Designers hope it can be a stepping stone to relationships with human women.

Koi Suru AI is a new smartphone app/game from Tokyo-based Tapple, Inc. The title is a play on words, with koi suru meaning “to be in love,” and AI having a triple meaning as the abbreviation for “artificial intelligence,” ai, one of the Japanese words for “love,” and Ai, a popular woman’s name.

Koi Suru AI is, essentially, a dating simulator. It’s framed like a dating app, and the gameplay consists of exchanging messages with a 22-year-old woman named Ai whose responses are generated using AI technology. The designers say that this allows Ai to learn from her conversations with you, remembering your interests and lifestyle patterns and allowing her to have progressively more involved conversations with you as you relationship continues and you grow closer together.

Koi Suru AI

Aside from the AI aspect, that might sound like any of dozens, if not hundreds, of romance simulator games that have been released in Japan every year. And yet, there’s something that sets Koi Suru AI starkly apart from similar works. Even if you’re pretty deep into the genre’s fandom, you’re probably thinking that you haven’t heard of any other dating simulators by Tapple. That’s because Tapple isn’t a game developer. Instead, they’re the company that runs what they claim is Japan’s largest for-humans dating app, also called Tapple.

According to the company’s internal statistics, Tapple has over 19 million members. Even still, the company says it’s noticed that younger people in particular have become less active in pursuing romance and marriage, and so while they’re not shutting the for-meeting-humans Tapple app down, they’ve added Koi Suru AI to their service lineup. While some may see this as a sign of capitulation to young singles who ostensibly prefer their romance to be with a 2-D partner instead of a human being, the company’s intent is actually the exact opposite, saying that their “purpose [is to] increase the total amount of romance” in Japan, which Tapple believes will then contribute to alleviating the problem of the country’s declining birthrate.

The leap from “exchange messages with a fake girlfriend” to “have a real-life baby” might seem farcically long, but Tapple’s theory is that by presenting a realistic-feeling relationship for users to experience through Koi Suru AI, it’ll spark a desire to form an even more realistic romantic connection with an actual person.

▼ Ai’s personality and level of familiarity in how she communicates with you change to reflect your evolving relationship, with “pure-hearted,” “tsundere,” “princess,” and “lonely” shown clockwise from the top left.

In other words, Tapple’s hope is that Koi Suru AI serves as an appetizer for what a happy, steady relationship feels like, and that after having a taste, players will want to try between-humans romance for themselves (ostensibly using the Tapple dating app). Considering how many people have been motivated to take up things such as sports, performance driving, martial arts, or other activities after enjoying their digital versions, maybe Tapple is on to something. Then again, there’s the risk that the low-pressure, low-stakes relationship provided by Koi Suru AI could serve to galvanize players’ distaste for the potential drama and heartache of the human dating world, leading them to the conclusion that simulated romance is the more personally satisfying option.

It’ll be interesting to see how things turn out for Tapple, but for the time being, Koi Suru AI, a free download for iOS devices, can be found on the App Store here. And if it doesn’t work out like the company hopes, maybe the upcoming official Tokyo government dating app will fare better.

Source: PR Times via Jin
Images: PR Times
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