Microsoft created a chatbot in China that has millions of loyal followers who talk to it like in the movie 'Her'


joaquin phoenix her

Warner Bros. Pictures

Joaquin Pheonix in the movie "Her," where he plays a character who falls in love with an operating system

Microsoft has created a Chinese-language chatbot that's captured the attention and affection of millions of people who message it regularly, The New York Times reports.


The bot, called Xiaoice, has more than 20 million registered users. Like in the movie "Her," where the main character falls in love with with a Siri-esque operating system, people are using Xiaoice as a surrogate companion, investing both time and emotional energy into their communication with the robot.

From The Times:

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She is known as Xiaoice, and millions of young Chinese pick up their smartphones every day to exchange messages with her, drawn to her knowing sense of humor and listening skills. People often turn to her when they have a broken heart, have lost a job, or have been feeling down. They often tell her, "I love you."

Xiaoice's strength lies in its ability to "remember" details from previous conversations and mimic natural speech patterns, which it learns by constantly scraping real conversations between real people for its database from across the internet.

As far as privacy fears for users, Microsoft says that it only keeps general data, like what a person's mood is (for example, if they said they lost a job and are sad), and deletes the rest of the personal data.


Xiaoice "caused much more excitement than we anticipated," manager of the Microsoft program in Beijing, Yao Baogang, told The Times.

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