“Virtual children” are being proposed as a viable solution to overpopulation, according to a leading authority on artificial intelligence and a former United Kingdom government advisor.
Computer-generated babies that cost about $25 per month are likely to become a common phenomenon by the early-2070s argues Catriona Campbell, who advised the British government on the first drafting of its Usability & Accessibility standards. She claims up to one-in-five parents will opt for a digital baby.
“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,” explains Campbell.
“I guest-lecture at various European institutions and have spoken at some of the world’s biggest conferences, Microsoft Global Congress and Media Festival to name but two,” she adds in her professional bio, which also reveals her work with companies including Barclays, Skype, and Nokia.
Campbell expects that by 2070 augmented reality (AR) and haptic “touch-sensitive” gloves will make interactions with virtual babies feel “lifelike.”
She makes the predictions in her new book, AI by Design: A Plan For Living With Artificial Intelligence, where she outlines a potential “Netflix-type subscription service for as little as $25 per month” to allow people to raise virtual babies.
“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,” she said in a statement to the South West News Service (SWNS). “As the metaverse evolves, I can see virtual children becoming an accepted and fully embraced part of society in much of the developed world.
“This will lead to the first, fully digital demographic which, although somewhat strange on first appearance, in fact represents what 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.”
Artificial intelligence has also been used to identify political dissidents in China, with many in the west fearing the potential for broad misuse of the program.