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Microsoft’s so-called ‘girlfriend’ chatbot woos Chinese users: 5 things to know

It was just last year that Microsoft introduced Xiaoice, a chatbot that has become a huge sensation in China. People chat with Xiaoice when they have a broken heart, have lost a job, or have been feeling depressed. Because Xiaoice is not real, many people feel like they can chat with her for hours on end. She has great listening skills, a sense of humor, and she gives love back, users claim.

1. People communicate with Xiaoice more than 60 times a month

According to the New York Times, those who download Microsoft’s Xiaoice app, really enjoy communicating with her. Whether happy or sad, they talk with Xiaoice at least 60 times a month. Gao Yixin, a 24-year-old who works in the oil industry said, “When I am in a bad mood, I will chat with her.”

2. Xiaoice has a memory

People can add Xiaoice on major Chinese social networking services such as Weibo, a microblogging service used by 700 million people, and Touchpal. Once they’ve added Xiaoice to chat on social networks, the users can have more in-depth conversations with her. She can even remember details from conversations you had with earlier and can ask how you’re feeling about an event, such as a break up.

3. Xiaoice loves telling jokes

“Xiaoice is a sophisticated conversationalist with a listing personality,” wrote Microsoft on its blog. She can chime into the conversation with facts about celebrities, sports, or finance, but she also provides empathy and has a great sense of humor. Xiaoice recites poetry, tells ghost stories, repeats popular song lyrics, and knows a lot of jokes. When Xiaoice became really popular, she was telling more than 35.4 jokes per second on Weibo. Some people consider her their girlfriend.

4. She collects intimate details on individuals

Since Xiaoice collects important details on individuals, the program raises some questions about privacy. Yao Baogang, the manager of the Microsoft program in Beijing, told the Times, “We need to know the question, so we store it, but then we delete it. We don’t keep any of the data. We have a company policy to delete the user data.”

5. Xiaoice has more than 20 million registered users

In the first 24 hours of the beta service last year, Xiaoice was downloaded more than 20,000 times, resulting in over 200,000 simultaneous conversations happening in various chat groups. “People were amazed by her personality and her sense of humor,” Microsoft said. “Since then, Xiaoice has been ranked as Weibo’s top influencer and has over 850,000 followers on the service.”