It was only a matter of time.
Earlier this week, OpenAI quietly announced a "GPT Store" designed to allow users to share, discover, and sell their custom chatbots.
The AI company's equivalent of Apple's App Store allows developers to share their own GPT models, from coding tutors to book recommendation bots, with other paying ChatGPT Plus, Team, and Enterprise users.
At least, those are the examples OpenAI gives in its announcement.
The reality looks considerably different. As Quartz reports, the store has already been flooded with AI "girlfriend" bots. A simple search for the term comes up with countless examples, from a "virtual sweetheart" to "your girlfriend Scarlett."
Prompt suggestions invite the user to ask some of these virtual companions to "share with me your darkest secret" or reveal "what makes you feel valued."
While their mere existence shouldn't come as too much of a surprise — the concept of an AI-powered paramour has been around a lot longer than ChatGPT itself — they highlight how OpenAI is already struggling to moderate the kind of bots being posted on its brand new store.
The bots also appear to be against OpenAI's terms of service, with the company's user policy explicitly forbidding GPTs "dedicated to fostering romantic companionship or performing regulated activities."
That's despite AI companion apps becoming immensely popular over the last couple of years, sparking a discussion surrounding an epidemic of "loneliness" in the age of AI, not to mention the potentially disastrous sociological implications of a non-human partner that meets somebody's every need.
In May, programmer Enias Cailliau came up with a new tool called GirlfriendGPT, which was designed to "clone" a real person as an AI-powered romantic companion.
Things don't always go to plan. Last year, Snapchat influencer Caryn Marjorie created a virtual version of herself to rent out as an "AI girlfriend." It didn't take long, however, for her "CarynAI" to go off the rails, involving users who were paying $1 per minute in explicit conversations.
Whether OpenAI's brand new store will fare any better remains to be seen.
The disregard for OpenAI's policies and the proliferation of these GPTs — and we're just two days into its existence — highlights the AI industry's struggles when it comes to moderation. Besides, the Sam Altman-led company already has a shaky track record when it comes to implementing guardrails.
More on AI girlfriends: Experts Say AI Girlfriend Apps Are Training Men to Be Even Worse
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