The Digital Love Industry

The Digital Love Industry

2014, Technology  -   24 Comments
Ratings: 7.02/10 from 93 users.

Technology has altered the way we experience the world and each other, but at what cost? Case in point: the notion of sex in the realm of virtual reality. This emerging field serves as the tantalizing subject for a new documentary titled The Digital Love Industry. Produced by VICE Media and hosted by correspondent Jo Fuertes-Knight, the film takes us around the globe to explore the various technologies that harbor the potential to compliment (or endanger) the future of human intimacy.

What if you could virtually simulate a sexual encounter with your favorite adult film star, or with a mate that you design using your ideal specifications? What if you could take your long distance relationship to the next level by forming a physical connection through specially designed pleasure devices?

From a virtual reality conference in Los Angeles to the porn capital of the world in the San Fernando Valley to development companies in the Netherlands and Amsterdam, The Digital Love Industry shows us that the technologies to achieve all this and more exist at this very moment, and they have to be seen to be believed.

Virtual reality represents the next evolution in inter-connectivity, and it's no longer relegated to the nerd-dominated fringes. Just ask Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who recently acquired the leading producer of virtual reality technology, Oculus VR, and instantaneously propelled it into the mainstream.

Much like Facebook, though, the possibilities of virtual reality may be as troubling as they are thrilling. In many respects, the advent of these advanced technologies have made us more connected than ever before, but as the film questions, they may also lure us further away from the potentially awkward but oftentimes meaningful rewards of actual physical contact.

It's a dilemma we face more and more often in our modern technology-driven world, but it's especially relevant as it applies to the consumption of virtual sex and pornography. Will our ability to interact with our fantasies in a hyper-realistic virtual environment cause us more harm than good? Or will our basic human need for a face-to-face connection always win out in the end?

How will we define love and sex in the digital age? As The Digital Love Industry so deftly illustrates, the future of virtual sex has indeed arrived, and as it continues to evolve it may force us to do the same.

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24 Comments / User Reviews

  1. aditya

    Do we really want to hand this technology to our childrens

  2. jennifer

    idk i just need to cite something for school

  3. TheUprising

    Eliminate meat, normal sex, and going out.
    Replace them with virtual sex, tofu, and online chat.
    Ah, progress.

  4. hasanhh

    Poor sound quality. Skipped about half of it. But this did remind me of a couple of movies. One is "Brainstorm" (1983) with Natalie Wood, Cliff Robertson, etc. There, brainwaves are recorded which are then sold/shared to duplicate actual experiences. One character leaves a sex experience in "loop" until it hospitalizes and brain damages himself.
    The other is a recent Bruce Willis movie about people trying to live fantasy lives by VR. I thought of this last film when I saw a news report about these techies earning a trip and being with people from several parts of the World. When it was break-time, they would go out into the halls and start texting rather than meeting the people standing next to them.
    This "documentary" is more like advertising than any other genre. Watching "Brainstorm" is more informative about this subject.

  5. bluetortilla

    Wow! That was depressing. But after this I watched the VICE Japan sex industry doc. Now I'm off to the hardware store to buy some rope...

    Seriously, I've always hated Facebook. But I'm not surprised that 1.something people are signed up though (including me haha), and after watching this I'm not surprised that leaches like Zuckerman are investing into VR sex. Whatever happened to good ol' genuine loneliness?

    This doc got a low rating (not from me), but I think VICE shows it like it is. Good job.

  6. Polar Jo

    well then...I am sorry I quit smoking, could use a cigarette right now (or perhaps a vaporizer), :) . To be more serious, this brief doc is interesting and insightful. Vice your really going out there into everywhere aren't you? I personally do not anticipate a problem with any of this new 'matrix' technology. My take goes to 1. the reality that a lot of people do not get to 'mate' in our diverse world's and cultures; if there is a discreet possibility for that very large group to have a simulated satisfaction w a virtual girl/boy friend, surely that will be a good thing. Think about it - we are over 7 Billion people, and our species was designed for both diversity as well as natural selection, so only certain 'types' were likely to mate at all, let alone often. We are changing all that (cultural and sexual revolutions, etc), and these 'tools' I think will simply add to the options in the beautiful landscape of our imaginations. Even if virtual sex (holo-deck style) becomes a norm, there will be mavericks who want the feel of human contact and connection, so anybody who prefers it really wont have to worry. Like the Dr says, transitional times will bring out the moralists and judgemental, but if reasonable minds prevail, we will figure out how to make this more discreet and secure, and because most of us genuinely 'want' to be connected to someone, we will also negotiate with one another regarding how far we go with the technology we bring into our emotional and physical lives. There has always been choice out there for those who want kink in all it's fashion - maybe tech tools will make it safer and more satisfying? I suppose in comparison I would be labelled pretty vanilla, but even within my 'genre' I like to keep things interesting (lots of flavours can be added to vanilla), think chocolate, maple and walnuts...mmm I digress. Interesting to think about, and Amsterdam might be a great vacation idea for curious couples. Watch if you have an open mind and Enjoy!

    1. experiential2010

      Yes, I too think this technology has a BIG future. I saw Amsterdam too, in the 90's, this is a very different is where we as humanity is going...

    2. bluetortilla

      aw, it's just a fad. People maybe bond out of loneliness of a type that is natural for social creatures like us. All this stuff is just fancy masturbation. Even with the perfect, morphing android you'd get bored...

  7. Polar Jo

    definitely going for it...ttyl baby :)

  8. Airvaulting for Girls

    Every body has got a product to sell... I don't even know where to get started with this video; I feel like if I did, I could probably go on for hours. I think I'll remain a sexual luddite, just a man alone with his mouse and his old-fashioned internet porn.

  9. Adam Young

    what a bunch of wankers we've become.

    1. bluetortilla


  10. pwndecaf

    I have an addictive personality and I have a lot of tech gadgets - I had better not watch...

    1. Airvaulting for Girls

      Technically, I have a personality, and an addictive gadget. Maybe I'd better exercise caution as well...

      Edit- nah, sod it, I'm going for it.

    2. pwndecaf

      Not that there is anything wrong with it...

    3. Airvaulting for Girls

      Oh, no, of course not, Jerry! :) *ye olde Seinfeld ref*

      Oddly, this video left me both cynical and hopeful, unable to clearly decide whether to applaud the potential benefits of this technology, or to wonder if we should all just crawl into our vats now and hook all the wires up, already. How interesting, that pornography can be such a catalyst for technology...

    4. Pascalore

      Porn has always been one of the major catalysts for expansion. Newsgroups exploded with image sharing and the net had to speed up to accommodate. Then, video required more storage space and faster delivery with better quality spearheaded by the volume of porn being viewed. I have recently deleted 10 gigs of video along with all photos and the links to porn sites (OK, I still could find the sites if I wanted) but it has grown old. It may also have something to do with what is in the food and atmosphere reducing the desire so this tech may be coming (that's a joke) too late.

    5. Airvaulting for Girls

      Yep. Even way back in the day, my understanding is that porn also played a large part in rendering the betamax format obsolete.

    6. bluetortilla

      So sad though that porn is so abusive. I guess at least with virtual sex that relieves the major part of that. Still, is living in a fantasy sex world full of exotic devices and virtual reality a healthy thing to get into? I guess it all depends on how much and if people avoid happier relationships because they can feel safer with just porn.
      Still, addictive personalities will always end up suffering over something or another unfortunately while others will sense limits. Not sure if this makes much sense to anyone and I know it has nothing to do with erotica driving technology forward. Obviously, sexuality is a part of our humanity and a powerful drive. I just feel a bit fearful of people trading in their real lives for superficial and unhappier virtual ones. Virtual experience give us an illusion of control and safety that we don't have with real and unpredictable people. We live in interesting times indeed.

    7. Polar Jo

      aww just go for it...not nearly so 'stimulating' as one might imagine.

    8. bluetortilla

      Made me feel like it was time to go out to meet some real girls. Of the living, breathing, blood pumping variety.

    9. Polar Jo

      lol great plan blue tortilla...good luck with that... You may have to go 'online' however, to get that started. I determined the same thing (tho into 'guys') a couple months sites are torture, but I figure 10% should be meet worthy...I 've had 3 meets (all friend might take some time)...carpe diem

    10. bluetortilla

      Sad to say I had horrible experiences only with online dating (I mean, some started out OK, but...). Now I'm strictly eyeing colleagues and students (my age range of course). It's a much slower and difficult process (I'm pretty shy) but I'm thinking it's gonna be worth the effort.

    11. Polar Jo

      sorry to hear that - well - good luck to us both then :) (Apparently I intimidate 'men', so am hoping if they have already spoken w me a number of times, then when we 'meet' they will already know that I 'also' have a brain...)