AI has thrust deeper into carnal pleasures with the launch of a new “roleplaying” chatbot system.
Some of the tales offer guided erotic play, while others feature creator content from real couples. There are even stories that synchronise with the vibrations of sex toys.
The new chatbots add another level of interaction. Hannah Albertshauser, Bloom’s CEO, says the feature takes the character-driven storytelling “to the next level.”
“Our unique approach captivates the mind more than just the eyes,” Albertshauser tells TNW.
As a selfless service to our faithful readers, TNW put her claim to the test.
Ahead of the launch, TNW received a demo with a choice of seven characters: Lizzy, Noah, Barry, Noah as the Architect, Joel, Fleur as Mistress Mia, and Joel as the Ranch Hand.
According to Bloom, the underlying AI models are trained to represent the charm, personality, and language of each character. Rob the Ranch Hand, for instance, may call you “darlin’,” while Mistress Mia could ask what pet name you like to be called.
Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that most of the personas are male. Albertshauser said this reflects an “overwhelming desire” from users to connect with those specific individuals.
That desire may also mirror broader consumer tastes. Studies have consistently shown that sex stories are particularly popular with women, whereas men are more likely to watch porn (more on that later).
Albertshauser promises that additional “strong female characters” will soon make appearances. But TNW felt sufficiently indulged with seven virtual sweethearts at our beck and call.
In an interface that resembles dating apps, we slide into the DMs of the AI-powered characters. An amorous opening message then asks about our fantasies to set the tone of the conversation.
After entering a prompt, the chatbot replies with personalised voice and text messages. As the questions and responses flow, the feature engenders an immersive and customisable experience.
We’ll leave the juicy details to your sordid imaginations, but we were impressed by the personalised and natural interactions. The most striking aspect was the integration of details from user prompts.
“The more dynamic and customisable an experience can be, the more a user’s exact preferences and desires can be satisfied,” Albertshauser says.
“This is what we set out to change by introducing a feature where users can tell their favourite voices exactly what they are in the mood for and what fantasies they want to explore.”
Those voices may, however, be seen more than they’re heard. While a free version provides unlimited text responses, the audio messages are only available to premium users. Subscribers receive 15 of them per month. Additional voice message tokens can then be purchased in the app.
“We believe Bloom chat can strengthen real-world connections.
To determine the format of each response, Bloom developed an algorithm that selects either a text or audio response. Albertshauser says that it takes “several factors” into consideration.
“There is also an element of chance to keep the voice message output randomised in a way that is exciting for the user and makes the voice messages feel special,” she adds.
At times, the system did decline our seedier requests. According to Bloom, the chatbots will not engage in anything that breaches the platform’s community guidelines.
The characters can also integrate consent and safewords to ensure the user’s comfort. Another feature, which was still being built at the time of our demo, will let users report individual messages.
These safety features are just the tip of Bloom’s plan to promote positive sexual interactions.
Bloom’s chatbots are designed for inclusive and consensual adult interactions. They aim to set realistic standards for pleasure, which cater to a wide range of audiences and sexualities.
The erotica offers a different experience to visual pornography, which can skew perceptions of sex, relationships, and boundaries. Mainstream porn also predominately caters to the male gaze. Female pleasure is often relegated to something that only exists to please men.
Bloom introduces a welcome alternative. In a similar manner to podcasts, audio erotica creates an intimacy between the speaker and listener. The chatbots make the connection even closer.
“The interactive side of Bloom chat, really feeling like you are the main focus, is what separates us from video pornography and something that is very valued by our users,” Albertshauser says.
The feature could also serve as a confidence-building tool. Albertshauser hopes people use the chatbots to become more comfortable exploring and expressing their sexual interests.
“We believe Bloom Chat can actually help strengthen real-world connections. As our users chat openly with the bots about their sexual desires and fantasies, it strips away the shame and fear many people feel when talking about these things with partners, and helps users practise these conversations before bringing them into the real world.”
Bloom also promises that all user data is anonymised and never shared with third parties or used for other purposes.
To substantiate its claims about the feature’s benefits, Bloom sought input from Suzannah Weiss, a certified sex educator.
Weiss responded with a ringing endorsement.
“The characters are very respectful and affirming of your desires, which could make this function helpful for people who are overcoming sexual trauma, relationship abuse, or body image issues,” she says.
“It provides an example of what a positive sexual interaction looks like! I left the conversation with my chosen character feeling uplifted and excited to try out some of the fantasies we discussed with a live person.”
Bloom has also vowed to mitigate a common concern about AI: the danger of machines replacing human workers.
The training data for the chatbots includes the scripts and voice profiles of every character. It also contains AI voice-training materials recorded by each actor.
To protect their livelihoods, the performers could “opt-in” for a licensing model that provides compensation for their work. Once the terms were agreed, they were consulted to ensure the chatbots accurately represented their characters.
Bloom assures the voice actors, writers, and illustrators that the AI will not diminish their roles. Instead, the company says the feature will amplify their work, as the chatbots are modelled on characters and narratives that they created. Stories crafted and curated by humans will still be the platform’s core.
Those pledges won’t allay every concern about tech’s impact on relationships. The rise of deepfake porn, sex robots, and virtual girlfriends has aroused alarm that future sex will become inhuman. But Bloom’s chatbots show AI can at least offer artificial intimacy.