Considering a time when digital tech overthrows human connection.
Let’s say that you break up with someone that you found physically attractive, emotionally open, and in your mind, worthy of being your partner for life. But, now you’re separated, likely forever.
If you had, say, a high-end gaming computer, that wouldn’t necessarily need to be the case. The ability to have a virtual, online-to-real-time relationship, with an avatar of your ex, could—if you so desired—be better than the real thing.
If what we can extrapolate from VICE’s latest reporting about 3D graphics hobbyists making and selling avatars of real people in order to fulfill their sexual fantasies holds true, then the coupling of the digital and human divide is closer to occurring, and ultimately more carnal than we ever expected.
The article notes there’s little anyone can do to stop these creators. If this is true, then can we navigate a future wherein digital technology can supersede the power of human interaction?
Here’s a sobering thought about the future. Imagine that, by 2020, it will be entirely possible to use technology to invalidate what we’ve traditionally known about love and partnership as defining methods of sensual interpersonal interaction.
…you might be able to make a 3D avatar of someone who is walking around in real life. Import them into another program, and you can have sex with them in virtual reality, without that person ever giving consent.” – VICE article
Meshed VR’s Virt-A-Mate (VaM) software already exists for creating adult VR games and simulations, plus is growing in underground communities as a way to create partners for the fulfillment of sexual fantasies or replicating sexual encounters with ex-girlfriends.
“From now on, we need to make sure we ask girlfriends to pose a few different angles with a blank expression and flat lighting for a few photos and then import them into VaM,” they said. “Oh, and I find it amusing to alter reality and give them boob implants, etc. ;),” noted an unnamed Reddit poster in regards to the benefits of this innovation.
Even deeper, another Reddit user notes, “VaM is really no different than any other adult-oriented game… and is one of the less controversial adult projects, a sandbox that allows users to create their own fantasies.” Continuing, he says, “Dark aspects have to be expected from porn communities but those can be kept under control.”
“Dark” aspects include concepts like revenge porn, which, given the already existent world of deepfake technology, is troublesome. However, people having non-consensual sex with an avatar of a very real person is already quite prevalent.
Given that there are no consistent national, state, or local codes on the books protecting people’s non-copyrighted images from being subject to online defilement, it likely will continue unabated. And yes, as noted, there’s nothing we can do about it.
They’re visualizing memories burned into their neurons, adding audio/visual (and now possibly haptic) reality to whatever scraps of time are left in their brain.” – Kyle Machulis, who creates open-source software for controlling sex toys, like connecting VaM to a Fleshlight Launch, an automated masturbation device. – VICE article
There’s something ultimately so sad about all of this that speaks to a larger conversation about the modern human condition.
Before the onslaught of digital-first engagement in global society, the intersection of humanity and partnership was far more complex. We hyper-engaged with each other in a nuanced, multi-dimensional and real-time manner.
The goal of these vibrant interactions rich with searching for commonalities, developing appreciable joy, and/or potentially stimulating sensual intrigue, was fostering a space for potential partnership.
Now, imagine a life wherein you either failed at real-time partnering or just grew so bored with making the attempt that you opted for something different. This is where we are. What lies beyond demands immediate conversation.
Deciding to take the shreds of joy you remember from what was either dreamed of as an ideal real-time interaction or briefly occurred in a charming interpersonal moment, then consolidating that into a 3D avatar is quite the choice.
There’s a very real decision made in that process, one built on living within, but without humankind, and wholly embracing the digital realm as your preferred version of reality. If more people choose to engage with this surreal, 3D/VR space than actually engage IRL, the potential does exist for traditional notions of love and partnership to cease to be necessary.
The commingling of bittersweet memories and fondly remembered physical sensations, plus the endorphin blast of sexual release is certainly physically overwhelming. However, what may be more mind-blowing is what happens when able to take those sensations, store them in cyberspace, and have them precisely available, in the most personally ideal manner possible.
The desire to engage with that, rather than a non-controlled, real-time environment where joy, happiness, and yes, an orgasm is not guaranteed, makes sense.
We’ve reached a point where open-source technology and rampant innovation are moving faster than jurisprudence and reality. Unfortunately, because days are limited by 24-hour periods, and the digital universe is both timeless and endless, this will always be the case. Literally, as a watchful eye closes, a creative eye opens.
These creators, their eyes it seems, more often than not, are staring at the world as a place where human interaction is a fruitless gambit. Thus, it’s much easier to spend time creating alluring avatars than interacting with people. Though sad, we cannot stop this from occurring.
Learning to accept that there are those who will choose to live within, but without humanity is where we’re headed. Until laws prove otherwise, valiantly hoping the best for norms of social decency to be upheld in their intentions is the best we can do.
Image sources: MeshedVR