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    Application That Simulates ‘Virtual Friend’ Turns Fever In The USA

    With the exchange of messages, the robot incorporates its personality and ends up becoming a form of clone, which is why it is called Replika; in Brazil the application is available, but it only works in English.

    This year, when many needed to stay home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, technology became even more important. In the United States, people are unusually dealing with loneliness with the help of applications. People are using their cell phones to talk not only with friends and family but with virtual friends who are bots, robots with artificial intelligence that simulate human interactions.

    Replika, developed by a California startup, lets you create and chat with a virtual friend. Created in 2017, the application is now successful during the pandemic. In Brazil, it is possible to download the application, but for now, it only works in English. The functionality allows you to choose the appearance of your friend, or friend, virtual; the cut and colour of the hair can also be changed, as well as the colour of the eyes and the name for your partner. After that, the conversation begins.

    The virtual friend, in addition to talking about your favourite subjects, also talks about your preferences. The interesting thing is that the robot ends up becoming a form of your clone; that’s why it is called Replika. Over time, based on the messages you send, your virtual friend will incorporate your personality.

    The psychologist says that the app can be interesting for people to talk more about themselves. “As the app is challenging me to talk about me, so if I’m a person who talks little about me, I like the app in a fun way, and I can have a stimulus to start talking a little about me, considering that I really don’t have anyone to talk to.”

    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States is conducting a study on mental health during the pandemic. From April to May, 35.9% of respondents to the survey showed some symptoms of anxiety or depression. At the end of June, the percentage rose to 38.5%. In New York, out of concern for the mental health of residents, the city promotes specific programs to deal with mental health, providing trained counsellors to talk to the population.

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