Virtual babies and metaverse: “The Brave New World” better watch out

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Virtual Babies and Metaverse:

Pixabay Will we soon have a virtual baby Netflix?

Catriona Campbell, a specialist in artificial intelligence, predicts that in fifty years, parents will be won over by virtual babies. Much like perfected tamagotchis, we could breed these metaverse babies for $25 a month. For Catriona Campbell, a former British government adviser, this scenario worthy of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World could even be a solution to overpopulation, overconsumption and environmental pollution. strong>

A baby on subscription

As The Guardian reminds us, it happens more and more frequently that couples choose not to have children. According to a 2020 YouGov study, one of the main reasons for this phenomenon would be the financial cost. With a baby online, there is no need to buy all the equipment that parents usually need: no food, diapers, clothes… Moreover, even the prices of a baby subscription should be accessible. A bit like on Netflix.

So much so that Catriona Campbell is convinced that in 2070, up to one in five parents could decide to opt for a virtual baby. Using “touch sensitive” haptic glovesand virtual reality glasses, it will be possible to live a potentially “realistic” parenting experience, with many interactions with the baby. According to the specialist, the virtual children will even be able to look like their “parents”, will be able to play with them and react to hugs. They will be able to simulate emotional responses as well as stammering, which will develop with age.

And as long as it is practical, it will be possible to decide how fast they grow, or even to stop their growth to keep them at the right age. Once the user no longer wants their child, all they have to do is cancel the subscription. What more could you ask for?

That's not true…

If the risks of this new “parenthood” have not yet been studied, several wise specialists have already denounced the consequences that life in the metaverse could have. Gabriel Thorens, Associate Associate Physician at the Addictology Department of the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), explains that too regular a presence in such a parallel universe would lead to a reinforcement of social phobias and isolation, but also confusion between the image of oneself and that of one's avatar.

While today's social networks already present a distorted image of motherhood (the real one), causing psychological problems for mothers (and their children), we bet that the generalization of virtual babies could pose a serious risk of dehumanization…