Rise in Virtual Girlfriends Leads to Loneliness for Men Lacking Relationships
During the pandemic, the number of men connecting with virtual girlfriends began to rise as young men looked for substitutes for real female companionship, according to a story on businessinsider.com.
Apps like replika.com allow men to create their dream girlfriends online through an algorithm that remembers their preferences and aids in online conversation.
“The app hit more than 10 million users in 2022 after seeing a 35% increase during the global pandemic. In the last year, several Replika users have reported being in love, engaged in an exclusive relationship, or even married to their AI partners.”
The story also interviewed Caryn Marjorie, who created an AI version of herself in May to be available as a girlfriend online, and found incredible success from subscribers who wanted to pay for the chatbot relationship.
“Within a week, she had 1,000 paying subscribers and a waitlist of more than 15,000 people.”
Liberty Vittert, a professor of the practice of data science at Olin Business School, wrote an essay published on thehill.com entitled “AI girlfriends are ruining an entire generation of men.” She said that men are being “ruined” because they have “perfect relationships” that lack the conflicts and struggles of real life.
“These AI girlfriends are enabling this silent epidemic of loneliness that we’ve seen amongst young men,” she said, pointing to the higher proportion of single men than women in the U.S.
Conversely, women tend to have many close relationships and aren’t “psychologically prey” to a virtual relationship.
The story cites 2022 data from the Pew Research Center that 34% of women were single compared with 63% of men. Men also report having fewer close friends than women, which worsened during the pandemic.
read more at businessinsider.com