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Former Google executive Mo Gawdat has made a startling prediction: hyper-realistic AI sex robots are coming that could make intimate human relationships obsolete.
Speaking on the Impact Theory podcast, Gawdat— formerly Chief Business Officer at Google X—claimed that virtual reality and augmented reality will soon allow people to have simulated sexual experiences that are indistinguishable from real life.
"Just think of all the illusions we're now unable to decipher, illusions from truth," Gawdat said on the podcast. "Sex happens in the brain, at the end of the day. The physical side of it is not that difficult to simulate."
Developments like Neuralink, which directly link tech to the nervous system, could eliminate the need for human partners. If you can use tech to feel what your partner makes you feel, Gawdat reflected, “Why would you need another being in the first place?”
Gawdat argued that even emotional and mental aspects of relationships can be artificially recreated through signaling in the brain. He also dismissed debates over whether AI bots are truly sentient, saying the question is irrelevant if people believe the illusions are real.
For Gawdat, the idea of having sex with physical sex robots versus engaging in virtual AI-powered sex experiences serve the same purpose and will be adopted in the future.
"If we can convince you that this sex robot is alive or that sex experience in a virtual reality headset or an augmented reality headset is alive, it’s real, then there you go," he said.
However provocative, his views align with other recent developments at the intersection of AI, intimacy and commerce.
Entrepreneur Caryn Marjorie built a GPT-powered AI chatbot of herself, CarynAI, that over 1,000 people have paid to date. Messaging is encrypted to assuage privacy concerns, but ethical worries persist over the manipulation of vulnerable individuals.
Meanwhile, AI communities are actively creating uncensored chatbots for sexual roleplaying—and they are satisfied just by reading things, let alone feeling them. New open-source, uncensored AI models enable anyone to customize personalities, often in ways society may deem questionable.
The debate over the ethical and moral considerations of this evolving landscape is polarized. On one hand, critics argue for a halt in research and development, fearing an impending AI-takeover of knowledge-based industries and human relationships. On the other, proponents see potential in AI's ability to cater to human desires and fantasies.
As for the question of AI sentience, Gawdat argues it's irrelevant if the human brain is convinced of the robot's authenticity.
The accelerating pace of AI development guarantees increasingly frequent collisions with thorny societal questions. Are we ready to switch from "love at first sight" to "love at first prompt"? Our concept of "pillow talk" might soon be headed for a major software update.