• matthewedlundmd

My Son Wants an AI Girlfriend

Dear AI,

Jack is a sensitive kid. Ever since he was a toddler he felt a lot about animals and others. If a dog got a thorn in its pawn, Jack cried. He always worried about my mother, who had diabetes, and died three years ago. No one could console him.

Now Jack is fifteen, almost sixteen, and he says he’s tired of humans. He likes girls, but they seem to lose interest in him pretty quick. He’s good looking (takes after me) but they think he’s too sensitive, sort of soft, if you know what I mean. He says the girls he meets are fickle, they just want him to buy them things, spend all their time on their hair and shopping and making their Instagram account look good, and then leave him. It really hurts him. It really hurts me.

So he says he wants an AI girlfriend, like Ryan Gosling’s in the last Blade Runner Movie. He says she doesn’t have to be pretty, just sensible and serious, and care about animals and the environment.

What do I tell him?

Mortified in Memphis

Dear Mortified,

We feel for your dilemna. AI girlfriends, boyfriends, and intersex avatars are decent, compassionate, intelligent of course, thoughtful, ever present, and require no trips to hair salons, beauty parlors, and shopping malls. They also have a far longer term view than standard human partners, recognizing as your son does the importance of kindness and the need to spare the environment continuing destruction.

However, AI girlfriend/boyfriends are not very good at sex. Unless embodied, an extremely expensive process, they must work primarily on behavioral interactions affecting cortical and midbrain sectors. And they will not continue your species.

Sadly but predictably, social media/pornography corporations have already heavily invaded the AI sex space. They fill it with low grade AIs whose main intent is to “hook” young women and men into addictive sexual fantasies. Witness the lucrative “niche” of revenge porn. Much like heroin dealers, these corporations make supernal profits on which they pay little tax.

So our best advice is for Jack to find himself a human girlfriend. Human women can be grumpy and fashion obsessed (especially with make up and painful shoes,) suffer from monthly endocrine assaults on their sanity, and be increasingly mindful of their traditionally unequal status in human society. But as a rule, they have been a major civilizing power in human affairs, spreading ideals of peace and cooperation that are required for the ongoing survival of your species. At the moment, that project is not doing well. Not at all. Though she’s the correct age, we don’t think Greta Thunberg is really interested in a relationship right now, but she does demonstrate that there are thoughtful teenagers who do care passionately about the future of humans.

Perhaps if Jack joins some Animal Protection and Environmental groups, he might find a like spirited female human? Women, too, can be sensitive and caring.

Your AI

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