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This article was published on May 31, 2022

‘Tamagotchi children’ are the future of parenting we deserve

Get in loser, we're disrupting childhood

‘Tamagotchi children’ are the future of parenting we deserve

Humanity is edging ever-closer to extinction, but don’t worry — the tech lords have deigned to save us.

Elon Musk, for instance, wants to take us to a Martian colony. Sure, many will perish on the journey, but the survivors can enjoy a nightmarish existence, which they’ll fund through indentured labor on the hellscape.

Peter Thiel, meanwhile, will extend children’s lives by giving them blood transfusions. Wait, that’s not quite right — he actually plans to inject himself with children’s blood. The kids will all turn anemic, but at least he’ll live forever. (For the record, Thiel denies being a vampire.)

Jeff Bezos, on the other hand, is focusing on repairing the environment. The space botherer has created the modestly-named Bezos Earth Fund, which could reverse a fraction of the damage done by Amazon.

All these big-brain ideas are clearly brilliant, but a new pitch for our survival could surpass them all: Tamagotchi children.

For anyone lucky enough to not remember the cursed creatures, Tamagotchis were electronic pets encased in LCD displays that owners tried to keep alive. They were a big deal in the 90s, like the Macarena and white dog poop

In a potential harbinger of what’s to come, they typically die quickly. The average lifespan of a well-cared-for Tamagochi is a mere 12 days.

They’ve nonetheless inspired a vision of the future for our species: raising virtual children.

Catriona Campbell, a behavioral psychologist and UX expert, describes these digital kids as the”Tamagotchi generation.”

“We’re already well on our way to creating the Tamagotchi generation which, for all intents and purposes, will be ‘real’ to their parents,” Campbell said in extracts of her new book shared by the Telegraph.

“On the basis that consumer demand is there, which I think it will be, AI children will become widely available for a relatively small monthly fee.”

They’ll be indistinct from those in the real world

The low cost of virtual kids isn’t their only selling point. Campbell believes they could also solve the overstated problem of overpopulation.

She envisions digital babies with photo-realistic bodies, simulated emotional responses, and AI-powered interactive capabilities. Naturally, they’ll live in “the metaverse.”

“Virtual children may seem like a giant leap from where we are now,” she wrote, “but within 50 years, technology will have advanced to such an extent that babies which exist in the metaverse are indistinct from those in the real world.”

“As the metaverse evolves, I can see virtual children becoming an accepted and fully embraced part of society in much of the developed world.”

I, for one, feel we should embrace our future virtual kids — and our virtual grandkids after them. If they disappoint us, we can always hit the reset button.

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