Love, sex and relationships in the virtual age
The digital age fundamentally changed how we relate to one another. Millennials already struggle to remember a time when their social interactions weren’t intermediated through technology, and the next generation will grow up without ever knowing such a world. Yet the changes of the last 20 years will pale in comparison to what the next decade has in store for us. As advances in Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Big Data inexorably blur the lines between reality and simulation, we must start preparing for what’s to come, because where it comes to relationships in the virtual world, we’re all VRgins.
The vision of creating immersive artificial worlds that futurists and Science Fiction writers have talked about for decades is finally materializing. Virtual Reality, like the Internet, will affect everyone whether or not they consider themselves techies. With millions of VR headsets already sold and the market expected to overtake mobile and reach $150 billion by 2020, this will become a pervasive form of interaction much sooner than we might think.
VR technology will disrupt the very fabric of our society in ways that most of us don’t even realize. Beyond the games and gimmicks, it will make interactions possible – both among humans and between humans and machines – that will utterly blur the lines between the physical world and virtual/augmented environments, making us question the very concept of reality itself.
Research shows that virtual world experiences affect us in the same ways as offline ones. Our behavior carries over seamlessly between real and simulated environments, as psychological, ethical, social and even physical barriers blur and eventually disappear altogether. The biggest revolution we’ll experience will be in facilitating and replicating existing social interactions within those virtual worlds. This is why we’re seeing Social Media giants like Facebook leading the charge towards universal implementation of VR technology.
In short, virtual reality will enhance, disrupt and enable human relationships in ways most of us are not yet prepared for. This book will address this and equip readers to better deal with the changes that will inevitably happen throughout our society. These include the way we meet, fall in love, have sex, cheat and break up. It will eventually create precedents that will force reforms of our legal systems and family law, and lead us to redefine – as a society and as individuals -‐ what constitutes identity, and what it really means to be (and be with) someone.
Alice Bonasio is currently represented by Literary Artists, NY