In Brief

Lonely men turning to Siri to find love

Expert says users are trying to establish relationships and act out 'slave' fantasies with their virtual assistants

Men are turning to virtual chatbots such as Apple's Siri for dirty conversations and even love, it is claimed.

Ilya Eckstein, whose company, Robin Labs, produced the virtual assistant Robin, estimates five per cent of interactions with his company's creation are sexually explicit. 

"This happens because people are lonely and bored… It is a symptom of our society," he said. "As well as the people who want to talk dirty, there are men who want a deeper sort of relationship or companionship."

Eckstein claimed some men talk 300 times a day to Robin, which was designed to give traffic advice and directions to drivers and truckers. They "want to flirt, they want to dream about a subservient girlfriend, or even a sexual slave", he said.

He added that some incredibly persistent users "try very hard to establish relationships with the bot".

Virtual assistants, such as Siri and Microsoft's Cortana, feature on smartphones, tablets and computers and allow users to issue commands such as "call the office" or search for terms online.

"Technology companies behind the most widely used VAs in this country will not talk as openly as Mr Eckstein, but Microsoft has admitted that it is an issue," says The Times.

"Confronted with smart female-voiced chatbots such as Apple's Siri, many men are resorting to breathless demands and four-letter words – mimicking the inappropriate behaviour of previous generations of businessmen to their real-life secretaries,"

Two YouTube videos on the subject of "making Siri talk dirty" have had more than 3.5 million hits, adds the paper.

The urge for deeper relationships with the bots has been featured in popular culture. In the 2013 film Her, protagonist Theodore, played by Joaquin Phoenix, develops an obsession with a chatbot named Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

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