Artificial Intelligence is everywhere, from software like the language processor ChatGPT and the image generator DALL-E to AI chatbots—and now, even Twitch streamers are starting to take notice. Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa, one of the platform’s biggest stars with over 6.4 million followers, recently dropped her own artificial intelligence chatbot to “satisfy the needs” of fans, as she put it. She told Kotaku via Zoom that she hopes that AI Amouranth will teach social skills to minimize any stalkerish behavior lurking in her audience.
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A successful businesswoman (who now reportedly owns a gas station) and OnlyFans creator, Amouranth can now add “tech tycoon who’s excited about AI’s future” to her resume. Kotaku caught up with Amouranth—who ensured us she wasn’t her AI counterpart—to discuss AI Amouranth, the creepy behavior of her stream chatters, and how chatbots might alleviate loneliness.
AI Twitch streamer chatbots, explained
Amouranth explained how the new AI chatbot, which is available now exclusively through the encrypted messaging platform Telegram, works. Users have to spend IRL money—$5 equals five credits, for example—to receive a message from AI Amouranth, with each minute of the chatbot’s response requiring the relative credits from the user’s end.
“How it works is a user leaves a voice message and the [artificial intelligence] program will take that voice message, turn it into text internally, formulate a response in text, and then what it sends back to the user is a voice message with a voice that is replicated by my Twitch streams and my YouTube videos to try and sound like me and it’ll answer in a way that I would also respond,” Amouranth said. “It says [almost]exactly what I’m thinking, so it’s pretty good.”
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AI Amouranth is a partnership between the mega-popular Twitch streamer and Forever Companion AI, a start-up company that focuses on two-way communication between artificial intelligence and real people. While the IRL streamer said in a prior press release that she’s stoked about the collab, she expanded on her excitement with Kotaku.
“AI is something I’ve known has been going on for a long time,” Amouranth said. “We’re going in that direction. I remember in junior high and maybe, like, sixth grade seeing [those] MSN chatbots. So it’s been getting progressively more advanced [with] huge developments recently, obviously. But lots of AI apps lately, like we’ve seen that robot machine-learning Sophia Android Girl [from 2016 come] online. I’ve seen YouTube videos [with] kind of a similar concept [regarding] machine learning. And there’s these dating simulator games we’re seeing and I just think loneliness right now is at a high because of our society. We’re always isolated from each other, especially with the pandemic. [If] this helps people feel less lonely, I think it’s cool. And if people are willing to bond with it or socialize with it, I don’t think it’s harmful. I’ve seen that argument, too, but if they know it’s fake, then it’s fine. I think it’s harmless.”
Although Amouranth knows some of her audience is incredibly active in her chat, a vast majority of them are just chilling, primarily hanging out in her streams while doing something else in the background. Some chatters, she’s come to realize, don’t have adequate social skills—something she believes AI Amouranth could assist with.
“I think it’s a great way to practice social skills for the people who use it if they can respond like an actual person would,” Amouranth said. “They’re seeing a direct response to their conversational inputs and can learn to adjust in their own way along with the AI to get their desired outcome of a conversation. It’s like a risk-free cause and effect. And I think very rarely does anyone actually have that room to experiment. So, I find that very fascinating because in real life, you know, [there’s] usually repercussions for if you mess up a conversation or leave a bad impression. But on an AI, you can learn what other humans around you will generally perceive what you’re saying and, you know, can kind of like teach yourself how to properly socialize, improve your whole life and your networking skills and your relationships. So I’m really excited about that.”
AI as a means to deal with creeps
Amouranth is incredibly tired of folks asking her to “whip a tit out,” though, something she said populates her chat pretty regularly. It’s part of why she hopes her artificial intelligence chatbot will teach people socialization skills while putting trolls in their place. That said, she also hopes it won’t get corrupted by those trolls and, instead, will evolve to respond in the way she would.
“There’s a lot of people who think that I’m like this accessible person,” Amouranth said. “Some of them get needy and really crave attention. So, I think just having someone there to talk to 24/7 whenever they want will kind of cater to that parasocial desire to be able to talk to somebody. And I think that it’s better than when I talk to the viewers constantly because when I talk to them, sometimes the less socially adjusted ones will kind of think there’s some kind of relationship. I’m hoping that with a known AI responding to them that’ll take away some of that stalker behavior maybe and they’ll just get their attention without [any] danger to me. I hope that that can satisfy those types of needs.”
All of this sounds nice, but without knowing exactly what kind of safeguards Forever Companion AI purports to have built into its AI chatbots, it’s hard to discern just how AI Amouranth will interact with the real Amouranth’s fanbase. Parasocial relationships are hard to manage since they’re, more often than not, one-sided.
Just look at Twitch’s deepfake scandal from earlier this year, which involved well-known streamers’ likelinesses being non-consensually sexualized by savvy tech losers. But, as tech evolves, Amouranth believes that AI chatbots, at the very least, are fascinating to talk to and may be helpful, in a way.
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So, hey, if you’re looking to practice your social skills, AI Amouranth is there—so long as you have the cash for it. It may be a facsimile of the real thing, but it’s always nice having a shoulder to lean on—even if it’s artificial.