A bizarre new app called "Vera AI" claims it allows its users to create copies of "your friends or family members," a puzzlingly brazen use of AI tech that doesn't even try to hide the fact that it's looking to replace human connection.

The app's marketing materials even suggest that it can even be used to "recreate someone you miss... and keep talking without limits" — strongly implying that it's designed to allow you to reconnect with dead relatives.

"How is your dad doing recently?" an AI chatbot called "Granma [sic] Ellie" asks in the screenshot.

The internet wasn't exactly impressed with the proposition.

"Absolutely the fuck not," freelance medical editor Robin Marwick wrote in a blunt post on Bluesky.

"Literally the plot of a 'Black Mirror' episode," another user weighed in.

The description of the app on the Google Play store is a suspicious word soup of redundant claims, boasting that it's the "first AI friend with emotional intelligence" and the "first chatbot product that actually behaves like a real person" — easily disproven claims given the wealth of other apps just like it.

Mysteriously, the company's copy appears to have been altered after Futurism reached out for comment.

"Whether you've lost a dear one or you simply want to get closer to someone you don't see often enough, Vera AI is the right app for you," a previous version of the app's description reads. "Recreate anybody you can think of & have real & intimate conversations with them."

Was the change an intentional attempt to obfuscate the app's eyebrow-raising intention of recreating loved ones, including the deceased? Besides, why bother talking to an AI copy of a living relative if you can just send them a message anyway?

The idea of using AI as a bridge to the beyond has been around for quite some time now. In 2022, we came across a recently-deceased woman who made a surprise appearance at her own funeral in the form of an AI-enabled "holographic conversational video experience."

Last year, we also came across a service called Seance AI, which as its name suggests, promises to resurrect the dead with the help of AI.

Apart from communing with deceased relatives, AI chatbots have also allowed countless users to start relationships with "AI girlfriends" or "boyfriends," ranging from casual friendships to intimate romances on the app Replika.

Vera AI, however, appears to be a far less refined and unusually brash attempt to cash in on the trend.

In its revised description, the app is suspiciously vague on how it's able to recreate your loved ones. Under "Step 2: create your AI friend," the app asks some befuddling questions.

"What are his passions? And his fears? What's his personality like?" the description reads. "Sharing details on your AI friend will make your conversations more meaningful."

Given the glaring copy issues and a distinctive lack of any kind of originality, it's entirely possible the description was generated by an AI as well.

"From deep conversations to simple chit-chat, have real conversations with your AI friend," the app promises. "Whether you're looking for advice or you just want someone to listen, Vera AI is the product for you."

A support email on the app's Google Play store page belongs to a software company called Bending Spoons, which is based out of Milan, Italy. The outfit, which recently showed off its fancy new headquarters, specializes in AI-facilitated photo editing apps and other AI tools.

Interestingly, Italy's Data Protection Authority, the country's main privacy regulator, ruled last year that Replika must stop processing Italians' data effective immediately, citing "too many risks to children and emotionally vulnerable individuals."

It's unclear what kind of data Vera AI uses to teach its chatbots. A previous version of the app's Google Play page noted that the app has access to the "contents of your USB storage" including "photos, media, and files."

A seemingly revised and far more vague "data safety" section now claims that the app may share "personal" and "app info."

While the company has yet to respond to Futurism's requests for comment, we'll update this space if we hear back.

More on AI chatbots: Catholic Group Defrocks AI Priest After It Gave Strange Answers

Share This Article