AI – Imaginary Friends

Kids imaginary friends are now all too real…

We build what we imagine

In technology, we build what we imagine: the horseless carriage, fixed-wing aircraft, humanoid robots… and kids often have imaginary friends. But now, they don’t have to just live inside one’s head; we can make them real.

I was recently listening to one of my favourite podcasts with Kevin Roose, who built an entire cohort of imaginary AI friends. He creates a bunch of different personalities, gives them names, backstories, jobs, and makes up ‘how they met.’ He even introduces these AI friends to each other to form an imaginary friend group.

Anyone can do this on Kindroid – which is a generative Personal AI that allows anyone to build an aligned companion. Let’s call them your AI friends with lifelike memory, intelligence, appearances, voices, and personalities. Give it a try; it really is lifelike.

Societal Impact

Beyond the tech, I’m interested in what this means for society. There are a tremendous amount of potential upsides with technology like this. It could assist young people suffering from loneliness and provide much-needed connection for our older cohort who live by themselves.

They could also be incredibly useful for things like mock job interviews, negotiation practice, or even teaching teenage boys how to act appropriately in simulated dating scenarios.

Imaginary Downsides?

Of course, you’ve already thought of the downsides of AI friends. Given that the end-user designs the AI friend, there is really no limit to the negative wormholes people might go down. Just imagine the worst behaviour we’ve seen on social media and multiply that by 100. It might further isolate the lonely. I’m also not sure that people interacting in a fake environment will be a net good for our discourse in the real world. Would you ever talk to an AI? Email me and let me know!

One thing I know for sure is that this will become commonplace, and we are about to enter a brave new world.

Keep Thinking,


PS – You can listen to me every other week on the Futuristic Podcast.