"What is it with real life stories matching satirical online TV shows lately?
We just had a story match one from The Office
, and now we’ve got one (that’s
much dumber) that is copied from a Futurama
episode about how dating robots
will lead to the downfall of civilization:
Recently, the Hill
published a truly bizarre article that seems like it took
joke as real, claiming that “AI girlfriends are ruining an
entire generation of men” by someone named Liberty Vittert. The headline is
terrible. The article is worse.
First of all, most of the article is just warmed over stale leftovers from
previous moral panics about how porn was causing dudes to not want real
girlfriends, or how video games were removing men’s interest in sex. None of
that was ever true, and it’s not true now. I dare you to find anyone who says
that they wouldn’t prefer a real human relationship to an AI girlfriend.
But Vittert, who apparently is a professor of data science, is sure it’s
happening. There are four paragraphs that start out by saying that an AI
girlfriend “seems so ridiculous,” followed by her explaining why it “might
sound enticing,” because you can set your own preferences. But, um, that’s… not
why people actually date. Or likely why they are interested in an AI companion.
It seems likely that the reason many are interested in AI companions is
loneliness. But, there’s little evidence anyone is using it as a substitute for
a human companion. It’s there for those who are lonely and need someone to talk
to, and a virtual AI one is better than nothing.
Yet, Vittert (again, who apparently teaches data science) takes this to mean
that men are going for AI girlfriends instead of real girlfriends, and
therefore, they’re not making babies. And without babies, there will be no one
to pay for Medicare or Social Security."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics