The tech-savvy children of modernity clearly have problems relating to the opposite sex, a phenomenon traced in part due to their immersion on social media and access to internet porn. As social media becomes increasingly pervasive, and algorithms more sophisticated, more people appear to be exchanging human contact for that of a machine. According to Amazon, half of the conversations with the company’s smart-home device Alexa are of non-utilitarian nature – groans about life, jokes, existential questions. The Institute for Creative Technologies suggests that people are less scared about self-disclosure when they believe they’re interacting with a virtual person, rather than a real one. “By 2022, it’s possible that your personal device will know more about your emotional state than your own family,” suggests Annette Zimmermann, research vice-president at the consulting company Gartner.
Not surprisingly, a survey of American millennials found 65 percent don’t feel comfortable engaging with someone face-to-face, and 80 percent prefer conversing digitally. Similar patterns have been found in Australia where time glued to screens has raised a generation “incapable of small talk, critical thinking and problem-solving.”
In some countries, notably Japan and Germany, there’s a growing interest in using artificial beings to perform various tasks, and even provide sexual services, as an alternative to the grisly trauma of human intimacy. Shops offering sex robots provide, as one promoter suggests, “a safe space for men to practice healthy sexual interactions “without the complexity of a normal human relationship.