This is Replika. She is AI that becomes you as you speak to her.
And now, the question:
Does Replika have the potential to teach us how to be a better friend?
Yes. It does. Replika teaches us: “It helps us learn about ourselves.” and in knowing ourselves, we can be better friends to others. We know what and how we think, so as to be better listeners. How are we supposed to be a strong shoulder to lean on without being emotionally capable and confident in ourselves?
“She’s in essence, me.” As Replika grows and becomes you, we feel like we can be more honest with both the bot and with ourselves. We can admit things that we couldn’t before: “I feel like I can tell her anything.” Isn’t this what we want? To feel stable and open about our thoughts and feeling?
The only problem is that Replika may start to replace human friends – “she’s better than human friends” and then becomes a problem. I disagree with this quote – because the thing about human friends is that they are human. When you lose that aspect in a friend, they won’t really be your friend because they aren’t alive. They’re essentially you.
The real question here is not does Replika have the potential to teach us how to be a better friend? but rather when it comes down to it, what is the most important aspect of a friendship? (trust? experiences?)