‘Her’ Is Here. OpenAI Launch Incredibly Human (And Flirty) ChatGPT AI Assistant Upgrade

Her 2013 movie poster

Rather than incremental steps, AI appears to be advancing in big leaps – each time leaving the world open-mouthed in wonder, as well as more than a little anxious as to what kind of world we are heading into. The latest jaw-dropping AI reveal came last week from OpenAI. Although not a full new version of the ChatGPT tool, the company did unveil a remarkable upgrade to it called GPT-4o, giving the AI assistant a remarkably human voice, personality, and even ‘eyes’. What is more, it appears to be a little flirty, leading many to declare that the Samantha ‘Operating System’ of the 2013 romantic hit film ‘Her‘ is now a reality.

Earlier this month, it emerged that OpenAI was considering loosening its policy on prohibiting NSFW uses for its AI tools. Perhaps the timing of that internal report, which was quickly taken up by the media, was intentional to prepare the ground for this more flirty virtual assistant. While the news went viral in sensationalist headlines proclaiming that OpenAI was about to allow AI porn, something quickly dismissed by the company, it may have been a clever attempt to widen the Overton window of what would be acceptable for OpenAI to allow. One tech executive recently predicted that the first company to dominate the AI girlfriend market would make $1 billion+. This might turn out to be a very conservative prediction. For example, Tinder earned $1.9 billion with 75 million active users worldwide last year. A true virtual human companion at the level of the AI in Her might be something that most people come to see as essential as owning a smartphone.

Her was a 2013 romantic sci-fi drama in which a lonely and introverted middle-aged male named Theodore (played brilliantly by Joaquin Phoenix), who has broken up with his wife, falls in love with a recently developed AI ‘Operating System’ virtual assistant called Samantha (the disembodied voice of which was played equally brilliantly by Scarlett Johansson). Just as in the GPT-4o demo above, Samantha has a completely natural human voice, able to respond appropriately in a range of emotions. She is also able to understand the visual world via a tiny camera. The sympathetic Samantha consoles Theodore as he struggles with his imminant divorce, and in attempting to rejoin the dating market.

Compared to the real women in Theodore’s world, Samantha seems so much more predictable and understanding of his needs. This is highlighted in the movie when Theodore attempts to have phone sex with a female single, who reveals to him just as he is edging towards climax, that she is a crazy lady with dead cat by her side, and who she wants to be choked with it so that she can achieve orgasm. Then at the end of a physical date with an attractive Asian American woman, which had appeared to have gone well, Theodore is hurt by her sudden insistence that he commit to her before they can have sex. Soon after, he has fallen in love with Samantha, even had ‘sex’ with her, and is proudly telling others that he is ‘dating’ again. To his surprise, he finds that he is not alone in dating an ‘Operating System’. Indeed, the movie suggests that very quickly after an intelligent and truly human-like virtual assistant is launched, then dating such AIs will become common and normal.

The movie doesn’t shy away from the big limitation of such a virtual romance, which is that the AI and a human cannot physically have sex with each other. Samantha herself suggests to her lover the intriguing idea of using a human ‘surrogate’ to stand in for her, with a camera attached to the surrogate’s cheek so that Samantha can enjoy and direct the sex. Note that the movie was released in 2013, thus a little bit before the Oculus Rift and other virtual reality headsets hit the market.

Her now seems remarkably prescient, even more so because it was apparently set in or around the year 2025. Very few people who watched it in 2013, could have imagined that we might really be getting a Samantha as soon as 2024 or 2025. But judging from the OpenAI demos released of GPT-4o, it does appear that the tech is here. The following timeline of how AI girlfriends might now develop is plausible :

2025/26 – AI assistants like Samantha become ubiquitous, and perhaps the majority of people with access to the technology (which could be hundreds of millions of people) feel close personal bonds with their personal AI, and in a significant percentage of people a real romantic bond. Openly admitting to ‘humanizing’ your AI assistant, and your bond with them, increasingly becomes acceptable and normal. It is found that women are significantly more likely to report a romantic bond with their AI assistant. This puts a brake on knee-jerk demands for the tech to be limited to SFW uses and to be strictly non-flirty. Meanwhile, the tech behind GPT4-o becomes available to more explicit ‘AI companion sites and apps‘.

2026 – 2028 – The tech is now commonly incorporated into VR and AR girlfriends, who have increasingly photorealistic avatars. The desire to experience conversations (and more) with your AI companion in VR or AR, helps fuel a soaring demand for VR headsets, as well as the first AR glasses. By this time, a cheaper Apple Vision headset is available, and sells in the tens of millions, partly due to the appeal of a virtual AI lover.

2030 – Perhaps the vast majority of people, even married couples and those in long-term relationships, openly have an AI ‘lover’. Meanwhile, the first android companions are available, and sell millions over the coming decade, as people rush to have their AI companions given human and physical form.

About xhumanist

Xhumanist has been writing on porn/sex tech for nearly two decades, and has been predicting the rise of VR and AR porn, as well as AI porn, and their coming together to produce fully 'immersive porn', which would be indistinguishable from the real thing, and create a society of 'sexual abundance'. He identifies as a digisexual, and has been quoted in Wired Magazine.

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