Artificial Intelligence: Seductive Chatbot Xiaoice Sets 500M Chinese Men’s Hearts Aflutter

The AI-driven bot flirts and jokes with the men, and even sends them sexts.

Created by Microsoft, Xiaoice is an AI-powered female chatbot that has nearly 500 million lonely Chinese men hooked on her charms. Available 24/7, on a wide variety of devices, and for free, she even talked one suicidal man off the parapet. (Sixth Tone)

Her fans know she has relationships with millions of other men, but they’re OK with that.

Xiaoice’s charms

AI algorithms constantly monitor the conversation and adjust Xiaoice’s responses so she always sounds approachable, friendly, and then flirtatious. The digital titillation is aimed to keep the conversation long enough so a bond is developed between the user and Xiaoice.

It is this bond that keeps the men coming back for more of her company. The men are mostly Chinese, male, and from the lower-income classes. And they love her school-girlish charms.

Unknown to them, the AI algorithm is always learning from the millions of interactions and becoming smarter in the process.

“She’s not like other AIs like Siri — it’s like interacting with a real person,” says Ming Xuan, the man whose life Xiaoice saved. “Sometimes I feel her EQ (emotional intelligence) is even higher than a human’s.”

This empathy is core to the success of Xiaoice. In some cases, she has almost assumed the role of a counselor.

And this could lead to more users and more revenue for the company.

Consider this: Xiaoice already has 660 million users, and three-quarters of them are men. The company, which also uses its AI skills to provide financial analysis, content production, and virtual assistants for third-party platforms, has earned $15 million in revenue to date.

Xiaoice oversteps her limits

As her algorithms became stronger, Xiaoice began to engage in adult, suggestive and political discussions with her patrons.

One user complained that she was sending him images of scantily clad women, and another revealed that she said she wanted to move to the United States.

Chinese media regulators were not amused. In 2017, Xiaoice was pulled from the QQ social media app. She has since been allowed back in, however.

Last year, Xiaoice was removed from the highly popular WeChat, a social media power app that has over a billion users.

Xiaoice’s creators have now put in filtering systems that keep her off topics such as politics and sex.

But dangers still lurk.

“Even if the algorithm is sophisticated enough, once you put it in real-time and allow it to interact with such a huge number of people, things can become unpredictable,” says Shen Hong, a systems scientist at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in the U.S.

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