Lonely men are increasingly turning to virtual assistants like Siri to fulfill their sexual desires, new research has found.
Ilya Eckstein, the chief executive of Robin Labs, which developed a virtual assistant to compete with the likes of Siri, says his company's service, called Robin, is being used for up to 300 conversations a day by some men, "mostly teenagers and truckers without girlfriends", who don't have partners of their own.
"This happens because people are lonely and bored ... It is a symptom of our society," he told The Times. "As well as the people who want to talk dirty, there are men who want a deeper sort of relationship or companionship."
Mr Eckstein estimated that around five per cent of all interactions with the Robin chatbot were "clearly sexually explicit".
The research seems to be something out of a movie. In fact, it sounds very similar to the Spike Jonze film Her, in which Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his virtual assistant, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. The movie won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
"People want to flirt, they want to dream about a subservient girlfriend, or even a sexual slave. It may just be more for laughs, or something deeper underneath the surface," Mr Eckstein said. "You see some people try very hard to establish a relationships with the bot."
"Some users are amazingly stubborn in that sense. They walk from one assistant to another trying to find one that will understand them best and can have a conversation with them," he said.
The company found that around a third of conversations take place for no particular reason, with many users just wanting to chat.