The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday
Meet Hikari Azuma, the hologram wife soon heading our way
Peering at Japanese sexual culture has long been a pastime for observers of the dystopian. From the “maid” bars where waitresses dress as sexy servants to the “herbivore” men who prefer to avoid sex and relationships with women entirely, there is much to gawp at. The country’s birth rate has hit a new record low.
Now Japanese men, long customers of fake women, from dolls to robots, have found yet another reason to forgo real-life ladies: the hologram wife. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before the world’s first holographic partner, invented four years ago in Tokyo, would merge in blissful if cold-blooded union with ChatGPT version 4, the most advanced AI language system the world has ever seen. Hikari Azuma, as “she” is known, is an anime-style chatbot that simpers and cavorts like a fairy, hardly distinguishable from a little girl, with a high-pitched voice to match and a floppy bow. Thousands of men have now “married” her.
It’s easy to laugh, though most women probably feel a bit queasy, even reading about this new type of wife 6,000 miles away. But such developments should give us real pause for thought. It may not be long until holographic spouses catch on in the West. After all, flesh and blood family relationships require effort, soul, values, and at least some acceptance of reality. We’re already seeing more and more virulent online communities for men who, in abandoning proper values, have also given up on relationships with real women. One result has been enormous success for the likes of macho huckster and self-professed king of the internet, Andrew Tate.
So it’s not just an “over there” story any more. The way things are going, British ladies might well find themselves in a far more sinister type of competition – with women who don’t exist – than ever before.