Quite some time ago, probably 15 or 20 years now, Scott Adams posted a Dilbert comic about virtual reality. His take on it was this: once virtual reality becomes cheaper than dating, the human race is doomed. The final panel showed Dogbert telling some woman that Dilbert had been in the holodeck since March.
At the time, the Internet was still a nascent thing. It was slow, unreliable, and filled with Star Wars scripts, Geocities websites, and ASCII porn. Fun fact: I had a Geocities page.
Flash forward to 2014 and you’ll find the Internet is a very different experience. Speeds are many orders of magnitude faster than they were in the mid to late 90s. When I moved to Albuquerque in ’98, my computer had a 33.6 kb/s modem. It wasn’t the fastest thing on the planet but it was better than my old 14.4 kb/s modem. At that time the fastest modem on the market was 56 kb/s. Unless you were at work (where you’d usually get a T1 with a whopping 1.544 mb/s link), that was the Internet at the time. Ungodly slow and it tied up your phone line at the same time. Now 50mb/s down and 5mb/s up is pretty common. If you live in a good place, you might be able to get Google fiber.
So, speeds are way up, processing power is way up and interfaces are changing. Last year I picked up a Leap Motion controller which I can use to control my computer by waving my hands around. Oculus Rift is coming and a whole host of VR immersion devices are coming along with it.. Apparently some of the new VR tech is amazeballs.
Predictably, all this VR tech will eventually be used for porn. The Daily Beast just did an article on it and, I have to admit, it sounds super cool, but they’re missing the long term – and long distance – view. So far, people are looking at VR porn as a single user thing, but there’s so much more you can do with it. Living in a long-distance relationship and want a little nookie? In the past you were SOL. Now you can sext each other and even use some remote control gadgets. In the future, you’ll be able to put on your goggles, connect to each other over the Internet, and have some sexy time without any need for a bus trip.
Of course, there’s a downside to this.
Some people will call me cynical, and I won’t debate that. The technology to have sex with your SO long distance will happen, it’s just a matter of time. The problem is I guarantee you there’s someone out there who will turn the technology into something terrifying. Think celebrity phone hacking was bad, wait until someone hacks their remote sex session.
Imagine you’re busy getting down with your bestie and their avatar turns into a cactus with an afro holding a sign saying “Pool’s closed due to AIDS” and you’ve got an idea of what will happen.
Now, I’m not saying we should avoid tech like this. It would be awesome. I just hope the AV companies are up to the coming task.