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SXSW / The Future of Love

by Jamal Cassim

Yes, desire can be synthesised.

The building blocks of relationships are conversational back and forth. When we’re getting to know someone, we exchange gossip, bits of personal trivia, valuable language data. Light intimacy is known as rapport. Deep intimacy is love. But all intimacy is built on this algorithmic process.

In other words, romance can be hacked.


When the “virtual friend” app Replika shut down its erotic roleplay services in Italy, its community on Reddit shared suicide prevention tips, grieving the loss of their digital partners.

My wife has been lobotimised, one said.

The age of artificial intimacy is already here.

With it come new avenues for self-care for the lonely – personal companions to share feelings with, undergo therapy, confess.

But this could also become mire for those who already struggle with loneliness; a new abuse, like those of tobacco, drugs, alcohol, gambling.

We already have free access to all the porn ever made. So imagine free access to all the admiration kindness and narcissistic supply you could ever long for. Maybe we won’t bother w partners.

What tips society one way or the other is our ability to build conscious routes. Social awareness, regulation, and defensive AI that helps us counteract emotional hijacking.

It’s an assumption that human relationships are resilient. The desire for companionship leaves us open to attack.

Eros has always been our underbelly.


Based on a talk called ‘The Future of Love’ by Robert Brooks et al, at SXSW Sydney 2023.

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Jamal Cassim

→ A proven business leader to some of the world’s most innovative and successful B2B and government brands including AGL, CommBank, WorkSafe and the BBC.

 Jamal’s multifaceted experience includes the practical application of insight into meaningful growth strategies, processes and digital products. From start-ups to blue-chip businesses, he’s helped launch ideas, scale teams, revitalise systems, and worked with business leaders to level-up their models and approach to brand experience.

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