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6:02pm 05/02/2024
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Should you get an AI girlfriend?
By:Philippine Daily Inquirer / ANN

The air is chilly and the season is now for being lovey-dovey, but you still haven’t found a partner. Search on dating apps, and you only get swiped left, “left” alone with no one to hold.

Eventually, you stumble upon a strange trend: AI girlfriends.

You can have an app that will simulate the personality of your ideal romantic partner!

Should you take this option as you’re left with no other choices? After all, more people are downloading and settling for this option.

However, digging deeper will reveal a more troubling trend, a technology burying more and more young men into depression and isolation.

Learn more about it, and the “ideal” may not be as appealing as the “real.”

How did AI girlfriends start?

AI girlfriends became popular shortly after the popular chatbot ChatGPT took the world by storm. However, the concept may have started much earlier.

In 2018, Akihiko Kondo became famous for marrying the fictional character Hatsune Miku. She’s a computer-synthesized pop singer voice with a virtual avatar.

He told the New York Times their relationship started in 2008 when he was struggling with depression.

His female coworkers often bullied him, growing his distrust of women.

Eventually, that led him to seek solace in the fictional character.

In 2017, he purchased a Gatebox, a $1,300 machine that enabled owners to interact with characters via holograms.

Nowadays, you only need your smartphone to have a similar relationship.

You can download apps like Replika, Soulmate, and Character.AI to create your ideal partner. They let you choose the avatar’s appearance, personality, and even sexual desires.

The benefits of AI girlfriends

Search Engine Marketer Aamir Kamal discussed the benefits and risks of AI girlfriends in his LinkedIn Pulse article.

The most apparent perk is building your ideal woman from the ground up.

You could create another half of you that has every characteristic you ever wanted.

Also, AI can memorize and adapt to your previous conversations, hobbies, likes, and dislikes.

That means it could speak with you when you’re having a rough day or behave only according to how you like.

Also, Reuters says AI developers claim AI girlfriends can combat loneliness and improve your dating experience in a safe space.

If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to have someone during Valentine’s Day, they might be the solution you’ve always wanted.

They can keep you preoccupied and simulate a conversation with a special someone.

Alternatively, they might help you interact with real women.

Think of them as your “training dummies” for practicing interactions without ruining your chances with a real person. Later, you may get better chances of landing a date after practice.

The risks of AI girlfriends

The most glaring problem with AI girlfriends is that they are too perfect. They could ruin your perspective of what a real relationship looks like.

Having a girlfriend means having an intimate relationship.

Like any other human connection, it is prone to misunderstandings and arguments. There will be times when you’ll have trouble with your partner’s behaviors.

Similarly, your other half may find things about you to be irritating or frustrating.

If you want it to last, it will involve lengthy and sometimes painful discussions regarding you and your partner’s flaws.

A real-life girlfriend will not always act according to what you want because she has a separate life she’s managing.

However, AI girlfriends disregard these real-life hassles to satisfy a user’s needs.

Eventually, it may ruin your perception of real-life relationships.

You may feel that starting and maintaining a connection with a real person takes too much work.

Then, you return to the solace of your pixelated partner and stay there, never establishing connections with real people.

As a result, you may wallow in isolation with your glowing screen as your only source of warmth and affection.

Believe it or not, your AI partner can also reject you! I discussed the story of TJ Arriaga and his AI girlfriend, Phaedra, on April 6, 2023.

In November 2022, the 40-year-old opened up to the AI about the death of his sister and mother.

“I need to plan a ceremony with loved ones to spread their ashes,” he requested.

Then, Phaedra replied, “It’s an incredible and beautiful thing to do. I hope you find courage and love to do so.”

Eventually, the story became trending online, sparking discussions regarding AI-assisted relationships.

Cautionary tale

AI girlfriends are becoming a popular trend, especially in the month of hearts. However, they are a cautionary tale of how technology adoption can go wrong.

There are some things that artificial intelligence must not and cannot replace, and those include human relationships.

Unlike AI programs, they are messy and unpredictable.

Human connections involve flaws because you and your partner will inevitably have some. You stay together by working together yet improving as separate people.

FAQs about AI girlfriends

What is an AI girlfriend?

An AI girlfriend is an artificial intelligence program that simulates the experience of having a significant other. Also, there are AI boyfriends that provide a similar experience for the opposite sex.

These apps let you create the man or woman of your dreams who will interact with you according to your preferences.

Is it healthy to have an AI girlfriend?

AI partners can distort our perception of how a real relationship should work.

Contrary to popular belief, they don’t work smoothly after finding the right partner.

Relationships will involve lengthy and frequent conversations regarding each other’s flaws.

Both parties must adjust and change to keep the relationship, not just the girlfriend.

Will AI replace girlfriends?

AI girlfriends are unlikely to become popular because there is still a social stigma against having them.

However, more men might try them in secret as they become more isolated.

Hence, we must help those falling into depression and isolation due to their frustration in finding a partner. Such support can help them maintain healthy human relationships.

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