A virtual companion that learns your preferences and tailors its interactions to fit you perfectly can be addictive. * "We are going broke, and the young men who will play a huge role in determining our nation’s future are going there with AI girlfriends in their pockets."
We are at the crossroads of technology and human interaction, where a seemingly innocuous invention—a virtual AI girlfriend—is quickly becoming a silent epidemic with significant consequences. This trend, which might appear laughable to some, is anything but a joke. It raises critical questions about emotional well-being, societal dynamics, and economic viability.
THE LONELINESS EPIDEMIC
Liberty Vittert recently outlined the phenomenon of AI girlfriends and the gravity of its impact on young men and the American society at large (source). Over 60% of young men aged 18-30 are single compared to only 30% of women in the same age group. One in five men reports not having a single close friend, a number that has quadrupled in the last 30 years. This detachment from human connection leads to consequences far beyond the emotional sphere—it has vast economic ramifications. Declining birth rates and a shrinking workforce put Medicare and social security at risk.
THE GROWING ECONOMIC CRISIS
Focusing on the numbers, the birth rate has dropped dramatically with 600,000 fewer births in 2023 compared to 15 years ago. This declining population impacts the workforce and by extension, the national economy. The dependency ratio is worsening: In 1940, there were 42 workers per beneficiary of Social Security; today, there are only 2.8. Vittert's dire warnings echo through these facts, portraying a society on the brink of insolvency.
A JEWISH PERSPECTIVE ON AI RELATIONSHIPS
In Chassidic thought, every interaction is an opportunity for spiritual growth and connection. The phenomenon of AI girlfriends contradicts the essence of what it means to be human from a Jewish perspective. The Torah teaches the importance of relationships, the mutual growth they engender, and the subsequent creation of family as fundamental to the betterment of society and the world. The Talmud states, "It is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). By forgoing real relationships for artificial ones, we may be turning away from the essential Jewish values that could bring us closer to a time of ultimate peace and redemption for all—Moshiach.
In summary, while the invention of AI girlfriends may serve as a temporary antidote to loneliness, they pose a more significant danger to society at large. From an economic perspective, the lower birth rates and workforce numbers put societal stability at risk. From a Jewish viewpoint, this trend undermines the spiritual growth and connections we need to bring about redemption for all humanity. Yet, the discussion itself should inspire us to address the root causes of this societal illness and remind us that in the face of despair, there is always hope—especially as we approach the era of Moshiach.