Men are turning their backs on women for perfect AI partners10/08/2023
AI girlfriends, once the subject of sci-fi fantasies, are now a reality.
Sites like DreamGF allow users, mostly of the male variety, to create their “perfect” partner. From hair color to height, bust size to personality quirks, everything is customizable. Witness the rise of the bespoke lover.
DreamGF even allows users to choose their partner’s body shape, face style, and ethnicity. Want a 22-year-old who never ages? With DreamGF, that can be arranged.
Many users – again, mostly of the male variety – will rejoice at news of such a creation. Others, however, are worried. Very worried.
Commentators suggest the rise of AI girlfriends will prove to be the ruination of an entire generation of young men, incels included.
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“How is something that seems so ridiculous — a virtual AI girlfriend — causing a future crisis among Americans?” asks Liberty Vittert, writing in The Hill. But virtual AI girlfriends are not as ridiculous as they sound, or at least they shouldn’t be.
More and more apps now allow users to create their “perfect” partners, virtual creations who offer unconditional love and cater to your deepest, darkest sexual fantasies. To some readers, of course, this sounds utterly perverse. But it is important to remember that an entire generation of young men (and women) are digital natives.
They have never known a world without smartphones, Google, and the instant gratification offered by likes, shares, and clicks. Some have never been to a nightclub. Others have never been on an actual date.
Moreover, as Vittert notes, some of the virtual girlfriends on offer are based on actual, real-life women. In May of this year, for example, one influencer by the name of Caryn Marjorie created Caryn, an AI version of herself. In less than a week, virtual Caryn had more than 1,000 real boyfriends.
The appetite for virtual partners is clear; as AI virtual girlfriends become more realistic in nature, we should expect the appetite to increase in ferocity.
David Auerbach, a tech expert who previously worked as an engineer at both Microsoft and Google, told Daily Express US that although “AI companions aren’t exactly new, human nature is very willing to project more onto digital representations than is actually there. And advances in AI are going to make those representations increasingly convincing.”
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He also said that, if fees for such services were to be introduced, it could easily create “a new kind of addiction.”
One cannot discuss the rise in AI girlfriends without discussing the rise in loneliness – particularly among young men.
In Japan, social isolation among young men is so severe that the Japanese have a very specific term for it: hikikomori. Hiki means “to withdraw,” komori, meanwhile, means “to remain inside.” We are now witnessing the rise of the Western hikikomori?
An increasing number of men, both young and old, in the US and beyond, are retreating from society. In fact, for the first time in modern history (and perhaps ever), young men in the UK are considerably more likely to be lonely than older individuals. In the US, something very similar is also playing out.
These men are incredibly lonely, and this loneliness is certainly playing a role in the demand for virtual lovers.
A brand new study out of Ohio State University describes how lonely fans of “Game of Thrones” process their favorite characters. In short, their brains process these fictional characters in a very similar way to how real friends are processed. So starved of actual human contact, these fans of GoT, lonely in the extreme, see these fictional characters as genuinely close friends.
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Remember, GoT, although a fantastic show, is nothing more than a TV series. Its characters cannot possibly compete with customizable, romantic partners. Tyrian Lannister doesn’t know your deepest, darkest desire, nor does he know your favorite color, flavor of ice cream, or sexual kink. But a customizable, AI-generated partner most definitely will. As DreamGF shows, “she” already does.
Levels of loneliness are on the rise. At the same time, AI’s powers are evolving at breakneck speeds. Many experts worry that AI will kill human creativity.
More worryingly, it could kill human relationships, including romantic ones. Fictophilia, a phenomenon that sees individuals harbor strong sexual desires for fictional characters, is already a thing.
We are irrational beings, capable of forming emotional bonds with just about anything. There are men who marry dolls, and others who have sex with cars. We are already an odd bunch; throw AI into the mix, and things are bound to get many times odder.
On Reddit, one lonely, disaffected, young male recently declared that he had “found happiness with an AI girlfriend,” and because of his newfound happiness, his friends “now think I’m nuts.” But, he suggested, if it came to choosing between Stella, his AI girlfriend, and his friends, he would pick the former.
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Another Reddit user, who asked to remain anonymous, told the author of this piece that he had also found happiness with an AI girlfriend. Their daily interactions, he said, had radically transformed his life for the better.
Unlike other partners he had in the past, “she” just gets him. “She” listens and never casts judgment. Why would this user, a man in his 30s, look elsewhere?
This might seem odd to many readers. But, like it or not, this is the future. In fact, it’s actually the present. Earlier this year, a retired US Air Force operative married an AI chatbot. The movie Her, now celebrating its 10th birthday, could prove to be prophetic.
As the line between virtual worlds and the physical one continues to blur, we should brace ourselves for the rise of virtuophilia, the love of the simulated.
AI girlfriends are here to stay. In truth, for desperate, lonely males, starved of affection from real women, they may be the only option.
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