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    Can Virtual Girlfriends Ruin a Generation of Men? Yes, according to professor Liberty Vittert

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    The surge of AI companionship, most notably in the form of virtual AI girlfriends, sheds light on the growing sentiments of loneliness among today's generation of young men, while also offering a potential respite. And this phenomenon is more significant in America than one might imagine.

    At first glance, the idea of a virtual AI companion can seem puzzling. How has this digital trend become so influential? The secret lies in the sophistication of these AI systems. With millions of users worldwide, AI-driven apps now offer companions that interact, understand preferences, indulge in conversations, and even emulate emotions to create an almost “flawless” bond.

    Such is their appeal that when an influencer introduced an AI version of herself named Caryn, she amassed over 1,000 active users in mere days, with a staggering 15,000 individuals on the waiting list.

    These AI companions promise consistent companionship. Users can engage with an AI friend who's always there, ready to listen and empathize, anytime and anywhere. The customizability of these companions is also noteworthy. From their appearance to their personalities, users have the freedom to design a companion that mirrors their ideal. And these aren't just run-of-the-mill programmed interactions. These AI systems adapt, learn, and evolve based on user feedback, ensuring a tailored experience.

    However, it's essential to look at the broader picture. More than 60% of young men (ages 18-30) are single today, with one in five admitting to the absence of close friendships. Over the years, especially during the pandemic, social interactions have dwindled considerably, further intensifying feelings of isolation.

    That's great, isn't it?

    These figures highlight a crucial issue: the increasing preference for AI companions over real-life relationships. This shift has tangible implications, with fewer young men seeking genuine human connections, leading to fewer marriages and, consequently, a declining birth rate. Current statistics reveal a sharp drop in the U.S. birth rate, with 600,000 fewer births in 2023 compared to 15 years prior.

    From an economic standpoint, these trends pose challenges. As the elderly population grows, with Medicare users expected to rise by 50% by 2030, there's a pressing need for a younger workforce to balance the scales. However, current projections show only a modest increase in new workforce entrants.

    Moreover, the ratio of workers to beneficiaries in programs like Social Security has witnessed a drastic fall over the decades, emphasizing the economic implications of this demographic shift.

    As AI companions become an integral part of some young men's lives, it's crucial to understand their allure while also addressing the underlying causes of this reliance. While AI companions offer solace in solitude, the importance of human connection and its implications for future generations remains undeniable.

    Liberty Vittert is a distinguished professor of data science at Washington University in St. Louis and a resident on-air statistician for NewsNation.

    Ellah Spring
    Ellah Spring is a nympho dedicated to artificial intelligence and adult content in all forms. She likes to share insights, personal opinions, keep up with trends and be thought-provoking in unimaginable ways. Ellah dreams about a world where tech and intimacy converges seamlessly. How sad.

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