Future of Dating: How I Met Your Mother… In Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is something that we are gradually coming to terms with. Visualised interactions with the environment, integrated interfaces, and virtualization of communication will soon determine how we socialise and even date.
Virtual reality is here to stay. Every single industry has started searching for ways to embrace and use this technology. Many sci-fi writers and dreamers imagined at least once how we will be able to date someone without meeting in the actual restaurant. Using virtual reality goggles and the internet, we will be able to connect to other people. This phantasy is not as far away as you think. Both sex and dating are about to be changed forever.
Why Is It Better? Is It Better?
Do you know what many users of dating services are afraid of? They are terrified of the idea that they might lose time. Imagine how you spend hours or days on messaging with another person. You carefully move plans in your schedule to finally meet a person in real life. This means going to a restaurant, wasting time and money, and often feeling quite uncomfortable due to the fact that you simply don’t like that person’s “IRL” personality. This scenario is what pushes back many users of dating services.
If you don’t like social interactions with complete strangers, setting up a date in a VR environment may be a much better idea.
For example, engineers involved with the development of vTime are sure that we will be able to experience all kinds of social interactions in a virtual environment making risks of a ruined “first read date” obsolete. You can invite your friend to a campfire to gaze at dusk or take a seat on the peak of a mountain. This is a cool little tool for all people who want to change the way they interact with each other.
However, we perceive this technology as a sneak peek into the future. This is something very close to what many people dreamed about. Inviting your date to a romantic VR setting and talking about each other to get familiar before moving the relationship to the next stage — these possibilities will drastically change how we think about online dating.
Will such digital face-offs ever substitute real life relationships and social interactions, though? Our very biochemistry is dependent on how often we interact with other people in real life. A simple touch is often enough to cause a chain reaction of feelings and emotions. VR will never replace it. However, we may use VR to expand the range of available social interactions and to save ourselves from wasting time on first dates that never work out.
Think of other applications. We could not only use VR to make dating much more appealing to those who enjoy safer social interactions but allow separated relatives to meet in engaging environments or provide new great settings for socialisation in places where it is usually heavily limited (prisons and hospitals, for example).
Virtual Reality Helmets
What really boggles our minds is a virtual reality headset like Oculus Rift and its possible applications when it comes to both dating and gaming. When testers were allowed to play with each other in the same virtual environment, the results were overwhelmingly positive. People loved to use instruments and interact with environment together. We do react to social interactions in virtual reality.
Now, imagine using tech like Oculus for dating. Even if your partner is on the ISS, you can have a nice dinner in a virtual restaurant, given that your partner will have to tackle issues with zero gravity. You could take your date out to any place on Google Maps. Always wanted to visit that Ramen shop in Tokyo? Put on your VR helmet, call your date, and take a virtual trip to that place. With the new VR hardware being pushed by giants like Google we can expect new versions of OKCupid or Tinder to embrace the technology.
This can actually be the next step for the whole industry. This will be a dynamic market with new features and ideas appearing constantly. If the technology keeps evolving, we could observe fully virtual long term relationships and services that will cater specifically to the audience of people who want to move their relationships to the VR environment.
Sexuality is arguably the biggest motivator for humanity. Many psychologists argued and continue to argue that everything we do is connected to our sexual desires. Virtual reality will bring us new possibilities in terms of experiencing intimate sexual relationships. Having a virtual date is not the limit of the technology. What about having sex in virtual reality?
Virtual sex can be great in that it completely eradicates the risks of rejection, catching a disease or getting pregnant. With the proper stimulating gear, it is much more than the old-fashioned phone sex or the “cybersex” in a text chat.
Still, we must consider the ethical and legal consequences along with the possible “adverse” effects of this phenomenon. What if humans no longer need other humans to build relationships with?..
Brilliant Future with VR
If you are a developer, you will have multiple options to jump in the trend. Google still updates their cardboard VR that allows you to create apps and small games for the next generation of Google VR devices. Oculus Rift is now owned by giant Facebook and will continue to evolve. Thousands of developers are eager to try out new technologies and start venturing in this industry more aggressively.
This is not even the beginning of the new era. We are on the verge of a new breakthrough when the market will explode with additional supporting technologies, advanced wearables, robust robotic options, and incredibly efficient VR devices.
Future apps and games will be more emotional and engaging allowing us to experience many things in ways we have never tried before. This technology will help elder people to relive some of their memories or dramatically improve how they communicate with other people.
Virtual Reality is an inevitability that we must embrace and we undeniably will. VR may never replace our real relationships and, hopefully, it won’t create a new society of “surrogates” that never leave their homes. We will still drastically need to socialise, talk, and communicate via nonverbal tactile ways to feel happy as humans. However, VR is definitely the next huge step for the industry, including the online dating industry.
The photo of a girl in this post is by Samuel Zeller at Unsplash.