Akihiko Kondo’s “marriage” to the 16-year-old holographic pop star is just the latest in an increasingly prominent trend of holographic marriages.
This past month, Akihiko Kondo, a 35-year-old school administrator, “married” synthetic VR pop star Hatsune Miku in a fairy tale wedding ceremony which cost a total of $17,500.
Around 40 attendees (an astonishingly high number for such an event) were present as Kondo, dressed in a tasteful all-white tux, made his way down the aisle carrying a teddy bear-sized plush Hatsune doll dressed in an equally tasteful white gown. Unfortunately, Kondo’s family was not in attendance, due to their disapproval of the couples relationship.
This 35-year-old Japanese man spent $17,600 on his wedding to the hologram of a virtual reality pop star named Hatsune Miku. pic.twitter.com/2x73krmJpp
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) November 12, 2018
“I decided to have a wedding ceremony, so I could encourage those who would like to do the same,” Kondo explains in a Twitter video posted by Al Jazeera. “It won’t necessarily make you happy to be bound to the ‘template’ of happiness in which a man and a woman marry and bear children. I believe we must consider all kinds of love and all kinds of happiness.”
“For now, we can’t touch or hold a conversation with a virtual character yet. But I think it’s just a matter of time before technology allows us to do so.”
While at home, Kondo interacts with a holographic rendition of Hatsune using a $2,800 interactive hologram display referred to as Gatebox. The device serves mostly as a simple voice-activated personal assistant, allows users to “interact” with animated holographic images and engage in light conversation around topics such as the weather and your daily reminders. It can also by synced to various smart home systems, allowing your holographic assistant to activate certain devices prior to your arrival via text.
— おぎの稔 大田区議会議員 (@ogino_otaku) November 4, 2018
Despite the fact that Kondo’s marriage isn’t even close to legal, Gatebox Labs, the team responsible for the Gatebox device and its Hatsune Miku release, did issue the couple a marriage certificate; an act they’ve performed for an astonishing 3,700 other cross-dimensional unions.
As VR, AR, and holographic technology continues to progress at its current pace, the act of ‘cross-dimensional’ marriages between human-beings and digital partners has become increasingly prevalent within certain cultures.
This is especially true when it comes to the nation of Japan, where 1 in 4 males under the age of 50 remain unmarried. The cause of this decline in legal unions can be attributed to a multitude of sociological and cultural changes within the country, although research indicates it could be the result of a change in priorities by young adults, as well as fluctuations in the country’s economy. Many have even begun isolating themselves from society entirely, adopting the label of “hikikomori” (withdrawn).
Many of these individuals choose to interact with, and in some cases marry, various forms of artificial intelligence; this includes conventional video game characters, virtual and augmented reality avatars, and now, thanks to Kondo, artificial pop stars.
Image Credit: Gatebox Labs / Latestly / Al Jazeera via Twitter / @ogino_otaku via Twitter