I stumbled across this video by Gatebox on Digg and found it slightly creepy and a little sad. I have never been to Japan (the airport doesn’t really count) but there seems to be something wrong with with their birthrate and there are debates as to why. I’m sure you have read articles about increasing numbers of people retreating into their personal space, interacting solely through the internet and no longer being interested in having sex. (Or at least relationships.) Then there are the articles that say this is bollocks. The fact remains the birthrate in Japan, and increasingly in other developed countries, is dropping.
I then read the Youtube comments, which is always a cogent reminder of why the birthrate dropping is probably a good thing. Apparently this retreating from the world and only interacting with people through a screen has, predictably, a lot of subsets and splinter factions and millions of fucking acronyms.
In response to videos like the Gatebox one below – featuring, broadly speaking, a virtual girlfriend – there was a lot of defence from a group that calls itself MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way). Apparently this is a huge thing happening all over and I somehow missed it until now. As far as I can tell, it is an extension of what is happening in Japan but is occurring mostly to Western men. It is not a counter to femininism, it is just men who no longer want to be in a relationship and want out of the whole dynamic. Like all ‘movements’ some argue it is not a movement, some seem quite rational and intelligent, and some are batshit crazy and hate women. It isn’t something that would particularly ‘float my boat’, but the world is a big and complex place. I’m not going to comment on it because gender issues are an inflammatory topic and I can’t be arsed to debate issues on the internet because doing so is utterly, utterly pointless. Treat everyone equally and be nice to each other. It’s not that complicated.
Anyway, see what you think of the video below by Gatebox. I feel it says something about a society where this is appealing to enough people that it has been made. You may think it is sad and creepy and an example of the increasingly isolated modern world. Or maybe you think that if people want to retreat into their own space, fair play to them, society shouldn’t dictate how individuals want to live their lives and if this becomes more popular then it will be increasingly normal. I think if people are lucky enough to have a choice, they should live the lives they want. In this particular case however, I think that the guy seems really, really lonely and I hope his virtual girlfriend helps. (I’m aware he is an actor.)
Here is the Japanese Virtual Assistant by Gatebox: