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(LifeSiteNews) – An artificial intelligence (AI) expert predicts that within 50 years as much as one-fifth of the population will decide to have lifelike digital babies instead of real ones.

By the early 2070s, couples who cannot have or afford babies, or who are concerned about ”overpopulation,” will be able to buy and interact with their own virtual AI “children” for about $25 a month, according to Catriona Campbell, Former UK government adviser and author of AI by Design: A Plan For Living With Artificial Intelligence, South West News Service (SWNS) reported.

Campbell calls such expected imitation “children” — described as an “abomination” by one Twitter user — the “Tamagotchi” generation, named after the popular 1990s-era electronic keychain device “pet” one could virtually care for. However, the AI children Campbell is predicting would be simulated with technology leaps and bounds beyond the Tamagotchi pets in its ability to imitate real life.

Not only would AI simulate in three-dimensional form the facial expressions, emotions, and speech of a child, including their laughs and cooing, couples would have the sensation that they are actually holding and cuddling “children,” through the use of virtual reality haptic gloves. Even the digital children’s physical features and programmed “personalities” would be shaped by those of their “parents,” with the help of AI technology.

Campbell expects that couples will be able to choose whether their AI child develops in real time or is activated only on command, and that they will also be able to choose whether their digital child comes into existence as a newborn, a teenager, or anytime in between.

And, of course, if parents get tired of their “child,” they can cancel them, as if they never existed.

The virtual children would fit seamlessly into the Metaverse, a virtual reality platform linked to the internet and operated by Meta (formerly Facebook), which is believed will become “so commonplace” that it will “become an extension of reality itself.”

The Metaverse, with its artificial reality, has been excoriated by scholar and author John Horvat II as “a metaphysical attack on the Church’s worldview” that “obliterates the nature of a God-created universe.”

Campbell has framed the potential AI “babies” as a long-term kind of “birth control” solution to overpopulation, according to SWNS.

The news outlet shared that according to a 2020 YouGov study into why couples choose not to have children, 10 percent of couples choose not to have a family because of parenting costs, and nearly 10 percent avoid having a family due to overpopulation concerns.

“Based on studies into why couples choose to remain childless, I think it would be reasonable to expect as many as 20 percent of people choosing to have an AR baby over a real one,” Campbell said in a statement, per SWNS.

“Virtual children may seem like a giant leap from where we are now, 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,” Campbell said. “As the metaverse evolves, I can see virtual children becoming an accepted and fully embraced part of society in much of the developed world.”

Paul Joseph Watson commented, “As ever, this is just more anti-natal propaganda, predominantly targeting white western countries, which are already seeing birth rates rapidly decline.”

Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has repeatedly warned that contrary to claims we are in danger of overpopulation, the world’s problem is “completely the opposite,” advising in December, “Please look at the numbers — if people don’t have more children, civilization is going to crumble, mark my words.”