What is Character.AI? How to create your own chatbots and use the old version

More and more people are interacting with artificial intelligence to a degree we have never seen before. Some of these technologies respond in the form of AI chatbots, with one in particular taking the field by storm. Character.AI, a popular platform where anyone can create chatbots based on fictional or real people, has already attracted millions of visitors. With advancements in AI, chatbots have become more sophisticated and capable than ever before.

What is Character.AI?

Character.AI is a web-based AI chatbot application that uses neutral language models to generate text responses. This platform enables users to create their own characters and engage in conversations with figures from fiction, history, and celebrity. Distinct from other AI chatbots like ChatGPT, Character.AI produces more human-like responses and supports conversations with multiple bots simultaneously, providing diverse perspectives. Developed by former Google AI developers Noam Shazeer and Daniel De Freitas, Character.AI launched in beta in September 2022. Since its introduction, it has quickly become one of the most popular AI chatbots, second only to ChatGPT.

How does the Character.AI work?

Character.AI works on neural language models, essentially supercomputers that analyze vast amounts of text to predict the next words in any given scenario. These models are versatile, finding applications in features like auto-complete and machine translation.

According to ElevenLabs, the Character.AI system uses advanced algorithms to respond to user prompts and simulate conversations. Using technology from similar large language models, it integrates machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and speech recognition to produce engaging stories and realistic interactions.

Users then collaborate with the AI to create dialogues. They write the lines for one character, and the AI generates responses for the other, creating the illusion of a conversation with another character.

It’s important to recognize that a supercomputer capable of such “hallucinations” is not a reliable source of factual information. That being said, Character.AI has proven to be a valuable tool for creativity, brainstorming, language learning, and various other applications that are still being discovered.

How to use Character.AI

If you’re interested in exploring Character AI, whether for business purposes or just for fun, getting started is straightforward. Simply visit Character.AI, select a chatbot, and start typing your message.

When accessing the site, the characters most frequently interacted with will be displayed first. However, users can also type in the search bar to locate specific characters, exploring a range of options—from ‘everything characters’ to historical figures, fictional entities, or even well-known spoofs like Harry Potter, Elon Musk, Beyoncé, Super Mario, and Vladimir Putin. These are just a few of the millions of AI personas available for interaction on Character.AI.

Users also have the opportunity to use Character.AI’s proprietary technology to create their own AI character. Whether they’re aiming to bring an anime character to life or establish a virtual dialog with their favorite celebrity, the possibilities are endless. Some even use other AI tools such as ElevenLabs and Midjourney to make their characters more realistic.

How to create your own chatbot on Character.AI

One of the best features of Character.AI is the option to create your own chatbot for interaction. To begin, click the ‘create’ button found in the left-hand navigation bar of the interface. Here, you are presented with two options: creating a character or a character room. Select “Create a character” to proceed. On the following screen, you will set up your chatbot’s parameters.

  • Start by naming your character
  • Set an opening greeting
  • Decide if you want to enable image generation
  • Choose the visibility of your character—public, unlisted, or private
  • Either create an avatar or upload one that you already have
  • Edit advanced details
  • Click the ‘create’ button to create your new character.

If you require guidance during this process, the character book is a valuable resource that offers extensive information to assist in crafting your AI characters.

Bugs Bunny appears to be a popular character on the platform

In our ReadWrite version, we created a chatbot for the iconic Looney Tunes character Bugs Bunny, who says his iconic phrase, “Eh, what’s up, Doc?” Character.AI then provided potential voices that matched it. The simulated Bugs was then able to talk about his mortal enemies and his dopey nemesis, Elmer Fudd. However, it stopped short of saying his famous sign-off message, “That’s all folks.” Hence, the chatbot needs enough information to say all the correct phrases.

Character.AI example using Bugs Bunny

Is Character.AI free?

Character.AI, like any AI-based service, has some limitations. While it is free to use and does not feature any ads or paywalls, the free version imposes some usage limits. Users can only create up to five characters, and each character is restricted to 100 prompts.

In addition, free users might not gain immediate access to new features that the platform frequently introduces. During high-traffic periods, free users may experience wait times due to queuing before they can interact with the AI chat service.

Character.AI includes an NSFW (Not Safe For Work) filter to maintain safe chat environments. Also, there is a cap on the number of daily messages free users can send to their characters.

In October, the company unveiled a group chat feature for paid subscribers. Users are able to bring together their AI characters with unique personalities and specialized functions to collaborate and engage with friends in real-time.

How to access the old and beta versions of the Character.AI site

It appears that users were big fans of the original site, which is why there are still several threads on Reddit asking how to access it. Developers at Character.AI reportedly heard the calls and have provided this under the domains old.character.ai and beta.character.ai. Some users are concerned that these sites will eventually be deleted so that the developers can prioritize the new version.

Character AI changed the subdomain to their old site from “beta” to “old” just now

byu/WilliamW2010 inCharacterAI

Is Character.AI safe to use?

Character.AI states that it is committed to safety and user protection, according to their safety center. The platform is designed to avoid producing harmful content by ensuring that its characters do not promote violence, illegal activities, or spread misinformation. To safeguard user privacy, Character.AI says it shares data only with standard Internet analytics providers and seeks user consent if this policy changes.

The platform uses automated tools to block inappropriate content and provides mechanisms for users to report any content they find objectionable, whether it’s messages, group chats, or character actions. Character.AI is proactive in moderating content through a growing Trust & Safety team equipped with the necessary tools to enforce guidelines, including warning, suspending, or banning users as needed.

In terms of respect for intellectual property, Character.AI writes that it adheres to a strict Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown protocol to address copyright infringement.

Give your Characters a Voice! Choose from thousands of Voices or create your own. Now available to everyone today for free.

Get the app: https://t.co/wKqSpHyUWN pic.twitter.com/yuxsJQeg3g

— Character.AI (@character_ai) March 20, 2024

Character.AI also collects user information for service enhancement but ensures features may be limited without necessary data provision. The Character Voice feature also includes stringent controls to prevent misuse, such as uploading unauthorized voices or creating misleading deepfakes. Users must consent to not use this feature for impersonation or to spread misinformation.

While the platform is not recommended for children under 13 and primarily targets users aged between 18 and 30, it integrates several safety measures and controls to maintain a positive and secure environment.

Featured image: Ideogram / Canva

Read More

Suswati Basu