Did you ever have an imaginary friend when you were young? Many people do, but this next question is directed to men; when you got older did you ever wish to step it up to an imaginary harem? The mysterious Cloud Girlfriend product is making big promises that feel like large-scale social engineering of the media. It is supposedly set to launch on April 26th and, "unlike your last date," it will be a free service - with no extra charge for a harem of perfect virtual girlfriends either.
*Disclaimer: Sarcasm and questions are only the ponderings of my, a female's, mind.*
David Fuhriman, CEO of Cloud Girlfriend, has said he could provide virtual dream girls. The site states: "Step 1: Define your perfect girlfriend. Step 2: We bring her into existence. Step 3: Connect and interact with her publicly on your favorite social network. Step 4: Enjoy a public long distance relationship with your perfect girl." Furthermore the site claims a person should register early due to the "high demand."
Fuhriman previously said the perfect "she" will be run by "a real person" as opposed to bots. So let's start with Facebook; Fuhriman claims to have discussed Cloud Girlfriend with Facebook and is "complying with their terms of service." Is he talking about the same Facebook that hesitates to allow activists to setup fake or anonymous profiles in order protect them from governments who will happily hunt down and kill dissidents?
Since you can't hear me snort my doubts about the legitimacy of this project, here are some more of my unanswered questions and thoughts. This cloud of perfect girlfriends would be virtual, so would no one be concerned it might be someone who knows you in real life? "She" could be based anywhere, maybe next door, maybe a relative? Maybe even a male relative?
Cloud Girlfriend seems to be an interestingly strange concept, but why miss out on a startup for perfect cloud boyfriends? Yet Business Insider reported that Fuhriman has mentioned no plans to make money with his Social Network Girlfriend startup. So these "real" people, no promise it will be women, are going to pretend to be the perfect girlfriend out of the goodness of their hearts, perhaps working for free? Flip that around to the perfect social engineer and perhaps a person would be compensated for determining social security numbers or sending links that if clicked will drive-by-download malicious software to log keystrokes?
Fuhriman told CNET that CloudGirlfriend.com is a placebo effect, "a means to fulfill the top tiers in Maslow's hierarchy of needs" by building "confidence and esteem." This "social proof" will theoretically help a guy find a real woman who will think, "Wow maybe I should date him too?" Seriously, is that the type of real woman a man wants? One who goes after a guy who is supposedly taken and off limits? Would it not seem plausible she might later toss him aside and go after another man who is thought of highly by women?
Technology Review reported that Cloud Girlfriend will fulfill your wildest fantasies. Fuhriman also claims to be working on the "augmented reality" of digitally tweaking photos to make it appear like the couple was actually together in real life.
That's a lot of promises about Cloud Girlfriend and these perfect virtual girlfriends. If this service is to be played like an online game over social networks then I might be able to believe that. If it's meant to be taken seriously, seeing the pictures and profiles of this ideal yet fictional girlfriend while interacting with "her," might leave some guys stuck with unrealistic expectations and with their heads stuck in the clouds.
Speaking as a geeky security-minded female, we may be a wonderful species, but we can't be that "perfect" girlfriend. Take the harem of girlfriends for an example. If this service is supposed to be along the lines of practice makes perfect, practice a relationship, then go out and find a real girlfriend and real relationship - wake up, dudes. Not many real girlfriends are going to be "fine" with a harem. If you think a woman will say "that's okay" or "go ahead" then I'd like to direct you to the 9 deadly words used by a woman.
I could be wrong about Cloud Girlfriend. It certainly won't be the first time, nor, I'm sure, will it be the last. I had thought Cloud Girlfriend was most likely an April Fool's joke, but if it is, it's still running. It will be interesting to see if this moves forward with an actual "product" or ends up being like Duke Nukem Forever - vaporware.
This story, "Free Harem of Perfect Virtual Girlfriends?" was originally published by Computerworld.