Did anyone else feel a few pangs on disappointment on New Year’s Eve eleven years ago? As a child of the 1980s and 1990s, I grew up thinking, ardently believing that I had been born at exactly the right time. You see, the year 2000 was right around the corner. I was going to be on the ground floor for the mystical years of the future. Because everyone back then knew the future was going to start at precisely 12:01 on Jan 1, 2000.
I can remember my heart skipping a beat when the ball started to descend in New York, my father having briefly woken up from his snoring on the couch to start shouting “ITS THE END OF THE WORLD GET IN THE BASEMENT” as I silently watched the seconds tick down until life became exactly like a sci-fi film. The suspense was horrible.
Then suddenly, it was all over. The ball stopped its descent, the people in Times Square went absolutely nuts, and Dick Clark sighed in relief for having cheated death for another year. Nothing else happened, same as it ever was. I remember looking out the window accusingly at the family car, silently demanding to know why is hadn’t immediately morphed into a hover car, and even felt a little cheated that Y2K hadn’t brought an end to civilization. At least the sudden and complete annihilation of society would have made the future interesting, even if I really didn’t find Mad Max to be that good of a movie.
The future had arrived, quietly and boringly, much like every year that had come in before it. After weeping bitterly and crying about how the popular cartoon show The Jetsons had lied to me- no, to AMERICA, for all these years, I clambered off to bed and tried to console myself with the fact that humanity would have another 1,000 years to get it right the next time.
I underestimated people, however. Scientists, who were probably also upset that their cars did not take flight on Jan 1, 2000, were also hard at work, plowing ahead in their respective fields, hoping to make the next groundbreaking leap forward in technology, aiming for that unattainable space age, science fiction goal. Yes, that’s right: robots you can have sex with.
Fast forward eight years (I’m getting to the point of this article eventually, just calm down). I was working hard at my day job, which was quickly turning into a long night because of some kind of… election thing I’m told happens every so often. This was a big one: Obama vs. McCain, New Change vs. Old Pop, Biden Joe vs. Soccer Mom Palin. The news stations had been working themselves up into a frenzy for months in preparation, and by the time the election rolled around they were up to 24 hours coverage, managing simultaneously tell us absolutely nothing new and piss me off.
I don’t want to bring politics into our poor, unassuming blog. Once you open that door, the only way you can stop the flame war is to shut off your computer and refuse to believe the internet exists. But this is important. There, projected on the wall, was CNN. This news station had gone above and beyond the call of duty for being stupid, to the point where they had correspondent Jessica Yellin present in the studio via an unbelievably bad hologram. The Yellinogram made several appearances, and each time the other correspondents kept repeating the same thing, which I will paraphrase into “Holy shit you’re a hologram.”
This was the start of this issue for me. Sure, CNN had screwed that up pretty bad, but they had made an attempt. The future was still out there, but CNN didn’t have that same drive, that same passion that the greatest scientists of today have. CNN was just in it for ratings, not to actually have sex with a hologram of Jessica Yellin.
“But Tophat,” you yell at your monitor, “How can you be sure that sex is behind every scientific achievement? You’re just a blog writer!”
Well, my dear, crazy reader. That’s because I read the writing on the wall. Everyone made jokes when the Wii came out. The name of the system was so suggestive, sounding like a bashful third grader taking about wetting himself, while you wave around a remote willy nilly. Recently, Playstation and Xbox have followed suit with their line of games, with Playstations even-more-suggestive Playstation Move, and Xbox’s controller-free Kinect. Not even three months later, devleoper ThriXXX has announced they plan to make the best use of this technology by making a game you can, uh, “interact” with one a personal level.
ThriXXX has been doing this for a while, I guess. The developers have made a slew of sexytime games over the years with classy names like 3D Lesbian, 3D Gay Villa, and 3D Sexvilla 2. You can read the whole article about this here.
This is what initially got me thinking. I can imagine some people would be into this kind of thing. Though, I can tell you back when I was dreaming of flying cars and Y2K in 2000, it never occurred to me that this is the way technology works. Are we only interested in space because someday we might find hot chick aliens? Do we really want to create sentient robots just so we have something to have sex with? The more I hear about technology lately, the more I’m inclined to think this is the case.
A few months back, Howard Tailer, creative mind behind the long running comic Schlock Mercenary, posted a lengthy post in his blog about something rather strange he found deep in the sketchy annals of Youtube. Years ago, during one of Schlock Mercenary’s earliest adventures, Tailer told a story about how hired goons Schlock and Brad were assigned to guard the New Sinc Boys, a space age boy band group composed entirely of holograms. Nearly ten years later, Tailer stumbled on Hatsune Miku, an honest to god holographic Japanese pop star chick with impossibly blue hair. I’ll post a video here so you can see what I’m talking about, but be prepared to explain to everyone else in the room what the hell you’re watching/listening to when you push play.
The technology involved here amazes me. If you look closely, you can see lights shining through Hatsune Miku, but most of the time she actually seems solid, like an honest-to-god anime character has popped out of the TV to ROCK FACES with her ridiculous brand of pop. But then, as time passed, I started to get more and more creeped out. Pay attention to the crowd. They’re going nuts. Absolutely bonkers for a girl who doesn’t exist. Maybe some of them are taking it as a kind of light show (that’d explain the glowsticks), but it still weirds me out a little. Who is the girl whose voice we’re hearing? Where is she when this is all going on? Is this really what we’re spending the future on? Making ridiculously proportioned high school teenagers come to life?
I’m not sure what I was really expecting here, to be honest. After all, developers have been using video games as an outlet for sexytime since Atari’s General Custer’s Last Stand, and everyone knows that it’s a matter of time until someone makes robots you can have sex with. We stumbled across this article at work the other day (look, I’m in the news industry, okay? We need to know this stuff) of a company in New Jersey that is constructing an honest to god sex robot named Roxxxy. Check out the article here.
Maybe I’m naive, or somewhat old-fashioned. But the thought of being in the same room with Roxxxy and her dead, somewhat panicked stare fills me with a terminal case of the willies.
I guess everything has its supporters. This is the internet, after all… there’s always someone out there who is waiting for the day when science fiction becomes reality. But knowing what I know now, I think I’m glad that the future didn’t suddenly happen on January 1, 2000. I don’t think I would have handled it that well if robots had suddenly popped into existence in my home and started propositioning me.
I knew the future would get here eventually, but I was really hoping it would still be wearing pants when it arrived.
Of course, anyone who has ever watched Futurama can consider themselves experts on this topic. I wanted to find a version of this clip I could embed on Faceplant! but all the clips that were available on the accepted media sites had some severe audio problems. This site has the best version, so go check it out.
Filed under: Commentary, Games | Tagged: 2000, commentary, election 2008, Futurama, Hatsune Miku, hologram, japanese pop, Jessica Yellin, Kinect, Kinect sex, no seriously what the hell people?, playstation move, Roxxxy, sex robots, sexytime, the future, the Jetsons are a lie, wii, Y2K |