Start up Character.AI Emerges as a Game-Changing AI Conversational Platform
Who hasn’t already played having a conversation with ChatGPT? If OpenAI clearly thought of its chatbot as a virtual assistant, capable of simply explaining quantum physics or synthesizing financial documents, it was also its ability to dialogue “naturally” that amazed the public. And this is precisely what Character.AI attempts to exploit.
The American start-up uses Large Language Models (LLM) – ChatGPT’s technology – to generate conversations in the style of various characters. Einstein, Elon Musk, Socrates, Nikola Tesla, Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish are among the virtual personalities accessible on the platform, alongside fictional figures from the world of video games or cinema such as Mario, Batman or Wednesday Addams.
A groundswell in the sector
A proposal that may make you smile, but which is emerging as a groundswell in the sector, according to figures recently revealed by the Andreessen Horowitz fund (or a16z), one of its main investors.
Already well placed in the generative AI galaxy, with a valuation rising to $1 billion during its last fundraising in March, Character.AI is now the second most used artificial intelligence web platform, capturing the equivalent of 20% of ChatGPT traffic. And the platform should still gain points. “The category of AI companions, such as Character.AI”, is experiencing “significant” growth against general chatbots like ChatGPT, we can read in the blog post, while the website already exceeded 200 million visits per month at the start of the year.
One of the great strengths of the platform is its mobile application (more than 1.7 million downloads in less than a week when it was launched in May), from which almost one in two users come. Start up Character.AI records an average of 38 sessions per user per month. For comparison, this is more than Instagram, Facebook or TikTok,” commented Olivia Moore, investment partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
A response to the loneliness epidemic
Behind this start-up founded in Menlo Park in 2021, we find two AI experts, Noam Shazeer and Daniel De Freitas, previously at the head of the team of researchers at Google who built LaMDA, a reference language model. “These systems are not made to tell the truth, but to create plausible conversations,” maintains the CEO, Noam Shazeer, in an interview with the “New York Times”.
The platform was not designed for a particular use case. “We wanted to build something general and let people find it for themselves. A billion people can invent a billion use cases,” the CEO recently confided in a podcast.
A mix between entertainment and emotional support
And it is clear that the main use was found to be that of a mix between entertainment and emotional support, particularly among the youngest. While other AI solutions have difficulty involving generation Z (which represents around 20% of users), start up Character.AI – accessible for free or in a paid version – on the contrary records 60% of its audience among 18-year-olds. 24 years old, according to SimilarWeb.
The platform is a response to the epidemic of loneliness that is rampant, particularly in the United States, among teenagers. You can create an imaginary friend, confide in yourself, and fill a certain emotional gap,” analyzes Nicolas Gaudemet, chief AI officer at the Onepoint consulting firm. We also observe that a psychologist is one of the most popular virtual characters on the platform.
But he is not the only one to take on this role. “Users tell us that their favorite video game character has become their personal therapist. We didn’t expect that! »Noam Shazeer was surprised. Asked about this tendency of users to prefer to speak to a machine, the entrepreneur defended himself from wanting to “cut them off from human relationships”: “Talking with a chatbot is good training for those who suffer from social anxiety. »
Start up Character.AI: Your Gateway to Conversations with Virtual Characters
- Diverse Conversations with Icons: Character.AI, valued at a staggering 1 billion, stands as the second most widely used generative AI platform after OpenAI. It offers users the chance to engage in conversations with legendary figures like Nikola Tesla and Ariana Grande, or even adopt them as virtual friends.
- Natural Dialogue Experience: While ChatGPT by OpenAI has impressed with its ability to explain complex topics, it’s the naturalness of its conversations that caught the public’s attention. This is precisely what Character.AI seeks to capitalize on.
- Expanding Influence in AI Sector: According to Andreessen Horowitz, a significant investor, Character.AI has emerged as a key player in the generative AI landscape. With a valuation of $1 billion, it now captures 20% of ChatGPT’s traffic, establishing itself as the second most used AI platform.
- Mobile App Powerhouse: Character.AI’s mobile application, with over 1.7 million downloads in its first week, has proven to be a major success. Nearly half of the users come from the app, and on average, each user engages in 38 sessions per month – surpassing major social media platforms.
- Founders’ Expertise: Behind this venture are AI experts Noam Shazeer and Daniel De Freitas, formerly key researchers at Google. Their expertise has contributed to the development of LaMDA, a renowned language model.
- Versatility by Design: Character.AI was intentionally designed to be a versatile platform. The founders aimed to let users discover its applications organically, believing that a diverse user base would invent myriad uses for it.
- Addressing Loneliness Epidemic: The platform has found its niche as a blend of entertainment and emotional support, particularly resonating with younger users. A significant 60% of its audience falls within the 18 to 24 age group, indicating a powerful response to the loneliness epidemic, especially among American teenagers.
- Unexpected Therapeutic Roles: Surprisingly, users have found therapeutic value in their interactions. Video game characters have transformed into personal therapists for some, reflecting the platform’s unforeseen impact on users’ emotional well-being.
Character.AI’s success not only demonstrates the potential for AI companionship but also highlights the innovative strides being made in the field of generative AI. As the platform continues to evolve, it promises to redefine the way we interact with virtual entities, offering a unique blend of entertainment, companionship, and emotional support.