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Bernard Marr

Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the fields of business and technology, with a passion for using technology for the good of humanity. He is a best-selling author of over 20 books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations. He has a combined following of 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world.

Bernard’s latest books are ‘Future Skills’, ‘The Future Internet’, ‘Business Trends in Practice’ and ‘Generative AI in Practice’.

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Bernard Marr ist ein weltbekannter Futurist, Influencer und Vordenker in den Bereichen Wirtschaft und Technologie mit einer Leidenschaft für den Einsatz von Technologie zum Wohle der Menschheit. Er ist Bestsellerautor von 20 Büchern, schreibt eine regelmäßige Kolumne für Forbes und berät und coacht viele der weltweit bekanntesten Organisationen. Er hat über 2 Millionen Social-Media-Follower, 1 Million Newsletter-Abonnenten und wurde von LinkedIn als einer der Top-5-Business-Influencer der Welt und von Xing als Top Mind 2021 ausgezeichnet.

Bernards neueste Bücher sind ‘Künstliche Intelligenz im Unternehmen: Innovative Anwendungen in 50 Erfolgreichen Unternehmen’

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Sex And Intimacy In The Generative AI Era

22 April 2024

Sex and technology have long been intertwined – millions of us use dating apps to find partners, and some of the earliest commercial online activity revolved around pornography.

So, it’s not surprising that generative AI – technology that enables computers to create realistic, lifelike content in many forms – is already creating new avenues for exploring digital sex and intimacy.

From chatbots and image generators to AI-enabled sex toys and even lifelike, functional robots, new opportunities for exploring intimacy and fantasy are quickly becoming a reality.

Of course, this raises some important ethical questions. How will this explosion of possibilities reshape our perceptions and attitudes of such fundamentally human experiences as sex? What is the role of consent when we involve intelligent machines in our intimate lives? And what might the impact of developing sexual relationships with technology be on our emotional and psychological well-being?

Sex And Intimacy In The Generative AI Era | Bernard Marr

AI-Powered Intimacy And Relationships

Virtual influencers are widely used by brands to promote and sell products, but today, they are also regularly selling sex. OnlyFans rival Fanvue hosts virtual models – who also promote themselves on Instagram – offering adult content and chat to a growing fanbase.

Sika Moon is one such model, with over 300,000 followers. Other sites like Candy.aiDreamGF and VirtualGF let users create their own virtual girlfriends that will then engage in explicit chat with them and even send revealing pictures of themselves. When I spoke to them a while back, the people behind DreamGF (men, unsurprisingly!) said that they are getting ready to take this to the next level with AI-generated video.

As well as virtual influencers that exist entirely in the digital realm, these sites also offer real live models the chance to create AI versions of themselves that will handle the time-consuming work of chatting to fans for them.

While virtual partners can happily exist in the digital world, some are already doing their best to bring them into the physical world. Sex robots have been in development for a long time, and while they haven’t yet made it to market, models like Harmony are getting close. While the development of these robots initially focused on replicating the “look and feel” of human beings, the advent of generative AI means they are now being equipped with personalities of their own.

Interestingly, Dr Kate Devlin, author of Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots, says that her research shows potential buyers are just as interested in the companionship that these robots offer as they are in the sexual possibilities.

For dating app users who are fed up with being ghosted, Flure has come up with a solution. Their AI, Anna, is “always on” and promises to give each user her undivided attention. This allows users to exchange an unlimited number of messages and pictures, all personalized to their own taste.

Generative AI is also making its way into sex toys. Manufacturer Lovense has created the ChatGPT Pleasure Companion, which is capable of narrating erotic tales based on its users’ preferences while in use.

It’s even been reported that a growing number of people are identifying as “digisexuals”. This means that their sexuality is primarily defined by their use of technology- be it online pornography or cybersex.

The Ethics Of AI Sex

All of this clearly shows us that human sexuality is evolving alongside technology – just like every other aspect of our lives is.

But is it all harmless fun? It’s easy to see that some people might become dependent on virtual or AI-based relationships to the detriment of their ability to form bonds with real humans.

This could cause problems if we consider that AI partners have the potential to be very personalized and compelling. Programmed purely to please and perfectly in tune with their users’ specific desires, they could become very addictive, and some people might find themselves feeling that they are falling in love or becoming dependent on their AI partner.

Another issue is that the ease with which AI can fulfill fantasies means that these simulated, virtual experiences could easily distort expectations of real-life sex and intimacy. Once someone is used to an AI partner that always puts them first, how will they feel about having to take a human partner’s needs and feelings into consideration? Just like how early exposure to pornography has been shown to impact expectations of sexual relationships, this could be particularly concerning when we are talking about young people with limited experience of interpersonal relationships.

And where does consent figure into all of this? After all, an AI partner can’t say no – or at least, can be programmed never to say no. Does this have the potential to normalize unhealthy or one-sided power dynamics within relationships?

The questions raised by the issue of consent within human/AI relationships must be carefully considered to ensure they don’t compromise our ability to build genuine, human relationships built around reciprocal feelings, desires and respect.

AI And The Future Of Intimacy

The impact of AI on sexuality and intimacy is likely to have far-reaching implications.

Thinking beyond recreational sex, AI has the potential to enable new forms of therapy and sex education. This could help individuals to learn about themselves and perhaps even heal the damage done by negative experiences in a safe, simulated environment.

However, the hyper-real experiences that could soon be available—particularly when we combine technologies like generative AI, robotics and virtual reality—create a need for ethical guardrails that will ensure this is done responsibly.

One thing that’s certain is that sex sells, meaning that businesses will always be happy to provide products and services that fill this niche.

This means we must learn from past experiences, such as the impact that the explosion in the availability of online pornography has had on society.

Crucially, the ethical concerns we’ve identified here have to be proactively addressed to ensure that we establish clear guidelines and minimize the potential for harm as we move into a new era in human sex and relationships.

Business Trends In Practice | Bernard Marr
Business Trends In Practice | Bernard Marr

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Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the fields of business and technology, with a passion for using technology for the good of humanity.

He is a best-selling author of over 20 books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations.

He has a combined following of 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world.

Bernard’s latest book is ‘Generative AI in Practice’.

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