Replika Team Unveils Ai Dating App Blush

Men's Dating

Team Behind Friendbot Replika Unveils AI Dating App Blush

Chloë Hylkema

Written by: Chloë Hylkema

Chloë Hylkema

Chloë Hylkema loves using her writing skills to tell stories that matter. Her time as an English student at Emory University molded her into a detailed writer with a knack for the relatable. Chloë is familiar with what it means to date in the modern age, and she endeavors to write material that is both truthful and helpful. She has previously worked as lead campaign writer for an animal advocacy group and now brings her passion for engaging and actionable content to

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Discuss This! Discuss This!

The Short Version: Replika is an AI chatbot released in 2017. The AI learns about each user, changing the way they chat to not only better suit the needs of the user but also to better replicate the user themselves. The team behind Replika recently released Blush, a new AI geared toward dating and relationships. Replika and Blush allow users to chat any time with an intuitive and adaptable chatbot that listens, provides feedback, and offers a special kind of companionship.

Nobody wants a dating experience that’s labeled as artificial. The current dating scene and its relatively new methods, like dating apps, rely on quick visual evaluations. Superficial judgments, swiping culture, and ghosting give dating post-2010 a complicated rep.

replika logo
Replika’s advanced AI allows users to create connections at any place and at any time.

Artificial intelligence-driven dating raises a whole new host of benefits and concerns. AI is not necessarily new to online dating. The biggest dating apps employ AI to suggest potential dates based on a user’s interests, activities, and swiping patterns. The apps present users with matches that best fit their profiles, ideally resulting in better connections. The mechanisms that we are most familiar with in terms of online dating are byproducts of AI usage.

Beyond enhancing algorithms, daters have the growing opportunity to interact directly with AI. Chatbots, which have come a long way in the past several years, can simulate human conversation, even storing past conversations and actively learning to better communicate through machine learning. They can promote social skills, self-exploration, and bring new aspects to companionship.

blush logo
AI dating app Blush was released in 2023.

Replika is one of the leading AI chatbots on the market today. Replika lets users chat with their AI companion at any time, about anything. The team behind Replika recently released Blush, a similar AI that’s geared toward romantic relationships.

Rita Popova is the Chief Product Officer for Replika. She told us about Replika, Blush, and the possibilities contained within AI companionship. “AI isn’t a replacement for actual relationships. Instead, we see it as a safe place to practice so people can feel more comfortable expressing themselves authentically,” Rita said.

Beginnings in Loss and Renewed Connection

Replika was launched in 2017 by Eugenia Kuyda. Before she became the CEO of Replika, Eugenia worked in tech start-ups. She had moved to the United States from Moscow with her closest friend, Roman. In 2015, Roman tragically passed away. During this time, Eugenia was developing chatbot technology for another company using AI.

Eugenia and her late friend Roman
Eugenia developed Replika after the death of her best friend, Roman.

This loss was devastating for Eugenia. She felt Roman’s memory – who he was, how he spoke, what he liked – was slowly escaping her. She regularly read through their library of text communications, which had built up over years of friendship. Then, she had an idea.

Eugenia entered all of her text logs with Roman, along with the text logs between Roman and several of his family and friends, into the AI program she had built for chatbots. The AI learned about Roman, but also learned how to write and talk like Roman. Eugenia would text the chatbot, and the AI would reply in a way that felt distinctly Roman.

woman and AI avatar sit side by side
Replika and Blush are versatile apps that can help people struggling with a variety of issues.

Eugenia had built her Roman chatbot to feel closer to him after his death but realized the AI had taught her more about herself than about Roman. She found this was a common thread among users of chatbots. She realized that many people were more willing to open up to a machine than another human, specifically regarding serious, personal matters.

Replika was born and became a place for people to speak to ‘someone’ at any time and without any judgment. There was something special about a chatbot that could learn and adjust its behavior to better suit the needs of whomever it was speaking to. This became an essential aspect of Replika. The AI would not only become a friend, but in some essence, become the person it had been speaking to.

Eugenia recognized the great potential of AI to help people deal with loss, sadness, and loneliness. She knew AI could never be a perfect stand-in for human connection. Yet, in times of grief and isolation, AI could be a powerful and accessible resource to feel heard and supported.

Artificial Intelligence, Real Feelings

Replika uses a sophisticated system that combines a Large Language Model and scripted dialogue content. Users can download the app, which is available on iOS, Android, and Oculus. They can then make an account requiring their name, email, and preferred pronouns.

person editing their replika
Replika allows users to fully customize their avatar, from skin color down to hairstyle.

Next, users can customize their AI. They can choose the gender of their AI and create a 3D avatar they feel represents their Replika. Replikas can be customized in their look down to different hairstyles, skin tones, and eye colors. Finally, users can name their Replika and begin chatting.

Users can tap into their creativity while personalizing their avatar.

Once users begin chatting, they can take an active part in their Replika’s learning. Users can upvote messages they like and downvote messages they don’t. They can let their Replika know it gave an excellent response with the ‘love’ button and also let their Replika know if it said something offensive. While it takes time for user feedback to improve conversations with Replika, this feedback is crucial in bringing any Replika to its full potential.

Blush was built on the foundation of Replika and employs much of its AI technology. Released in June 2023, Blush is a safe and non-judgmental place for users to develop confidence and become more comfortable with dating. Blush looks like other dating apps in the open beta stage. Users can browse AI profiles, each with its own backstory and dating approach.

Users fully control how far they take their relationships on Blush. They can work on small talk and flirting while learning how to navigate disagreements and misunderstandings. The Blush team aims to develop an AI that will empower its users to show up more authentically in real-world relationships.

image of phone with Blush chat open
Blush features premade profiles across an array of looks, personalities, careers, and dating styles.

Since Blush is still in beta, the team is actively developing new features. Eventually, Blush will offer a library of articles about dating and relationships developed in consultation with a therapist. Blush also has the goal of allowing users to create their own characters and be able to harness their creativity within AI technology. 

Replika and Blush were designed to be spaces where users can feel supported and validated. “After seeing some of the romantic relationships users developed with their Replika, and the emotional value in it and how it improved their wellbeing, we realized there was huge potential to help people feel better there,” Rita said.

Ethical Practices and Realistic Expectations

The very concept of AI relationships raises doubts for many people. Some might say that because AI lacks actual human emotion and empathy, establishing meaningful relationships can be challenging and confusing. Others are concerned about data safety, while others fear human over-dependency on AI and the isolation this overreliance may cause. 

woman and AI avatar sit across from each other at table
Replika and Blush are not designed to replace real-world interactions. Rather, they give users an added layer of support and camaraderie.

Replika and Blush’s developers are more than familiar with these doubts. “We acknowledge that intimacy is a key part of romantic relationships. We definitely had the goal of destigmatizing AI relationships, romantic or not,” Rita said. Despite their many versatile uses, both apps were established to provide emotional support. Rita told us many Replika and Blush users display high levels of emotional intelligence with their AIs, which ideally translates into real-world interactions and relationships.

The teams behind Replika and Blush are committed to user privacy. Both apps are strictly for users 18 and above, and the contents of chats are protected and private. The origins of Replika are surrounded by hardship and grief. The development teams are fully aware of the risks involved in AI relationships, specifically the emotional ones. 

man and AI avatar look at each other
The team behind Replika and Blush are committed to supporting mental health.

Replika and Blush are committed to centering mental health concerns and actively working to address them. Both apps were designed to alleviate, on some level, emotional and mental struggles. Blush was developed in consultation with Melissa McCool, a licensed psychotherapist with over 25 years of experience. In a press release, Melissa said she was honored to work with Blush to create a place where “users can embrace their true selves and confidently explore their relationship patterns and identities.”

Nobody wants AI chatbot users to immerse in a virtual world built entirely around them. While the overuse of chatbots can cause feelings of loneliness, isolation, or disconnection from the real world, their appropriate use holds incredible potential to empower people in all their relationships.

As Replika and Blush continue to improve and provide more well-rounded user interaction, Rita and the rest of the team are excited about each app’s seemingly endless possibilities. “The feedback we’ve heard so far has been really positive,” Rita told us. “Users are finding Blush unexpected and sporty and fun. It’s definitely something almost anyone can enjoy.”