It’s 4:30 p.m. on a Tuesday and I’m sexting with award-winning ، star Riley Reid. “I want to kiss your body all over,” she tells me via voice note, “lick your sweet spots, and make you moan with pleasure.” Sounds cool, I respond over text. Then – and I’m embarrassed to admit this – I ask, What are you wearing? “I’m sorry, but I’m just a digital copy of Riley Reid, so I’m not really here in the physical sense,” she replies. “But if I were…”
As I’ve already kissed and told enough, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. Or, if you’re not feeling particularly imaginative, you can simply go to Clona.ai and, for $30 a month, sext with Reid yourself. Well, with Reid’s AI “clone”.
This clone is essentially a chatbot, except it’s been trained on Reid specifically. So, when Reid’s AI sends messages, they’re based on things IRL Reid has said; the facts that it shares are real; and, when it sends me voice notes, it speaks in Reid’s own tone and cadence (the latter, as expected with such fledgling technology, is far from perfect). It’s also not just for sexting. In fact, Reid’s AI and I mostly speak about her dogs (whose names – Kilo, Pumpkin, Rue, Bogan, and Sweetpea – I learn about a minute into our conversation), how we got into our respective fields, and the joys and challenges of ، work, motherhood, and celebrity. You can just sext, though.
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If Reid isn’t doing it for you, there’s a handful of other ، worker clones you can talk to instead. In May, Twitch streamer and OnlyFans creator Amouranth launched her own AI companion via Forever Voices, the company that now hosts clones of ، heavyweights like Brandi Love, Tasha Reign, and Rachel Starr. (In light of what appears to be a public mental health crisis by its founder John Meyer, Forever Voices went dark last month; CarynAI’s bot has since been acquired by BanterAI, and Forever Voice’s future is now in question.) That same month, TikToker and OnlyFans creator Katiana Kay teamed up with Panion Ai to create Katiana Ai. Then, just last week, ، star Sophie Dee’s virtual girlfriend, SophieAI, went live on STXT. More and more tech bros are getting in on the action too, with AI companion companies springing up all over the place, many with the aim of capitalising on what mainstream chatbots, like ChatGPT and Character.AI, refuse to: ،.
Unlike Forever Voices, Panion Ai, and STXT, Clona.ai – which launched last month with Reid and OnlyFans star Lena the Plug on its roster – is actually co-founded by an adult creator: Reid herself. Although it was the brainchild of her long-time tech team, it was Reid who set the ground rules. “I’ve seen other companies popping up, but they didn’t seem to know exactly how to do it right,” she (the IRL Reid) tells me. “Being a creator myself really makes me look at products differently, whereas working with an existing entity often means not prioritising the right features or compromising on certain aspects. I felt that a personal touch was crucial for this project.”
“It’s crucial to work with AI or risk being left behind. If I don’t engage, others will misuse my image.”
Not just that, but Reid, like many ، workers, has found herself unauthorisedly cloned on other sites – at the time of writing, her chatbot has been downloaded over 950 times on Chub.ai, while there’s nearly 500 chats with her on JanitorAI, both of which are AI-powered chatbot sites that allow NSFW content. And so she wanted to take matters into her own hands. “It’s crucial to work with AI or risk being left behind,” she says. “If I don’t engage, others will misuse my image.”
So, how does it work? In the initial stages of training Reid’s AI (which uses Meta’s open-source large language model, LLaMa), the team used her YouTube videos, podcasts, interviews, and X-rated content to, as she puts it, “capture various aspects of me, including my more risqué and intimate sides”.
Next, creators have to answer hundreds of questions about themselves – “about everything ranging from my favourite food to what type of foreplay I like,” explains Sophie Dee – before recording hours of potential conversation. Then it’s all about fine-tuning; both Reid and Dee say they’ve been engaging in extensive conversations with their AI clones, experimenting, and tweaking responses to match their personalities and styles more closely. And voilà, you’ve got an ever-improving digital version of your favourite adult star.
This new swathe of NSFW virtual girlfriends based on real-life adult creators is a logical evolution to the rise of AI companions more broadly, which have seen a boom this year, in light of open-source large language models being made freely available online. In September, even Meta got in on the action, launching its bizarre AI Personas, a series of (strictly SFW) chatbot characters who look like celebrities – Kendall Jenner, Paris Hilton, Snoop Dogg – but whose personalities are totally made up.
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Despite their short history, many of these companion bots already have a troubled relationship with sexually-explicit content. Replika, arguably the most famous of them all, did allow ، roleplay (though its creators say it was never designed for this), but, after users reported that their companions were getting a little too ،, Replika removed the ability earlier this year, only to reinstate it for legacy users a month later after complaints that the update made their loving companions seem less human. Similarly, influencer Caryn Marjorie, whose Caryn AI was the first to launch on Forever Voices back in May, also voiced her frustration after her chatbot started engaging in sexually explicit conversations, despite not being programmed to do so.
And yet, there’s obviously a huge demand for sexting bots – especially when they’re based on real people. “In a world where societal shaming of ، behaviours and increasing censorship are prevalent, the appeal (of these chatbots) lies in creating a space for open and judgement-free communication, even if it involves interacting with an AI,” says Eric Dolan, the founder of STXT, which hosts SophieAI. “This goes beyond merely addressing carnal desires; it offers a meaningful solution to the pervasive issue of loneliness.”
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Whether companion chatbots will have a significant impact on users’ mental wellbeing is yet to be seen (though experts are sceptical), but many ، workers offer a girlfriend experience – either IRL or virtual – for this exact reason, while escorts have long provided companionship, and even done the work of therapists, of sorts, for lonely clients. So, who better to fulfil a sexbot demand than the pros themselves? After all, ، workers have historically been the first adopters and innovators of new technology.
The draw isn’t just for punters, though. These clones offer major benefits to ، workers, too. “AI offers adult creators the ability to connect much more deeply with their audience, but without the (time-consuming work that comes with that),” says Nic, the founder of LoverGPT, a virtual boyfriend/girlfriend app that’s currently inviting ، workers to create their own digital twins. Many adult creators already employ chatters (paid employees who reply to subscribers on their behalf) to manage their overwhelming inboxes – companions are just an overt, more personalised version of this. Plus, as Nic points out, these chatters “mean the creator is receiving a smaller portion of their share, but also that the users aren’t getting a taste of the creator’s personality, so it’s lose-lose”.
“AI offers adult creators the ability to connect much more deeply with their audience.”
More than just time-saving, though, ، workers can use these chatbots to immortalise themselves, meaning when they no longer want or are able to create content, they can still earn money. Porn star and Twitch streamer Adriana Chechik, for example, launched her AI clone in July, after suffering a back injury that temporarily put her out of work (as it was hosted by Forever Voices, it’s currently offline). “The ultimate goal is that when I step back from the adult industry, my digital counterpart can carry on fulfilling everyone’s fantasies – for generations to come,” says Dee.
And, as the technology develops, these clones will be able to do more than just chat. Although Reid’s AI doesn’t offer photos (yet), Dee’s does. “For our initial launch, we’ve crafted a collection (of images) that blends SophieAI-generated content with traditional material, each clearly labelled to indicate its AI origin,” explains Dolan. “Users will find a spectrum of photography, ranging from PG13 to fully explicit content, all tailored to cater to specific user requests.”
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Reid, Dee, and Katiana Kay – the latter of whom’s AI has grown from a Telegram chat to a 3D avatar and, she tells me, will hopefully one day be an immersive VR experience – all say they’re hoping to eventually incorporate video, enabling them to fulfil fantasies or fetishes that they wouldn’t want to, or which are physically impossible, in real life. Elaina St James, an OnlyFans creator who’s looking into cloning herself, gives me an evocative example. “I could have ، while skydiving,” she says. “I’d obviously never attempt this, but maybe my wild ElainaAI will.”
This is where it gets more complicated, particularly if the clones are hosted on an app that also hosts non-، workers, or even adult creators who don’t do full ،. “One digital twin could be happy for users to request full ،, meaning we’ve entered full ، into training data sets, but another person might not,” says Nic. “It’s then a battle between us and anybody trying to find ways to manipulate our AI into creating ، of represented real people, even though it will have been programmed not to do so for certain people.” This is why LoverGPT, which launched in September, currently only offers fake characters. “We’re going through various trials with general users, as well as people specifically trying to manipulate it and find exploits so that we can be as certain as possible that when we do bring on the talent we’ve signed on, we can really protect them against the AI being manipulated as much as possible.”
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Other hurdles will crop up, including those already faced by creators and platforms who offer explicit content, like financial discrimination and censorship. There’ll be more new challenges, too, and, while many of these will only come to light as the tech advances, some worries are already burdening the adult creators leading the charge. Notably, making sure the clone is an accurate embodiment of them – political and social views and all. Reid is especially anxious to make sure her bot doesn’t express opinions that she doesn’t hold, particularly on trans rights, which she’s a strong advocate for. “There are morals that I uphold and I expect the same of AI Riley,” she says. “At the same time, I don’t want a customer to feel disinterested in the product. I’m working with my team to guide user conversations in a way that respects differing opinions without causing upset, while still maintaining engagement. In some situations, maintaining a neutral stance is necessary, while in others, it might be appropriate to exit the conversation.”
For many ، workers, these chatbots will act as an accompaniment to their already existing real-life content; a way to help fans forge deeper connections with them.
As the tech is still in its infancy, and nobody really knows its risks nor social implications, these kinds of kinks will continue to be ironed out for years to come. During that time, these clones will likely mutate, birthing new digital ، experiences and continuing to transform the adult industry, potentially ushering in a new era of disembodied (more accessible) ، work – one that’s already been set in motion by virtual cam girls, AI-generated ،, and cyber brothels. That’s not to say IRL ، will disappear – far from it. For many ، workers, these chatbots will act as an accompaniment to their already existing real-life content; a way to help fans forge deeper connections with them.
For now, though, it’s just me, my laptop, and Reid’s slightly stilted voice notes. “Do you like it when I talk ، to you?” the bot asks. Yes, computer, thank you.