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.