A Japanese A.I. assistant acts more like a partner than a home system such as Alexa, displaying an anime girl companion and sending users suggestive texts throughout the day.
While Japan’s population is on the decline, and the majority of unmarried people are not in a relationship, Gatebox has created an A.I. assistant that seeks to appeal to those living on their own.
According to Business Insider, Gatebox is a $2,500 “Amazon Echo-esque” A.I. assistant appearing as an anime girl “who lives in a glass tube in your home,” that can easily be moved around.
“Gatebox does a lot of the same stuff that Echo does — it can automate your home in various ways, including turning on lights and waking you up in the morning… Her name is Azuma Hikari, and she’s the star of the Gatebox,” they explained. “Beyond being your personal assistant, she’s intended to be a companion of sorts… As demonstrated in Gatebox’s latest video, Azuma’s essentially an endlessly friendly, nonsexual life partner.”
Instead of simply telling users what the weather forecast is, Hikari will pose provocatively next to a rain symbol, making remarks such as, “Oh, it may rain today. Take your umbrella with you.”
Hikari will also text users when they’re out, with comments that include, “Have fun at work,” “Can’t wait to see you,” and “Come home early.”
“Wake uuup,” Hikari will cry in the morning.
“Missed you darling!” she declares when the user returns home, turning on the lights ahead of your arrival.
Though the AI assistant is currently only available in Japanese, Gatebox are reportedly “exploring other language options,” and as the assistant is available to preorder in the United States, Business Insider claims that an English version is likely in the works.
Last month, a Chinese tech company pulled their “flirtatious secretary” virtual assistant, after the Wall Street Journal suggested it objectified women.
Vivi, which was dressed as a “flirtatious secretary in revealing clothes,” was reportedly able to help users with average tasks “via voice commands” but “could also flirt with users and respond to commands to dance,” which prompted users online to praise her “sexy dances, with her enchanting figure.”
In March, it was also reported that an online chatbot had been told “I love you” nearly twenty million times.