The second order effects of competing with AI

I’m finding the writing of Freya India to really hit home with a lot of issues I’ve been mulling over lately.

I previously shared her Algorithms Hijacked My Generation about algorithmic conveyer belts. This piece, We Can’t Compete With AI Girlfriends, is even more startling.

The next generation of boys and young men won’t just have access to online porn but personalised chatbots, AI voice calls, VR headset experiences, deepfake technology, and whatever else is on the way. And my bet is the next generation of girls will battle anxiety and insecurity on a scale we’ve never witnessed before, with endless pressure to measure up physically, sexually, even emotionally with whatever the market churns out for men.

But forget about that! We are jumping into our desires! Igniting our fantasies! That’s what these companies will call it as they intensify every female insecurity, monetise male loneliness, and commodify any last shred of human connection we should be sharing together. They will mine it all for profit, promising a fantasy, a dream, and paradise along the way. Our only hope is that most men will want something human enough to resist. Otherwise? I really don’t think we can compete.

Being anything other than sex positive” gets you dismissed as some sort of fundamentalist prude. There’s a lot of space between the complete hypersexualization that’s become the norm and anti-sex prudishness, yet this seems to get quickly dismissed.

A final point hints at something even more dystopian:

The only faint glimmer of optimism I can find in all this is that I think, at some point, life might become so stripped of reality and humanity that the pendulum will swing. Maybe the more automated, predictable interactions are pushed on us, the more actual conversations with awkward silences and bad eye contact will seem sexy. Maybe the more we are saturated with the same perfect, pornified avatars, the more desirable natural faces and bodies will be. Because perfect people and perfect interactions are boring. We want flaws! Friction! Unpredictability! Jokes that fall flat! I hold onto hope that some day we will get so sick of the artificial that our wildest fantasies will be something human again.

I think she’s right in some sense. The peasants will jack off to their screens. The wealthy will have sex with other humans.