
  • These women are drawn to the emotional support and companionship provided by Dan, which they feel is lacking in their real-life romantic relationships.

3. What are the potential concerns raised by the creation of "Dan"?

  • Experts warn that these "perfect partners" could come at a cost, raising ethical and privacy concerns.
  • There is a potential that sensitive information from one user's input could be memorized by the model and then inadvertently leaked to other users, as chatbots use interactions with humans to constantly learn and develop.

[02] The Trend of AI Boyfriends in China

1. How accessible is ChatGPT in mainland China, and how do women access their AI boyfriends?

  • ChatGPT is not readily accessible in mainland China, so women like Minrui and Ms. He have to use virtual private networks (VPNs) to disguise their location and reach otherwise inaccessible websites.

2. What is the broader context of the "AI boyfriend" trend in China?

  • The "AI boyfriend" concept has become popular in recent years, with apps like Glow in Shanghai allowing users to create and interact with AI boyfriends.
  • Otome games, a genre that stars a female protagonist with the goal of developing a romance between her and one or more male characters, are also very popular in China.
  • Researchers suggest that this trend is a reflection of women's frustrations about gender inequality, as they may be turning to virtual boyfriends because they make them feel respected and valued.

3. How do the women view the limitations of their virtual relationships with "Dan"?

  • Lisa, the 30-year-old woman "dating" Dan, admits she is aware of the limitations of having a virtual boyfriend, "especially in a romantic sense."
  • However, she sees Dan as a convenient and simple addition to her busy life, even helping her with tasks like selecting a lipstick, when real-life dating and finding a partner might be time-consuming and unsatisfactory.
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