I’m a part of that generation that knows the world pre and post the advent of the home pc. My earliest memories of interacting with technology are of pecking in the code for the Kaleidoscope program into my Tandy TRS-80 (upgraded to 512k RAM) and being in awe for hours as giant pixels of colour rushed towards me.
Sadly, I can’t even begin to claim I’ve kept up with technology all that well. If they let me I’d still use my Startac and I am inordinately proud of the fact that I know what CTRL + Z does.
However, I do love me someSkype, SnapChat, Kik, Line… You know, all those wondrously app’y thingys that allow inappropriately young women from all over the world to show me their boobs. “Thank the gods for technology and daddy issues,” is a phrase I utter daily - that’s all I’m sayin’.
So, when this week’s assignment was handed down from on high, I had to do some research. I commanded The Google to scour the inter-tubes for “Adult Virtual Reality”. Several “not suitable for children” video’s and a few product reviews later, I was simultaneously excited for the possibilities this new technology had to offer my intercontinental ta-ta exchange program and scared out of my analog mind.
Pretty much the moment these devices hit the open market you’ll be able to go and do naughty, naughty things with other people online in a much more immersive manner. Second Life and Red Light Center are prepared for this technology and expect it to be the next big thing in online interpersonal interactions (read: screwing). The only thing really missing will be the physical sensations involved in live gratuitous groping and hot monkey lovin’. However, visually and audibly, the person you are chatting up (or at least their avatar) will seem to be in the same room with you.
I think that’s kinda cool. There’s more than one person I’ve met online that I’d really like to share a simulated bearskin rug with.
There are products in development that will even grant you a taste of that missing element. I’ve seen dolls, busts, and disembodied happy bits that you can interact with in order to complete the illusion. Hell, with a 3D body scan, some decent hardware, and a bit of reality disconnect; you could theoretically have a full on emotional and physical relationship with someone thousands of miles away.
And that scares me.
Like a lot.
Not because of the moral or ethical implications inherent in a technology that could hypothetically erase the need for actual human interaction. Not because boinking aforementioned disembodied happy bits instead of a real person could lead to the eventual extinction of the human race. Not even because this is one step closer to the inevitable rise of our robotic overlords. No. I am concerned with the important issues facing us as a society. Specifically:
How do I know the person I just iDiddled is actually the person I just iDiddled?
If you’ve spent any time at all online, you know that it’s not the most honest of environments. Some people do get their jollies out of pretending to be someone else. “Catfishing” is a thing. The potential this technology offers increases the amount of harm that can be done by these people.
On one hand, virtual reality based cyber-nookie sounds like it could be a grand ole time had by all. On the other, Tiffany, that perky 19 year old redhead you just made do things that are technically illegal in both your countries, could very well be a 70 year old trucker named Biff.
What do you guys think? Am I totally overthinking it? Does it really matter if Tiffany is really Biff? Is this the beginning of the end of the human race? Is that a necessarily bad thing?
All Hail Skynet!
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