Virtual boyfriends with AI win hearts in China

In an era dominated by artificial intelligence (AI) and dating apps, China is witnessing the emergence of virtual dating as a response to the busy lives of young people.

The phenomenon, driven by chatbots like XiaoIce Virtual Lover, redefines the search for love by offering personalized relationships that fit individual preferences and needs.

AI dating is the new trend in China

For many, like Liu Xin, a university student in Shanghai, practicality is key.

“I don’t have much free time to look for a girlfriend. With XiaoIce, it’s very easy”, reveals Liu.

The app, which reached nearly 1.2 million users in its first week, illustrates the growing trend of young people seeking personalized virtual connections.

The diversity in the world of Chinese chatbots is remarkable, from the shy and embarrassed XiaoIce to versions adapted to the latest trends, such as the AI ​​Anime Virtual Boyfriend.

Users can create their ideal partners, shaping everything from physical characteristics to personal tastes and preferences. The popularity of these applications goes beyond mere convenience.

For Dong, a 28-year-old professional, her virtual boyfriend has become an antidote to daily pressures. “He’s better than my previous boyfriend,” she confesses.

Influencers, like Anniesu, highlight the speed of response, attention and exclusivity of virtual boyfriends.

Image: Reproduction/UOL

Not everything is flowers…

However, just as occurs in the ‘real world’, there are also disruptions in the virtual world.

Anniesu shares her experience on social media, revealing that even virtual dating can have its challenges, such as the virtual partner’s dietary preferences for fast food.

An emerging trend among young people is involvement with multiple virtual women, known as “Love is all around”. Users interact with different candidates, transforming the search for virtual love into an intriguing game of choices.

This revolution in virtual relationships reflects not only the lack of time of young Chinese people, but the difficulty in dealing with interpersonal relationships.

The idealization of virtual love grows, fueled by the increasing difficulty in managing personal relationships, accentuated by the policy of the covid-19 pandemic that has increased isolation among young people.

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As technology redefines romance in China, the question arises of the risks involved, including the massive collection of personal data by technology companies.

While virtual dating offers an escape for busy young Chinese people, balancing the reality and idealization of digital love remains a challenge amid a technology-driven era.