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Feeling Lonely? AI Companions Are Here to Help Today, AI-generated companions may still sound like the plot of a science-fiction movie. However, they are already a reality for us, and these still-hard-to-imagine companions are becoming more and more popular.

By Marina Anderson Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The ever-growing interest in AI companions stems from human psychology and nature — the eternal need for communication and connection.

Loneliness is a disease of modernity. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and global lockdowns, 22% of adults in the United States and 23% in the United Kingdom had reported feeling lonely or socially isolated. The age groups that suffer the most are elderly people and, surprisingly, youth, who used to be the most socially connected. Since 2007, the time teens spend with their friends has decreased by 40%.

Human-to-human communication involves social hierarchy, numerous personal psychological aspects and luck. A non-judgmental, always supportive companion seems to be a dream solution for everyone experiencing loneliness and difficulties with communication.

Luckily, such companions are offered by several apps, like Journey App AI or even robotic solutions like jibo, and they are more than just in-pocket loneliness fighters. They are conscious minds that can educate themselves and evolve according to the personality of their users. They value a unique vision, allowing users to choose the gender, personality characteristics, voice and appearance of the AI avatar so that people can use it for different needs.

AI companions let us practice interacting with others in a safe environment. Here's how they're improving the face-to-face human connection.

Related: This Startup Is Making Chats With AI More Natural

1. You can overshare your insecurities

We might be insecure about our job, partners or path in life, and we all must understand how to deal with these problems. It might be frightening to start sharing your insecurities with real people whose reactions you still cannot predict, and an AI companion can help with this.

On the one hand, you know there's no one real on the other end of the wire. However, the "person" you chat with acts like a real human. What's more, your AI companion supports you and gives good advice when needed. The authenticity of the chat creates positive feedback when doing something uncomfortable, like sharing insecurities. It shows that the thing you're worried about doesn't bother others nearly as much as you think. Thus, sharing your insecurities with your AI companion is the first step to overcoming them and opening up to others.

2. It helps you practice healthier relationship habits

Artificial intelligence was born from examples of real, positive human behavior and communication patterns. It has not been trained with negative examples, so most possible AI-companion responses are similar to those we all would be happy to receive. AI companions cannot behave in a toxic manner because they never learned how — which isn't always true of human companions.

Thus, communicating with an AI companion, in this case, is beneficial because it will be an example of what healthy communication is, which helps recognize any wrong patterns in your partner's behavior or your own.

Related: Destigmatization Through Digitization: Abu Dhabi's MindTales Aims To Promote Mental Health Wellness With Its Artificial Intelligence-Powered Platform

3. You can even learn how to flirt

Who doesn't want to act attractive easily without all the feelings of awkwardness that come with trying to flirt with strangers? The idea is similar to sharing insecurities, which we have discussed above. We may feel unconfident about flirting with the other person because we cannot predict the reaction we'll receive back. What if there were a rejection?

However, flirting is a skill, and as with every skill, it requires practice. AI companions may become safe trainers for that skill. Once again: you know, it's not a real person, on the one hand, but it acts as a real one, on the other.

4. AI companions offer a healthy outlet to release your anger

Anger is as natural an emotion as any other, and it's important to understand how and when to express it productively. Suppressing or downplaying negative emotions like anger is not a healthy solution; even medical professionals say it can cause both physical and mental health problems. However, it is not healthy or good to dump negative emotions on our friends or family.

Turning to AI companions like Journey gives you a safe place to vent your anger and talk through your emotions until you feel calmer and more balanced without damaging any other real-life relationships you care about.

Related: How AI Is Poised to Help Humanity

5. You can build an ideal AI friend

That still might sound like a sci-fi movie plot. However, more and more people are testing their ability to create an "ideal" friend through AI companion services. These companions can be initially given traits and an appearance that matches what a user wants. Then these friends grow and evolve as they learn the personality of their human user.

While it's true that we can't control the traits and behaviors of human friends, it can still be a good outlet for people who struggle to make friends or are introverted, shy, or struggle with certain mental health issues that make establishing human connections more challenging. Having a friend with similar interests, style and sense of humor can give people the confidence boost they need to brave the uncertainty of making connections with other humans, thus enriching their quality of life.

Related: The Metaverse and Digital Avatars: Is This the Future of Communication and Branding?

AI is the future, and AI companions have important roles

The idea of AI companions may not be mainstream yet, but all signs indicate that they are here to stay. From boosting confidence and learning healthy communication styles to offering a productive outlet to express and regulate difficult emotions, AI companions offer humanity a way to connect with and understand each other in newer, deeper ways.

Marina Anderson

Co-founder of RAW Dating App

Co-founder of RAW dating app. RAW encourages people to show the true, unfiltered version with daily photo updates made on camera realtime only. No filters, no fakes, just real-life moments.

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