AI girlfriends are ruining an entire generation of men
BY LIBERTY VITTERT, OPINION
CONTRIBUTOR 09/26/23 07:00 AM ET
Source: The Hill
The rise of virtual artificial intelligence (AI) girlfriends is enabling the silent epidemic of loneliness in an entire generation of young men. It is also having severe consequences for America’s future.
How is something that seems so ridiculous — a virtual AI girlfriend — causing a future crisis among Americans? Well, with millions of users, apps have created virtual girlfriends that talk to you, love you, allow you to live out your erotic fantasies, and learn, through data, exactly what you like and what you don’t like, creating the “perfect” relationship.
These virtual girlfriends can even be based on real people. One influencer created an AI bot of herself named Caryn, then gained over 1,000 users (i.e. real boyfriends) in less than a week and a waitlist of more than 15,000 people.
An AI girlfriend might sound enticing. You get to connect with a super hot girl who listens to you and appreciates you, 24/7. Beyond choosing physical attributes, down to the size of her rear end, you can pick her personality. You prefer “hot, funny, and bold”? That’s what she will be. Or if “cute, shy, and modest” is more your cup of tea, she’s got you covered.
Yes, these are real attributes you can have your AI girlfriend embody. And to be clear, these aren’t cookie-cutter chatbot interactions. By definition, the AI learns from your reactions and is capable of giving you exactly what you want to hear or see, every single time. And they have come at just the right time to assuage the silent epidemic of loneliness that is hitting this generation of young men.
Let’s look at the hard numbers. More than 60 percent of young men (ages 18-30) are single, compared to only 30 percent of women the same age. One in five men report not having a single close friend, a number that has quadrupled in the last 30 years. The amount of social engagement with friends dropped by 20 hours per month over the pandemic and is still decreasing.
These young men are lonely, and it is having real consequences. They are choosing AI girlfriends over real women, meaning they don’t have relationships with real women, don’t marry them and then don’t have and raise babies with them. America desperately needs people to have more babies, but all the signs are pointing toward fewer relationships, fewer marriages and fewer babies. There have been 600,000 fewer births in 2023 in the U.S. relative to 15 years ago. The number of children per woman has decreased by more than 50 percent in the last 60 years.
Put another way, we don’t have enough people to work, and therefore we won’t be able to pay our bills, not just to other countries, but to ourselves. We spent more than $1.6 trillion in 2021 on Medicare and Medicaid, with the number of Americans on Medicare expected to increase by 50 percent by 2030, to more than 80 million people. But over the same period, we will have only 10 million more Americans joining the workforce.
And that is just health care. In 1940, there were 42 workers per beneficiary of Social Security. Today, there are only 2.8 workers per beneficiary, and that number is getting smaller. We are going broke, and the young men who will play a huge role in determining our nation’s future are going there with AI girlfriends in their pockets.
While the concept of an AI girlfriend may seem like a joke, it really isn’t that funny. It is enabling a generation of lonely men to stay lonely and childless, which will have devastating effects on the U.S. economy in less than a decade.
Liberty Vittert is a professor of data science at Washington University in St. Louis and the resident on-air statistician for News Nation, a sister company of The Hill.
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