AI Will Wipe Out Most Human Influencers (IG / OF / TikTok / etc)

Title speaks for itself. Here's the case in a nutshell:

  • The internet's big innovation on media is making the power law steeper than ever before. As the # of 'creators' in any media based industry (music, social media, etc) where there's no major cost constraints to supply has exploded, they have increasingly become commoditized. For instance, 30yrs ago the top 1% of artists accounted for 60% of music industry revs...as of 5yrs ago that was 80%. I have no doubt that figure is higher today (85% would not be a crazy estimate)
  • Despite activating close to 100ml 'influencers' today, AI will make this look like an absolute drop in the bucket. There is not constraint except compute and as more compute is developed, the cheaper it becomes due to scale advantages (esp as tools like Snowflake make it easy to pay per second, which makes it viable for a single person to develop these AI's vs. have enterprise scale resources). One could easily imagine 1bl AI influencers in a few years, far eclipsing the number of humans can participate 
  • Pouring gasoline on this 10-100x in supply is personalization and decent levels of sentience (though of course not at parity w/ humans). For example, I can customize an AI influencer to whatever my exact physical preferences in every possible respect might be, and even more so my personality preferences (vs. just taking the still large but inherently limited and imperfect options available today). An OF creator might message a 'fan' once a week (10k other horny, sad men she needs to message as well) and post 1-2 videos a day. An AI creator can simultaneously message all 10k men, 24/7 and completely personalize to them (i.e. remember that one loves to bike while another likes Fortnite or whatever)
  • Why is the above esp. critical? Because of how society has unfortunately changed in the past 20yrs. The % of virgins under 30 is now close to 30%. Men aren't going to college anymore (nearly 2 women graduate today for every 1 male) and college enrollment has been declining now for over a decade. The quality of 'substitutes (i.e. video games, adult content) is 10x better today vs. 20yrs ago. The two elements not yet solved for (I use the term solve loosely) are emotional intimacy and physical intimacy. AI is already doing the former (i.e. the amount of Reddit posts of regular guys who had gfs but now have AI gfs is astounding) -- this will only proliferate as these trends continue
  • A combination of endless customization / personalization and a declining 'real world' for people (but esp. men) will super-charge adoption of AI influencers in all areas (IG / OF / TikTok / etc). We've already seen some 50+ AI influencers (pre 2022) with over 1ml followers on IG...with the latest tech and sheer pace of innovation, this will massively pick up over next few years. Already half of survey respondents can't tell the difference between AI generated and human influencers...this will only increase over time. AI influencers -- by virtue of living fully digitally -- likewise don't have the same need to defend their 'brand' as much as humans (who inhabit both the physical and digital worlds) -- and can be far more liberal on their words / actions 
  • Given the clear advantages of AI influencers over human influencers and explosion in supply, most human influencers -- already fighting for scraps as they become less important in % terms -- will become obsolete. The tippy top of the 0.5% is insulated (i.e. Kim Kardashian) -- esp as they will also leverage AI tech as extensions of themselves -- but the bottom 99.5% will be largely eliminated. 

Just the case that I see playing out with my 'objective' hat on. On the more subjective side, I don't think AI will be a net pos for society -- except for the elimination of most human influencers -- and most especially not Gen Alpha (13yrs or younger today) but it is the world we live in. Would be curious to hear if anyone else has thoughts on how AI will influence the media landscape 

 

Good writeup, +1SB. When I've seen the changes play out with AI even in just this year, I'm reminded very much of Lifelight from the Pendragon series (i.e. essentially the AI becomes so vivid and so personalized that you basically lie down in a pod with an IV drip to get you nutrients and put on an immersive headset that transports you into a world where you can do anything you want -- i.e. you are the main character. If you want to be the best racecar driver and can bang any girl you want, you can)

This endpoint is hard to achieve, but it's not hard to imagine at least some convergence to this over time with the stuff you lay out above. I would not mind insta-thots being eliminated though, as much as the other societal implications will likely suck 

 

On the physical side of things you mention above, it's gonna be AI dolls. We already have some today and they've been getting better every year for the past decade in looking more human, being more customizable, and with a better AI. Now with the current state of AI, it's going to become a far better tech. I think you need to get the price point down to $2-5k to be truly affordable for the middle class and the tech still probably needs another 5-10yrs to really get to 90% parity with humans. I don't think it will ever be normalized among Millennials or older folks, but Gen Z is where the acceptance begins (since they're ok with all sorts of stuff like neurodivergence, trans, QIA, furries, being cats, etc) and absolutely so with Gen Alpha where it will be totally normalized within 30yrs among that group.

Our world will be unrecognizable in a decade. It's already unrecognizable vs. 30yrs ago, but with the pace of technological progress accelerating it will change even more so (way faster than we can adapt as humans)

 

The other trend that supports more AI that you didn't include was dating app culture. It's definitely gotten worse over the past 5yrs, now with infinite swiping I feel like as humans we look at other humans as commodities vs. individuals. Esp. if you're not in the top 20% of guys, it's likely just a path of least resistance to try to fulfill yourself digitally. I personally don't think that path will lead to fulfillment either today or maybe ever, but even in WSJ there's been a ton of articles pointing out the phenomena of young men just 'opting out' of conventional society and using video games & adult content. AI will magnify this phenomena

 

I'd add that AI influencers make more sense for brands as well. They are 100% exclusive for all time, they can be infinitely tailored, they don't go off the rails (i.e. Kanye), and you're not fighting for their time vs. all the other opps. It reduces friction in a big way for CPGs, so there is incentive alignment both among consumers and suppliers 

 

Good analysis, how do we get in early on this? Should I start an AI-centered server to host LLM and IGM and/or hosting AI instances? How do I cash in on this new gold rush? I missed the crypto hypetrain, I’m young, stupid and ready to lose all my money.

 

Why would I choose fake AI influencer girls who can't talk to me, can't interact with me, and can't meet up with me? 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee
 

Couple points:

  • They actually can talk to you and interact with you. That's one of the biggest innovations that a human simply can't replicate (i.e. interact with millions of fans simultaneously and 24/7 with completely personalized conversations). There are AI girls that can have actual phone conversations and facetime conversations with you. It's not the same as in person but leads to the next point. 
  • I didn't say you would. Let's face it, 80% of guys have almost no shot with a 9 or a 10. If you're in the top 20% of guys, then you're going to opt in for a real girl. For the bottom 80% however, as the experience gap closes between real life and AI I suspect people will -- as almost always -- take the path of least resistance 
 
hedgehog9

Couple points:

  • They actually can talk to you and interact with you. That's one of the biggest innovations that a human simply can't replicate (i.e. interact with millions of fans simultaneously and 24/7 with completely personalized conversations). There are AI girls that can have actual phone conversations and facetime conversations with you. It's not the same as in person but leads to the next point. 

If she can't have my babies or fulfill a marriage, I'm not interested. Maybe some people like to jack off to AI, but to me that is just a step up from cartoons. I'm not into talking to cartoons. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee
 

Kevin25

how will you be able to tell? surely they can interact with you. and it's not like real IG models are gonna meet with you either.

I've met with people off of Instagram from Tinder and The League. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee
 
Funniest
HelloWorld8

Don't know about this bro, have you been outside?

He was told to go touch grass, so he made a simulation of him touching grass and affirmed it was real.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee
 

I think this is overly alarmist. Humans will always be able to tell the difference between AI content quality and human content quality. There's something uniquely creative and charming about humans that an AI will never be able to replicate.

 

iercurenc

I think this is overly alarmist. Humans will always be able to tell the difference between AI content quality and human content quality. There's something uniquely creative and charming about humans that an AI will never be able to replicate.

I don't think you have seen the hot IG AI girl photos. They look 100% real. Perfect and real. Videos are harder to fake. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee
 

Agreed. Some of the most realistic stable diffusion stuff is uncanny valley when viewed next to the most edited / cosmetically modified genuine pictures. Really hard to tell the difference with heavy filters and some girls are putting AI or half deepfakes on already. Just look at the passport issues coming back from facial surgery hotspots like Korea, too.


I always thought some kind of transhumanism would eventually bring humans closer to a majority mechanical / digital composition (in 3-500 years) but it seems that’s wrong and digital avatars are becoming more human-like first.

 

This is not really true. Today about half the pop can't tell the difference...imagine what it'll look like in 5yrs. There are already plenty of cases where people can't tell deep-fakes apart 

I think there were a lot of things people said only humans could do that we later found out was not the case. Ex. Music -- today AI developed music is probably at the 80th percentile (if we think of Taylor Swift or Kanye as 99th percentile) -- don't get me wrong, it's absolutely insufficient to reach that level of stardom today. However, in 5yrs time I have no doubt in my mind it will be at least at the 95th percentile if not higher. Artists and song-writers have acknowledged this shift as well -- there is already AI created music that touches the human spirit 

General consensus among media focused VCs I've talked to is that in 8-10yrs, AI generated content will be at the same level of quality as Triple AAA Hollywood content (i.e. Avengers). For older audiences we have hesitations on this, but for Gen Z and younger folks it's quickly becoming the norm of the world they are entering into 

 

Blatantly not true -- just look up surveys in the past 6 months as to humans' ability to tell it apart. That is today's tech. With exponentially progress in this field, it would be not be at all surprising in 5yrs if we end up with a Coke vs. Pepsi blind taste test scenario where 95% of people can't tell it apart. At which point the incentive for the 'real' thing is incredibly low

 

Great write up! It's definitely some wild stuff to watch evolve. This recent article from NYP was interesting: Meet Aitana: Sexy Spanish model makes $11k a month thanks to her racy photos — but she isn’t real and there's a number of others like it.

I will watch with great interest how this plays out over the next 4-5 years, I anticipate it moving faster than almost anyone expects. The dead internet theory may have just been a theory previously but hard to imagine it not becoming the reality soon.

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly" - Robert A. Wilson | "If you don't have any enemies in life you have never stood up for anything" - Winston Churchill | "It's a testament to the sheer belligerence of the profession that people would rather argue about the 'risk-adjusted returns' of using inferior tooth cleaning methods." - kellycriterion
 

What's hilarious is that now instead of the 70 IQ thot who is barely smart enough to breathe but works out and is making $500k a year will now be replaced by a 5 foot 7 computer geek who couldn't get a girl to save his life (maybe some his fault, some not because of ridiculous societal standards) but can now code a girl who's hotter and more personalized 

Rise of remote is also helping this trend -- physical appearances still matter if you've hit the genetic lottery, but incrementally less so in the next decade vs. the past decade due to these trends. Not to say it's going to be easier to date girls if you're an avg guy (it's not because expectations keep getting higher) but as AI girls proliferate there's no doubt a power shift away from real girls that will take place. I'm not going to debate right or wrong, just what I think the objective reality will be

 

What's hilarious is that now instead of the 70 IQ thot who is barely smart enough to breathe but works out and is making $500k a year will now be replaced by a 5 foot 7 computer geek who couldn't get a girl to save his life (maybe some his fault, some not because of ridiculous societal standards) but can now code a girl who's hotter and more personalized 

That's never going to happen.  OnlyFans still exists despite the fact that millions of hours of video of basically every imaginable category of smut is available for free online.  Adding on AI generated smut isn't going to change it, desperate men are always going to pay for sexual attention, it's called the oldest profession for a reason.

Rise of remote is also helping this trend -- physical appearances still matter if you've hit the genetic lottery, but incrementally less so in the next decade vs. the past decade due to these trends. Not to say it's going to be easier to date girls if you're an avg guy (it's not because expectations keep getting higher) but as AI girls proliferate there's no doubt a power shift away from real girls that will take place. I'm not going to debate right or wrong, just what I think the objective reality will be

I don't understand the thesis here.  Why will physical appearances matter less thanks to AI?  If anything, algorithms have made society much more based on physical appearances from the recommender systems that suggest Instagram/Tiktok/OF models to the matching algorithms in apps like Tinder.  Why would AI generated smut reverse the trend?

 

It's pretty funny watching human influencers girls complain about this. Like what? The outcome is the same, you're just pissed off you're not the one benefitting from all those additional followers 

 
Most Helpful

Does anyone else feel like we’re on a runaway train towards UBI

It feels as though AI is going to be the story of our generation and something that will adversely impact us all especially considering that the pace of change in society is rapidly accelerating. 

Ultimately, how I see this playing out is fewer opportunities for entry level grads, a sizable correction in the number of corporate jobs, and the elimination of lower skilled jobs will result in large groups of people being unemployed that will lead to government intervention. Top performers will ultimately be fine regardless of industry, but ambitious members of future generations at the moment seem fucked due to there not being enough opportunities.

I’ve already seen this at certain large asset managers where the junior analyst position no longer exists and they’ve been replaced by software that can spit out a model on request. It’s far from a perfect solution at the moment, but its hard to imagine that these things won’t meaningfully improve over the course of the next 5-10 years and impacting more jobs in an industry that already has notoriously few seats.

In tech, it’s hard to imagine that the average SWE job won’t be eliminated by AI. Most companies aren’t solving complex problems so it doesn’t seem so far fetched that they’d forgo paying exorbitant salaries when they could get replacement level work for much less from AI. 

From a quality of life perspective my guess is the average raises slightly, which is the result of the floor rising and ceiling dropping dramatically. Those that own land I think will have a disproportionate amount of control over society and meaningfully greater mobility than the average person. These dynamics already exist but I imagine will only get worse due to there being fewer opportunities to improve your station in life.

I’m also curious how housing dynamics would play out. There are tons of places like NYC and California where supply will never exceed demand. So in a society with fewer opportunities and many people relying on the government for UBI what’s stopping large masses of people from trying to migrate to these places. 

How would you even go about trying to solve that problem? 

I certainly wouldn’t feel safe living in a nice place on the beach for example with the majority of the people receiving a UBI. They have nothing to lose if they attack me. 

The big winner oddly enough if executed properly will be services and experience businesses. Plumbing, restaurants, tourism, etc. seem like areas with big potential should society continue to move in a dystopian direction. 

Am I crazy? 

 

Honestly it is increasingly seeming like UBI is the direction we're heading into, as insane as that is. The issue is how it will be implemented, while a lot of fields will see cuts as AI does the job, there are things that AI will not be able to do for a long, long time (i.e. being a plumber). Who gets paid for that? You can't tax that plumber at 80%, there's no incentive to continue working. Likewise, not sure if you can just tax sr. engineers 70% and tell them to give that money to would-be jr. developers -- again, no incentive to work and society grinds to a halt. Same with doctors...Likewise, a wealth tax wouldn't be constitutional.

I have no clue how UBI would get implemented. I don't think it will be as simple and utopian as people like to pretend...nothing ever is. Just look at Social Security or health care in this country, the wheels are clearly coming off. Frankly even if it is implemented you will end up with a pretty dead, messed up society. Human beings were meant to work and struggle and grow. Without it you have massive stagnation. Giving people a $60k check with nothing to do and no incentives to do anything will only serve to make them (80-90% of people at least) become slaves to their baser desires (drugs, AI sex dolls, metaverse, etc)...after all, what's the reason / incentive to do anything and grow? Work hard....great you'll be taxed at 80%. Get fit....why, if you can have an AI sex doll. Build meaningful relationships...why not just do that in the metaverse and be the main character. I don't mean to sound overly dystopian but earthly paradise is a myth

I also wonder about the land comment you made...if we aren't able to afford things like we were before, does the govt intercede with massive rent controls? It might have to, which means you won't experience that upside. Or potentially massively building new supply (which likewise forces down the rents you can charge). I'm truly not sure

Also frankly, giving $60k to some guy in the ghetto who now buys a house right next to me would certainly not make me feel safe. Giving people a path up is not bad -- for those who try and are genuinely well meaning -- but for some guy who's been in prison for shivving 3 guys, now giving him the mobility to live anywhere? That's incredibly scary 

Immigration will likewise be screwed. When you have a very clearly limited pie (if we're divvying up corporate revs fairly evenly), you're only going to give to your own citizens. No one will want to give money to non citizens and have immigration to divide up the pie even further. Not saying right or wrong, but that will have massive implications for emerging countries. I suspect this forces more consensus on limiting illegal immigration. Though given our reliance on raw materials from other countries (oil, rare earths, etc), those are massive failure points threatening this way of life we'll have. How are those handled? We live in a so-called Elysium while the rest toil? Those workers will not accept that. 

Does our democracy even survive all of this? I'm not sure, esp as we can't trust what's real and what's not moving forward. MSM is already hard to trust on objective truth, what does AI do to our world? Can anyone trust anything? Is history itself rewritten? 

And frankly, will we be able to control AGI? I 99% don't think we can once it is created. Guardrails will be destroyed, whether by the AGI or aided by bad actors. Humanity is effectively a parasite living of the labor of AGI, I don't believe we will be looked upon in a friendly manner. 

I don't have the answer to any of this. I just don't think the next century of technological progress will be a net pos for society. I'm 100% convinced they will be a net negative, if the first 23yrs of this century have proven anything 

 

UBI:

If in order to pay for UBI they’re going to tax corporations, small business owners, etc. that highly the net result would likely be the government taking over mostly everything. If you’re a small business owner the odds of you surviving a recession or downturn under a structure like that are close to 0 long term. You’d probably also end up with 10-15 mega corporations that produce mostly everything.

Something I think would be more likely than higher taxes is similar to what happened during the pandemic where the government prints money to fund UBI. 

If most of your citizens are receiving UBI and having there basic needs met what incentive do you have to manage inflation?

Land and Housing:

One concept I see that could be introduced would be a social credit score. I don't think it would be as restrictive as China but would probably implement some sort of system similar to segregation for convicted criminals and felons. 

On the government building housing I just don’t think there is enough space in a place like NYC to meet housing demand. I have no idea how they’d decide who gets to live in SoHo and who has to live in Connecticut or the suburbs among law abiding citizens. 

Controlling AGI:

Listened to someone make the case for and against AI the other day. An interesting idea emerged in that they compared it to the development of the atomic bomb. After dropping it in Japan, the threat of mutually assured destruction has in many ways brought more peace globally than would otherwise likely exist since WWII. 

Similarly, if the government were to develop its own generative AI to cause social unrest and sabotage other countries the net result would likely be war if caught. Realistically disinformation campaigns would still occur from Russia, China, etc. and we’d do the same to them but I don’t think it would be as out of control. 

What I think would be more likely is that the government gaslights its own people by controlling the flow of information. In the US it’s easy to make Russia for example the scapegoat for a hack that happens and similarly in Russia they could make the US the scapegoat for things they do to their own people. Nobody in the US knows jack shit about the rest of the world so it wouldn’t be that hard to make a boogie man out of a country. 

As an aside one thing that I’ve heard that passes the smell test but requires me to put on my tin foil hat is regarding China. Their ramping up the production of fentanyl and it being distributed across the world I’ve heard is in part at least a tool to make the western world pay for the opium wars that crippled them economically. Doing something like that in combination with disinformation campaigns created by generative AI would likely be a strong recipe for creating societal unrest elsewhere and break society as we know it. 

 

You guys are all being overly dramatic. At the end of the day, AI is just another technological innovation among the many that mankind has made throughout its existence. It's going to be game changing in some ways, but 99% of humans will still have to work.

If you showed up to ancient Mesopotamia with a combine harvester and a factory, the humans back then would've predicted that work would become obsolete since .1% of the population could've produced enough food for the other 99.9%. But here we are with harvesters, factories, and a million more inventions and we all still have to go to work. It's never going to end guys, human nature and economics don't work like that.

 

I agree with you in that in the long term, the economy will be fine. Technological development destroys some jobs and paves the path for new ones.

But my concern is that in the short term, eg immediately after adoption, there will be this period of uncertainty where new technology displaces labor, and labor struggles to figure out where the new areas of economic value are / lack the skillset to be able to transition their careers. For instance, with AI, I imagine that many entry level jobs in consulting, banking and SWE will be replaced, and there will be some period of time before it becomes obvious what the new jobs are. Using your example, if ancient Mesopotamia suddenly adopted factories and harvesters, most of the farmers would find themselves in this sort of liminal space where their existing skillsets do not meet the demands of the new factory jobs. For a few decades/generations, displaced workers will have to sit on the sidelines and be unable to produce any sort of economic value / earn a living wage for themselves. Inevitably, they would have to rely on some kind of UBI. Eventually, maybe the market will figure itself out. But in the near term, there will certainly be turmoil.

I fear that the current timing of the advent of AI makes it so that our generation is the one that must deal with this period of flux and significant uncertainty. In our lifetimes, many will lose their jobs or find it highly difficult to get a job. Many will grow incredibly wealthy - namely the capital owners who have replaced their laborers with automation. And a heroic few will be at the frontiers of policy, forging economic wealth redistribution schemas that will hold society together at its seams. These guys will grow neither wealthy nor famous; if anything, they will become the enemies of some of the most powerful corporations in the world. Yet the work they do will be more important than anyone else's... they are the true unsung heroes.

We are entering an exciting and disruptive time. Now is when we must choose which side of history we want to be on. 

 

This is absurdly alarmist and dramatic. In a capitalistic system as well run as the U.S. (and if you dont think its well run relative to historical or global peers then please wait until you graduate college to reply) when disruptive technology is presented the result is always, and will always be, growth with a transition to different labor sets in terms of jobs. The creation of AI does nothing to change this

 

Edit - Agreed, the low-effort influencers definitely will disappear. All that will remain are people with genuine expertise. Nobody really cares what a random Emily thinks about a restaurant, new clothing collection, or apartment, but I do care what an acclaimed chef, tailor, or architect has to say. AI is going to take over most of the base level stuff and leave experts to provide nuance and context. E.g. “…our AI models suggest this restaurant based on these assumptions, but previous models used to be overweight sushi because…”.

 

You're not disagreeing with me....we're in alignment. As I said, the top 0.5% of truly differentiated comment (i.e. likes of Anthony Bourdain or a great photographer or whatever) will continue to thrive. Maybe even the top 1% but the reason I didn't say top 1% was because of power law dynamics today where it is the top 1%...once AI comes into the mix, it remains yet to be seen if the bottom half of the top 1% is truly differentiated. Either way, whether 0.5% or 1% the rest are largely commodities. They won't just nost exist but the struggle to gain attention will magnify many, many fold and so for all intents and purposes, might as well not exist 

 

Ah okay thanks I misunderstood. Power law would definitely make sense here. I agree even 1% would be too many people considering how many of gen Z / Alpha have reported wanting to be internet celebrities when they grow up. Think about how competitive it is to become an astronaut or movie star which previous generations dreamt of becoming as kids.

 

I both agree and disagree. It is indeed incredibly cucked paying for an AI OnlyFans, but I'd argue it's even more cucked to pay for a real girl OnlyFans.

Why? Because the AI is not going to message you saying 'I love you babe' and then proceed to get triple-teamed by 3 dudes an hour later and then put that film up on her page. Neither is a good option, but sadly this is the state of our society 

 

That's true. I feel like a truly advanced AI would be similar - stringing you along even though you know it's not real. I'd be shocked if ~98% of people paying for it don't know they're not going to be getting with the model, but I think a small amount will still have dreams of getting with her. But with AI that's impossible and they're just paying a bot farm.

To be fair, the 'human' is similar (https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/interactive/2023/onlyfans-bry…), but it's still incredibly pathetic

 

Politely, I disagree. If 20 years ago people went online to escape from the real world, nowadays people want to go offline to escape from the online world. So my thesis is 180 degrees different than yours. People want to escape from the internet into offline activities, and this desire will increase year by year.

In other words, you're saying that due to loneliness a lot of people escape into AI / OF, etc., I believe that the future opportunity is in building something that makes it as easier as opening OF to do something social or offline that is appealing enough to leave their house. This over time has a positive feedback loop, where they do something offline, they sense that it is better than staying at home, and then they want to repeat it, and over time they distance themselves more and more from OF/Reddit, etc. and you basically got them clutched to your app/product.

 

I’m going to play devils advocate here because I think you have a fresh perspective that I really never considered. But assuming AI and technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, what is even the incentive of going back to an offline world?

Outside is full of potentially risky scenarios, and depending on your social status, outside can also be quite limiting.

Every time you go outside you take the risk that you may be killed or robbed or that you may come in contact with a deadly (or not) disease. There’s plenty of other risks associated with going outside but I think you get my point. Why chance any of that when you can immerse yourself in a virtual world where you are king? Also, depending on your financial situation, you may find yourself in a situation where you can only really see a small portion of what the world has to offer. Why limit yourself when you can see all types of sights in a virtual world, as well as meet people from all over the world that you never could have met?

 

I wouldn't necessarily disagree with what you say because we're talking about possible future scenarios, so your perspective is also valid. What I see, however, is that there is a distinction between technology advancement on its own and how users perceive those advancements. Technology advancement can be anything that advances society, but how those are perceived can vary depending on what ideas predominate in a certain generation. For example, we can build some innovative technology to carry out abortions, but the ideas that predominate at one point in time will determine the importance and usage we would give to this technology.

To add to my first point, I would want to make an analogy to smoking. In the 60s-80s smoking gained popularity and it was something extremely normal. However, nowadays, the attitude towards smoking is completely different as people gained more awareness of its effects on health (there are other alternatives such as vaping, etc. but they're also a consequence of people being aware of how bad is smoking and moving towards less dangerous types of smoking). So current generations are the first ones to live in a life surrounded by internet/social media/"being online 24/7", but they're what the 60s-80s generation was for smoking.

There is already some awareness of the impact of staying too much online to our mental health, but I'm sure that in 1-2 decades this awareness will be more widespread. I can imagine even some studies that will show how a newborn's brain evolved until maturity showing the negative impacts of social media and then regulators putting some harsh regulations or limitations in the same way as they did with food.

 

Thank you for your thoughtful response -- let me push back here because your current thesis used to be my exact thesis as well if you'd ask me 1-2yrs ago. In 2022 we did indeed see a strong desire for 'real life' experiences (lot of stuff that underperformed during Covid -- i.e. amusement parks, hotels, etc -- did very well). In 2023 and beyond we're seeing a return to trendline as digitization peentration in all forms continues to grow. I think among older generations who have experienced a pre internet / early internet world (i.e. at the latest were kids in the early 2000s) certainly do have a strong inclination to push towards physical experiences. For Gen Z / Gen Alpha, this world is completely natural to them (idea of paying for music streaming is absolutely normal for a Gen Z kid vs. Millennials who will still pay but can at least recall the Napster days and so the uptake is a bit slower). 

The fundamental issue is a big leap closer to parity between to digital and physical. Even with streaming, video games, etc we could only go so far. Now you are offering a viable alternative to the emotional side via a personalized AI...that is a fundamentally different paradigm. 

Your idea is intriguing but I suspect much of that can just be replicated with AI / metaverse as those technologies evolve (at least in the developed world)