If you’ve seen the movie Her starring Joaquin Phoenix, you know how love between a human and artificial intelligence could prosper if the world just took a chance. It starts with a degree of creepiness, then moves onto cute, then for some reason it seems to make sense.
As odd as it might sound, the world may be moving closer and closer to that particular concept.
Invisible Boyfriend debuted recently and is going viral across the web. It allows you to create the lover of your dreams – name, looks, personality, everything – and lets you start a conversation with the created person whenever you want.
The idea behind it is one of a virtual intimacy platform. Suddenly you have this perfect person to fall in love with. They’ll keep you company, talk to you about your problems, laugh with you and console you if needed – all for only $25 a month. Honestly, the bang for your buck isn’t as bad as I thought though.
Why would anyone want to do this? Well, the service gives a slew of reasons.
How Invisible Boyfriend Works
Being of the heterosexual male persuasion, I obviously felt the need to check out what this “Invisible Boyfriend” thing was all about. Would this app flip my Kinsey number if I tried it out? Would I suddenly fall in love with the man of my dreams? What if he has a beard and lives on a boat?! I’ll admit it – I was probably a bit more excited than I should’ve been.
Alas, I found out there was an Invisible Girlfriend section as well upon signing up for the beta. I decided to take that route and save my long-lost love for a man at sea for a different day. Plus, I happen to have a visible girlfriend who would probably appreciate the courtesy gender-choice. It’s fine. Girls are cool. Whatever.
After picking a suitable name for my new “girlfriend,” I got to pick the age as well. Next was to find a suitable picture for the new love of my life. The app gave me about 16 different choices, prompting me to wonder whose pictures these were anyway. Were they taken for the service? Were they found on Google Images? Who are these strange women?
Next is the fun part – entering the personal information about your new invisible boyfriend or girlfriend, along with how you met them. Did you catch them over coffee? At a crowded party? What’s the origin of your life with this new, wonderful person? Make sure it’s something that your nagging family might believe!
After all that, you input your personal information and describe yourself. Once you put in your phone number, the service sends you a text message with a verification code. Verifying is a snap, and before you know it your first text message from your new invisible boyfriend or girlfriend comes through.
The service gave me 10 free text messages, but I’m not sure if that’s because I said I’m a journalist or not. It then directed me to a page to input my credit card for 100 texts a month, 10 voicemails and one postcard a month for $25. All of this is “proof” you can show to people that the person exists and isn’t just a computer program.
The Weird Part…
Here’s the weird part: the other person actually IS real. According to various reports, including one by the Washington Post, the person on the other end is, in fact, real. They change their personality for different people based on what you chose in their profile.
The person on the other end is a freelancer outsourced by Invisible Boyfriend. Well, multiple freelancers. Your text gets sent to an anonymous person each time and the person gets a couple of cents to respond.
“That rapport you feel with Ryan may actually be six or seven Ryans,” Matthew Homann, the founder of Invisible Boyfriend, told the Post.
What once seemed fun and goofy now became all too real to me. I literally have no idea who I’m talking to. I could be talking to anyone, really. I started to wonder if this service would really take off. Thinking of how Omegle and Chatroulette turned out over the years, I wonder how long it may take before the service becomes abused by people looking for sexual pleasure.
My list of questions keeps rising, but my invisible, yet very real, “girlfriend” will surely be there to catch me when I fall into a pit I can’t climb out of. Right?
On second thought, I think I’ll stick with my real-life girlfriend. The Internet is a weird place.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Beware Uber Drivers! The Robot Cars Are Coming
Uber announced that that the world’s first self-driving Uber cars are on the road in Pittsburgh, the Steel City. The road ahead is still long, but the implications are staggering.
GPU-Maker Nvidia Moving into Autonomous Vehicles with Chinese Search Giant Baidu
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The DEA Digs Your Instagram Bong Selfies
It will come as no surprise to the average Hacked reader that the government is interested in their social media activity. People talk, and a lot of times, give themselves away, even when doing things which can get them in lots of trouble. Thus the DEA, FBI & Secret Service, all of course with some help from the NSA, are quite keen to know what’s going on with social media.
Specifically the DEA revealed as much in their 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment, an annual report the agency publishes. On page 80, they write:
Social media reflects how younger people perceive marijuana use as evidenced by various Internet searches that demonstrate minors using marijuana publicly and with impunity. Social media users of all ages, but primarily younger individuals, have posted hundreds of thousands of photos of themselves with marijuana products on various social media sites; these photos are associated with hashtags that represent marijuana (e.g. #420, #710, #BHO, #dabs). In 2014, approximately 1,200 new photos and videos were posted to Instagram® each day associated with the hashtag #BHO, a slang term for marijuana concentrates.
In November 2014, after the success of a popular online challenge, another social media challenge was issued for people to post photos and videos of themselves using marijuana in public places with the corresponding hashtag #loudchallenge. In response to the challenge, people have posted videos of themselves using marijuana in restaurants, in airports, on public transportation, and in classrooms.
The report also discusses the up-tick in explosions caused by butane extraction of THC, which then yields a form of hash popular nowadays known as “dabs.” While it’s technically never been illegal to take or post a photo of drug activity, it is not always advisable in states where the prohibition of the plant is still a reality.
But even in legal states, it can be a bad idea to post pictures of grow operations that have not followed the letter of the law, as Susan Squibb of the Cannabist cautioned Coloradans earlier this year:
So, it’s O.K. by state law to post online photos of your home grow, but [Colorado Attorney Lauren] Davis mentions there may be other risks. One factor to consider is whether the photos show off a garden compliant with local laws. Davis says, “If you are not within your legal limits (e.g. your town has a plant cap), you could be facing law enforcement scrutiny for the posting.” So make sure your garden is compliant before posting photos.
Big Brother is watching, and he’d rather you punish your liver than light up that bong. So take all the pictures of kegs and booze you want, those are considered past times. But take the wrong picture of yourself doing something with marijuana and you might find yourself in trouble, as Jeremy Clayton found out last year.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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