Photo by Lukas on Unsplash

I recently watched “Is AI dangerous for men?” by Villain Retro (@VillainRetro) (re titled since to “The dark reality of AI companions”) on YouTube and found it to be a well made, interesting and thought provoking video.

I’ve not yet written much here about AI, partly because of time but also because my knowledge in this area isn’t amazing.

“Well that’s never stopped you before!” I hear you cry!

In truth though, it is something I think about on and off a lot, often in relation to the future of gender relations but also capitalism and society in general.

I’ve made reference here before that I believe progress is, for the most part, probably a myth. So like any human invention or societal change ever made, AI will bring with it benefits and also drawbacks and problems.

AI and it’s close relative “automation in general” (and “oh my god, robots!”) is going to have massive impacts on our society I suspect in the next 20-100 years if current development continues a pace.

Villain Retro’s video though just tackled the social side of AI and in particular gender politics and it’s this area I’d like to focus on in this post.

I will later follow up with other posts on AI’s impact elsewhere, particularly within the findom twitter space and the wider area of sex work in general.

In his video, Villain Retro downloaded and tested AI chat app Paradot and spent four days talking to and interacting with it. He was aiming to really find out, if he could forge a genuine friendship with an AI and if he thought this could fight male loneliness.

You can see the video for yourself here :-

Like other places, loneliness and the lack of meaningful relationships is a problem in the UK. So much so that in 2018 the government setup (and put money into) a “strategy for tackling loneliness” plan.

A big arm of this problem overlaps with relationships and specifically, heterosexual relationships.

Whilst Villain Retro made a really good exploration of his experience in interacting with an AI companion, where his video I think fell short, was cramming the answer to his original question (“Is AI dangerous for men?”) and his conclusions into only the final four minutes of a thirty one minute film.

The conclusion felt really rushed.

Whilst he talked about his own feelings towards the experience (which was very interesting) he didn’t really go into much wider detail on the impacts of AI, other than to say he felt negatively about it.

He felt that AI companions like this would “enslave men in a fantasy world that was not real” but didn’t really explain why or how much.

He speaks directly to “lonely” men at 29:55 and promises there is hope – but that AI is not the way to go.

However, he then gives absolutely no suggestion as to where that hope comes from nor how those men should proceed?

This somewhat just continues the disappointing theme of men being told by various commentators what NOT to do, but not what TO do.

I think I would like to see Villain Retro explore the “why” and “so therefore” a bit more. Chiefly because, I don’t think I fully agree with him and I’d like to hear his side of the argument more.

Here’s where I am on the topic. But, two caveats to kick off with.

First of all, the technology in chat and relationship AI isn’t where it needs to be yet. I’ve previously downloaded and tried out chat AI bots myself, specifically Replika AI and didn’t find it very convincing or enjoyable. I must have spent little more than 15-20 minutes talking to my AI girlfriend there before I just uninstalled the app and never went back.

Second of all, these things I don’t think are really aimed at men like us?

Villain Retro tells us in the video he has a wife. I too have a female partner that I’ve been with over 11 years. Both of us then are used to having company regularly and sharing things, often personal, with someone else. Not just someone else though, female company. Which as a straight man, is a very specific thing.

I’m sure this technology is not aimed at men like us. It’s designed for others? Others who’s experience we “long term relationship” guys might not really fully understand. Or perhaps have forgotten?

Even though I didn’t enjoy my experience either with an AI companion – and I don’t think this service is for me – I still defend the basic concept of AI relationships.


Firstly, the technology is getting better and will continue to do so. The Replika app I tried was pre-ChatGTP 3.5/4. The jump forward since that time has been big. The next versions in future will be better yet and they will continue to learn and grow with every conversation. I’m adamant we’ll get to a stage in the near future where an AI chatter will be virtually indistinguishable to a real life person and all of the “it doesn’t feel real” complaints will go away.

Controversially, I actually believe, not only will it feel real, it potentially might feel better than real eventually?

Secondly though, I dispute the idea that this is necessarily “trapping” men. It could, like anything, become an addiction for some people of course – just like video games, drugs, social media. I accept, that it could be bad for some.

But equally for others, it could be freeing them?

That might sound a bit radical and odd. What do I mean? Freeing them from what?

Well, simply put, it could offer freedom from some of the pressures and tyrannies of the relationship game we are currently in? And also from the loneliness and misery that goes with it.

To really get what I’m saying, you have to first have a good overview and acceptance of where we are in “the west” with gender relations and relationships.

I want to get into where relationships and gender relations are currently more in another post. It’s worth an article in it’s own right really.

However, you need a flavor here of my opinion to get my point, so to put it quickly and bluntly, I don’t think we are in a good place.

Men and women of course, always had severe differences. “Battle of the sexes” has always been a thing. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus?

Yet despite this, we had contracts and social institutions to bind us together.

But those contracts and social institutions are now, pretty much gone?

Along with lots of other complicated changes in society, one half of the sex equation rejected those social institutions and wanted a different way. And I’m not blaming, nor taking a position on whether that was right or wrong here. I’m just stating a fact.

And with that done, there is not really much left to bind us?

Again, skirting the subject of another much more detailed post, to just speak in broad, sweeping terms (and please forgive me for that), generally speaking, women are no longer really interested in what men have to offer currently?

The old game for women, of “find a provider, get married, have kids, do the family thing, die” is over. Women (for the most part, obviously, everyone is an individual!) don’t want this.

But it’s still what the majority of men are looking for though or how they expect things to be.

The reality is, when given an actual free choice, women, for the most part, don’t want us? Or at least, a very large number of us. When they aren’t pushed by expectation, into relationships with men for economic reasons – they choose just not to have them at all?

To his credit, the writer Richard Reeves puts it best in his book, Of Boys and Men when he says :

“Many men are left feeling dislocated. Their fathers and grandfathers had a pretty clear path to follow: work, wife, kids. But now what? What is a bicycle for in a world of fish?”

He goes on to say :

“The transformation of the economic relationship between men and women has been so rapid that our culture has not yet caught up.”

Our culture has not yet caught up. And neither have men.

We have to accept, the relationship game is pretty much up.

“Woah woah woah!” you might say. “You are really making it sound much worse than it really is!”

Well, there are of course lots of other factors at play – women moving on is just one of them. But I’m sorry to tell you, the picture is as bleak as I’m suggesting.

And if you don’t believe me, you don’t have to take my word for it.

Just look at the statistics?

What I’m talking about is one of the main reasons why, in the UK, the number of people aged 16 years and over who are single and have never married has continued to increase, rising by 369,000 from 2017, to a total of 16.7 million people (35.0%) in 2018.

By 2021, when the latest census figures were announced, according to the ONS, nearly four in 10 adults in England and Wales have never been married or been in a civil partnership, up from three in 10 at the start of the century.

The picture is even more bleak in the US, where around 63% of men under the age of 30 identify as single.

We are perhaps at the first time in all of history, where 60% or more or more of men, genuinely, could face a life without ever having a long term partner.

Yes. That’s where we are. Those of us in long term relationships perhaps sometimes don’t realise, but that is the current situation.

What do we do with those men?

As Richard Reeves says, culture needs to catch up. I believe men do too. We need to get on with embracing this new situation and dealing with it’s challenges.

As I referenced in You Can’t Put the Gender Genie Back in the Bottle , we need to quickly stop constantly mourning the past or trying to go back to it?

We need to move forward. I believe, that means, getting heterosexual men to live for themselves? To de-center women in their lives and to be able to live a comfortable existence without ongoing emotional relations with females. Yes, in much the same way that women have been doing with men.
I am suggesting that instead of denying, crying about or just endlessly mourning the gap between the two sexes, we accept it and roll with it.

Please don’t be confused however. I have no doubt at all, this going to be extremely difficult to do. I’m in no doubt at all about the challenge of what I’m suggesting.

For those who cannot de-center and focus on themselves and find other purpose and meaning in life, it will be extremely challenging.

And it’s precisely this difficulty that makes me think, we need all the help we can get?

So why not use all the help we can get when it’s available?

AI and latterly robotics, is a part of that.

And again, think not of what is on offer today, but imagine a future tomorrow?

I think (and hope) AI will get to a stage where, a man will be able to find companionship in it, which he may not be able to get anywhere else.

Is it “dystopian” ? Yes it abso-fucking-lutely is.

Is it what I’d choose for humanity given a free choice? No.

Does it cause problems and risks for reproduction and birth rates and mandate some difficult proposals for that continuing? Yes.

Am I touching upon the edges of MGTOW theories and ideas? Most likely.

But all of that said, it’s where we are? This is the situation we find ourselves in?

And we have to play from the situation we are in? Not the one we want to be in? And not one from 1958 that is no longer available to us?

It’s in accepting this situation and the future that is unfolding, that we can start to think, pragmatically about solutions.

In conclusion then, my summary criticism with Villain Retro’s video is, I think he was comparing an imperfect technology NOW against having a wife.

What he should really do is compare the technology TOMORROW against 70-80 years of no female partner at all.

When viewed in an accurate light like this, AI surely is not a trap? It’s freedom? Also for women, who patently do not want to put up with the advances of lonely and desperate men anymore?

It’s this – “so what” aspect I’d like to have seen Villain Retro explore more in his video. I’d like to know his opinion, on what IS the solution for lonely men in the relationship situation we find ourselves in, if it is NOT AI?

I don’t want to put words in his mouth at all, but I did get the sense that he might think every man can find a girlfriend, if only they put on a clean shirt, get a payrise and get their hair cut?

Sadly, this view seems to prevail, not just with men but also women.

If that is his view, I’m afraid I’d have to consign it to the tradcon bin along with all the other people who think everything can be solved if we can just roll back the clock 60 years and go to the gym a bit more.

We can’t. We won’t. We need to find a way forward.

Finding that way forward is going to need some radical, out of the box thinking and some solutions that may seem uncomfortable.

And AI, I believe, as discomforting as it might be, is very likely to be a key part of that.,or%20always’%20%5B2%5D.