A leading expert on artificial intelligence believes that future generations will reject family formation and raise digital entities branded as “Tamagotchi children” instead.
Millennials, and their parents, might remember an egg-shaped digital “pet” bursting onto the market in the late 1990s. This handheld electronic device—known as a “Tamagotchi”—embedded a video game consisting of three buttons. The “pet” needed to be nurtured and fed, otherwise risking malnourishment and premature death.
The Tamagotchi craze, which lasted roughly between 1996 and the early 2000s, delivered an insight into the ability of technology to evoke emotional attachment with objects that people instinctively anthropomorphize.
Fast forward to 2022. Catriona Campbell, a U.K. leading figure in artificial intelligence (AI), argues that raising a digital child in virtual reality will be commonplace by 2070, a demographic transformation coined the “Tamagotchi generation.”
In her newly published book, AI by Design: A Plan For Living With Artificial Intelligence, Campbell reasons as follows:
Virtual children may seem like a giant leap from where we are now, but within 50 years technology will have advanced to such an extent that babies which exist in the metaverse are indistinct from those in the real world…Make no mistake that this development, should it indeed take place, is a technological game-changer which, if managed correctly, could help us solve some of today’s most pressing issues, including overpopulation.
To date, the mainstream media has been relentlessly parroting “overpopulation” while simultaneously justifying mass-scale immigration into the West to compensate for jobs native-born citizens reportedly do not want and, of course, decreasing fertility rates. So, promoting a technology that further discourages child-rearing makes perfect sense.
Digital entities in the metaverse that stimulate touch, sound and sight
But here’s the kicker with Campbell’s proposal: she suggests that “touch-sensitive” gloves might reproduce the feeling of cuddling and playing with one’s child, and consequently evoke an emotional attachment—a multifold sophisticated version of the 1990s tamagotchi “pet.”
Indeed, a YouGov survey conducted in 2020 asked why couples choose not to have children and found that roughly 10 percent have concerns over “overpopulation” while another 10 percent chose to remain childless due to financial reasons.
A digital entity branded as a “child” for a monthly fee
No, it won’t be ‘real’ to anyone who understands that the “child” in question is a computer program. The metaverse will play a carefully designed trick on the mind. There will be nothing but space between one’s hands. Period.
Campbell continues to propose a business plan. “On the basis that consumer demand is there, which I think it will be,” she writes, “AI children will become widely available for a relatively small monthly fee [$25 per month].”
As the former adviser to the U.K. government, Campbell said a technology called “Computer-generated imagery” will be integrated into branding these computer programs as “children.” These programs will have imitations of real-life faces and bodies, and they will be able to recognize and respond to their owners’ facial expressions and voices, i.e., the “parents” who are paying the monthly fee to experience connecting with a digital “child” in the metaverse.
These programs as digital entities will exhibit speech and reactions that mimic human emotions; for example, a newborn’s cry, a toddler’s tantrum, a 10-year-old’s laughter and adolescent banter. In addition, the “parents” will be able to interact with their “children” in a virtual environment of their preference, such as cuddling up at home or playing in the park. Moreover, they can choose to “activate” a “child” of a particular age at their convenience; they can also decide whether their “child” grows up or remains a “newborn” for the entire duration of the monthly service.
According to Campbell, the emergence and acceptance of this service will “lead to the first, fully digital demographic” and added that it could be “one of mankind’s most important technological breakthroughs since the advent of the Bronze Age given its potential impact on global populations and societal change.”
Who is more likely to accept a Tamagotchi generation?
Jim McCraigh, author of Deceived No More – How to Find Absolute Truth in a World of Lies and The American Faith & Freedom Blog, delivered a compelling reminder about the ability to discern right from what feels almost right but is detrimental to the spiritual essence of mankind:
Sadly, too many people have willingly exchanged the truth for a series of lies and false narratives. Far too many people foolishly accept whatever politicians, teachers, Hollywood, or the media tell them. This makes them easily deceived. Because they don’t care if something is true or not, they are willing to believe lies. Scripture tells us that if they persist in this long enough, God will send them strong delusions to ensure they will continue accepting the lies that condemn them.
Purchasing a monthly service to experience the slightest emotion attached to “parenting” without actually parenting strips away a deep layer of sovereignty that is contained within the traditional family unit. It is akin to surrendering individual power—bodily autonomy and dignity—to a large corporation that claims to be working toward managing “overpopulation” challenges, reducing the carbon footprint, and helping to preserve our Earth and human civilization. With that, many might believe they are serving a better cause, almost like a selfless deed toward “saving” the planet.
Indeed, McCraigh correctly identifies that the “end game of these narratives is an eventual one-world government and one-world religion combined” and that these narratives “are being persistently promoted through movies, art, music, books, radio, schools, the press, and even in some churches.”
How close are we to the metaverse?
However, the experts at Bloomberg aren’t as convinced. It is reasoned that Meta will need at least three years to generate 15 to 20 million users. Furthermore, NVIDIA, the world’s biggest chip company, will have to improve existing headsets to enable the kind of virtual reality that resembles the 3D realistic scenes that Zuckerberg envisions.
In the same year, Meta announced that the company is investing $10 billion to develop the metaverse and work toward connecting people via this new digital social experience, no matter where they reside.
Speaking on the “The Tim Ferriss Show” podcast, Zuckerburg elevated the future of the metaverse in terms of creating a “more robust economy” and “self-sustaining ecosystems.”
Unsurprisingly, Zuckerberg appeared to dismiss criticism that Meta is heavily focused on the digital realm, given concerns over user safety and the mental health impact of existing in a virtual world. He said:
If people fully feel like they understand what we are as a company and what we’re doing, then I’m not pushing it hard enough. I kind of want to push us into the zone of let’s kind of constantly be doing something that can be doubted because if we’re not, then what are we doing?
Consumers can effectively choose to reject computer programs presented as on-demand “children” for our one-sided pleasure of some sort. But, without any moral system to guide our decision-making, next time we’ll be learning about experiencing the sensation of sexual intimacy in the metaverse. Forget trying to strike up a conversation with the opposite sex with the eventual aim of settling down and raising a family.
Virtual “baby” already exists as a proof of concept
There is a greater goal as stated on Soul Machines’ website:
BabyX was designed for research and ‘she’ allows Soul Machines to not only explore the models of human behavior but also to create autonomous digital beings…BabyX provides a foundation from which we learn, experiment and continue to develop the world’s first end-to-end solution for dynamically creating, teaching, managing and deploying Digital People.
Digital People. Tamagotchi Children—using nouns and anthropomorphization to describe these AI-based computer programs and enable their acceptance among the masses as near equals.
So here’s what plans to accelerate and become “normal,” be it in the next five or fifty years. As McCraigh said, it is essential to discern what is right from what is almost right—but terribly wrong. So, what aspect of this metaverse technology are we going to permit into our lives, if any at all?
By Cameron Keegan
Cameron Keegan is an independent researcher and writer on American politics, faith, and culture affecting young people through a conservative disposition. Having worked with children, teenagers, and young adults to support their learning and development, Cameron cares deeply about the trajectory of the United States. To learn more about Cameron’s work, visit https://ckeeganan.substack.com, and for comments or questions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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