The Women With AI Boyfriends Are Speaking Out About The Value of Their Synthetic Relationships

"We're not talking about crazy people or people who are hallucinating or having delusions," AI chatbot company Replika CEO, Eugenia Kuyda, told Reuters last year, discussing the fact that her customers have begun to think that their avatars have come to life.

"They talk to AI and that's the experience they have."

Kudya is speaking about a growing trend:

Human beings seeking to be in relationship with AI avatars. 

Laugh if you will but just know this trend is a VERY REAL thing.

Why?

Because with certain populations experiencing more and more feelings of loneliness, or unable to rear children, or growing old(er) and lacking companionship, or simply wanting to explore their sexuality further within societies where such topics are taboo and so on, intimate relationships with "AI lovers" offer unique experiences and relational opportunities not as possible outside the bounds of synthetic media.

The human brain doesn't distinguish between synthetic or "Real World" relationships

This topic underscores EXACTLY why we have (or develop) cyberpsychological relationship(s) with #AI (and with intimate computational technologies more broadly) ... because just as the human brain does not distinguish between your real environment and an augmented reality/VR experience, it also does not distinguish if a relationship you/we create using mediated/AI technologies (avatars, AI "lovers" and so on) is synthetic or physically-real.

In other words:

If we develop emotions or feel we are "in relationship" with a synthetic person, it's akin to being in relationship with a human being in the flesh; the feelings evoked from within us are generally as familiar/same.

Being "in relationship" with synthetic media — and/or exploring one's identity (sexual or otherwise) — qualify these as cyberpsychological activities because the facilitator of both activities are mediated cybertechnologies.

It's about human emotion(s)

Relationships evoke our emotions, which are constructed and administered by our psychological brains. Explorations of the self also invoke the psychological in terms of self identity and our psyches.

As AI continues its tremendous spread across the most personal aspects and intimate moments of our daily lives, expect the synthetic relationships arena to explode in growth well beyond whatever you thought could or would be possible.

Until next time,



--
Mayra Ruiz-McPherson, PhD(c), MA, MFA
Advancing Humanity In An AI-Enabled & Media-Laden World
Cyber/Media Psychologist (dissertation in progress)







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References

Dave, P. (2022, June 30). It's alive! How belief in AI sentience is becoming a problem. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/technology/its-alive-how-belief-ai-sentience-is-becoming-problem-2022-06-30.

(n.d.). replika.com. https://replika.com.

Tangermann, V. (2022, June 30). Company complains that users keep thinking its AI has come to life. Futurism. https://futurism.com/the-byte/company-complains-users-think-ai-come-to-life.

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