Did you know that the word "technology" comes from the Greek root "technos," which means "a neverending font of new ways to masturbate" and the sub-root "logis," which means "the kids are fucked"? It's true! And the good folks at Microsoft have led us to yet another new way to stunt and corrupt future generations: an "augmented reality" girlfriend who lives in your Kinect and doesn't mind if you punch her in the face. Progress!
Via Katy Waldman at Slate:
Technophile shut-ins, rejoice. The era of shimmery, for-your-eyes-only virtual girlfriends has arrived, says this video, uploaded to You Tube by user Alsionesvx. The film showcases an augmented reality system that allows users to project the pixilated Japanese pop star Hatsune Miku into their day-to-day lives. Using video goggles and an Xtion Pro motion sensor, Alsionesvx can take Hatsune, a wide-eyed, pigtail-wearing wraith who, significantly, has no mouth (and somewhat less significantly, has no nose), to the park. It's sort of romantic. Then he, um, plunks her in his kitchen and paws at her tie: less romantic.
Now, obviously, my initial reaction is "oh ugh." Not because I'm squicked out by people doing sexual stuff with computers (I was on to you hooligans a loooong time ago!), but because this magic anime goggle-fairy bears zero resemblance to any actual woman or real-life relationship. It's a declawed, submissive dream of womanhood, where your girlfriend is your captive—not just in the relationship or in your house, but in your mind (!!!). And that's the kind of woman-as-property relationship paradigm that I'm conditioned to push back against at all cost. Because the ideal woman isn't an invisible, silent punching bag with no mouth who lives in your computer goggles, she's an annoying, messy, loud, quiet, farty, contrarian bag of problems. A human being! Just like a man! Think of that.
So, sure. People who get emotionally entrenched in technology like this might develop some fucked up ideas about real-world women. And people like this do encounter real-life women, and they troll the internet, and they vote. That's unsettling. But at the same time, I don't believe that violent video games create serial killers or pornography creates rapists.
Critics looooooove to climb up on their high horse and flail around with fake concern about shit like this—how Real Dolls and "virtual girlfriends" keep men (and some women, I guess, maybe) from forging real human connections. But let's be honest, here. There are some people in the world who, unfortunately, will never make a real human connection. There are some people who nobody in the world wants to be around. Or, if somebody does want to be around them, that person might be very very far away (hence, computers!). Those people exist. A computerized goggle-girlfriend might not be the #1 healthiest road to fulfillment, but: a) Who am I, the fulfillment police? (ANSWER: MAYBE); and b) So fucking what? Let them have their things.
Just let the people have their things. Even if their things are weird. You're weird too—you just hide it better.