Virtual Companion

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A virtual companion is a phrase used to describe an interactive program accessible through web or mobile that serves as a companion, partner or lonliness agient with a remote or virtual persona. Most commonly this relationship exists as a boyfriend or girlfriend for the user in question. A virtual boyfriend or girlfriend program often has a variety of different reactions or prompts with which they interact and support the user.

Prompts from virtual companions range from entertaining and complimenting users, asking how users are doing or providing sexual enticement. These virtual companions are quite popular in Japan, as the culture is often one that is harried and does not have the time to sustain or seek out a traditional real-life relationship. Virtual companions often provide a guaranteed positive experience with a minimal amount of potential error and no rejection for the user. Lonely individuals may often find that a virtual companion provides just the right amount of attention that they need without the drawbacks that real relationships might have such as nagging, judging, or jealousy. A virtual boyfriend, for instance, will have attention always available to his user, or a virtual girlfriend will ensure her user that he is strong, attractive, and of good character.

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βoyfriend (Escape Pod Podcast EP216) Madeline Ashby, read by Tina Connolly. September 17, 2009.