Virtual Polygamy: the Secret Love Affair With Polygons
by MickeyZ on April 2, 2015 - 4:47pm
Warning: may contain content certain readers may find objectionable
All of the recorded human knowledge is accessible with something that fits inside your palms right now. The evolution of technology has always been in the direction of being more mobile and more intimate or personal. So the next level of intimacy from the smartphones is bound to be something that is even more mobile and more immersive, more in your face, literally. Welcome to the age of augmented and virtual reality.
From the announcement of Google Glass in April 2012 to the announcement of Google Cardboard at Google I/O in 2014, Google has been at the forefront of augmented reality and virtual reality technology. Google Glass was launched by inviting people to post to Twitter what they would do if they had a Google Glass using the hashtag: #IfIHadGlass. And the chosen “Explorers” from the campaign were invited to pay $1500 to buy the device. The Google Cardboard is Google’s vision for cheap virtual reality solutions. It is made of mainly of: (you guessed it) cardboard, the idea is to use your phone’s accelerometer and screen to complete the headset. It is reported by the Financial Times that it costs $25, but I have found one that is selling for $6 on eBay, this signifies how low the entry point of VR is becoming, like the cyan/red glasses that look silly nowadays, this isn’t the best version of VR, but they’re getting really good, really fast.
The other big player that we have to mention is Facebook, Mr.Zuckerberg has also became one of the big players in virtual reality after the two-billion-dollar purchase of the company Oculus VR that have never actually produced any commercial products. Zuckerberg said that: “Immersive virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people’s everyday life”.
But what happens when the love industry meets these new technologies? The app “Tits and Glass” developed for Google Glass was banned pretty much right after the release, as it was meant to be a platform to for Glass wearers to create, share and view naughty photos of each other. What about the media coverage of this mix of love and VR? The answer is that the coverage is minimal. There is not a lot of reporting done by any major news outlets, and I suspect that it is because they feel that it’s not the best move if they still want to be taken seriously. I can’t really talk about how ethical the representation seems to be if there is almost none to talk about. However, that may be in itself an indicator of a problem.
A search around the web about the adult side of virtual reality only yields a 30 minutes long documentary from Vice and an article from Wired that introduces 8 items but the article is just a little over 800 words that are not form a website that I’ve never heard of, or may be scared to visit. The article on Wired shows off 8 innovative sex toys, some of which are utilizing teledildonics and can be part of a fully immersive environment simulating sex. If this is going to be the next big platform for social interaction and bring our social networks to a whole new level, what does it mean that one of the biggest players in the game and the media seems to be avoiding a major part of the potential to sell to adults?
I think the problem is not that people don’t report enough on the development of virtual reality porn, or that Google is banning all things NSFW, but the fact that there is filtering at all. It’s not easy to pin point, but the fact that Google’s ban on the sexual material is a possible source of influence on the media coverage of the adult industry’s development in the VR technologies. At the current state, it seems like Reddit is your best bet to find information on the newest naughty tech in the VR industry rather than any of the established news sources, and that’s not exactly a good sign.
One of the possible reasons for this kind of reception by the mass media is that the possibilities with the VR technology is literally endless, this demonstrated by the co-founder of the biggest VR convention-VRLA who says he “cannot wait to get a virtual BJ on the Millennium Falcon”. The worry is that we would ditch the regular dating life and just close our doors and explore all of our fantasies in the virtual world. A virtual polygamy, where real love and human touch is replaced with polygons, and robotic parts that simulate the real thing. And it is probably the thought of people’s somewhat sick and twisted fantasies that keeps reporters away from writing about this kind of stuff in the fear that they could be encouraging this kind of behaviour.
However, does this hinder the development of such technology? There are people who are working on teledildonics that are trying to simulate the actual thing for couples in long distance relationships, so they can share an intimate moment together however far apart. I think if the media doesn’t warn people about the development of this type of technology, we won’t be able to properly educate people on the distinction of the real world and the virtual world as they blend more and more. We all know that we should be careful with letting our children onto the internet, with a VR headset, you cannot actually see what they are watching inside there, so people need to know what’s out there so their 12-year-old son can’t have a field day exploring the detailed models made by companies like VEVIEW(scans naked models in HD and makes them into 3D models).
Virtual reality technology has the potential to bring people even closer than they are today, it will be able to bring two people from opposite sides of the world into the same virtual world, and even the possibility of simulating real interactions. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and as the virtual world blends into our physical world, it is the media’s responsibility to inform us what is out there so we are better prepared or can better utilize the VR technologies to benefit us.
Financial Times on the Google Cardboard: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5d10988a-97e7-11e4-84d4-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3WAVCWr63
Wired on the new sex toys: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-06/27/sex-tech
Vice documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBRSR_LGlOE