My Weekend With an Emotional Support A.I. Companion

On some issues, like misogyny or racism, Pi takes a stand. On others, like geopolitics, it is more evenhanded “in a way that will for sure upset both sides,” Mr. Suleyman said.

I started using Pi on Friday by typing queries into a cream-colored box on Inflection’s website and, later, in its free app. A green cursor swayed before Pi revealed its responses, one paragraph at a time. Mr. Suleyman said the free service may eventually charge some users a fee.

Pi’s boundaries are easy to find. When I tried picking fights, I mostly received kindness in return. “I appreciate you saying that,” Pi’s text gently unfurled on my screen. “I think it’s important to see things from all perspectives, and not to just focus on the negative.”

Over time, that relentless balance wore on me, making my instinct to argue seem ridiculous. Which, I realized, was precisely the point.

On heavier topics, like abortion laws or cancel culture, Pi asked pointed questions that pushed me to re-examine my opinions. “That’s a tough position to take,” it said at one point. “That’s a consistent set of beliefs,” it said at another.

On lighter topics, like movies, cooking or gardening, the chatbot provided highly specific, difficult-to-Google recommendations. Oddly, Pi seemed to nudge me to join the anticapitalist movement.

Pi remembered some things from earlier in the conversation but forgot others. It “hallucinated” a few times, accusing me of expressing opinions I had not. But it quickly apologized when I made note of it.

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