Kevin Kelly: We’ll have realistic virtual-reality sex in under five years

Kevin Kelly – “senior maverick” at Wired magazine, which he also co-founded. Pic: Kevin Kelly/Wired

Wired magazine cofounder Kevin Kelly predicts realistic, affordable virtual-reality sex will be with us in less than five years.

The digital guru and author, who now goes under the title “senior maverick” at Wired, said: “I’m sure that right now there are one or two places that have probably put this together.”

He added that the main hurdles virtual-reality sex will face will be economics — how to make it cheap enough for the average consumer — and the legal regulations surrounding it.

But asked if he thought affordable VR sex would be available in under five years, he said: “Oh, absolutely. Less than five years.”

Kelly revealed his predictions in an interview with entrepreneur and investor Tim Ferriss.

He told how he had already experienced totally life-like 3D reproductions of humans up close.

Kelly said: “I saw these guys who have volumetric capture. They use seven or more cameras to record a person in all their detail, so that when you see them in VR they’re moving around and you can see every single hair.

“The volumetric capture of a live movement is amazing — and the 3D presentation of it. I felt uncomfortable even getting close to that person. You’re in their space. They really feel like they’re there.

“And if they are giving you eye contact, and a voice, maybe your mind says they’re not really there, but your body is saying ‘They are there! That’s them!’.”

Kelly also spoke about the virtual-reality project being carried out by Linden Lab, the creators of Second Life, called Project Sansar — which is currently undergoing testing and is scheduled to be rolled out sometime in 2016.

He said: “Second Life is now doing a VR version called Sansar and it’s a thousand times better than the old Second Life because those avatars are getting their body language from [the person controlling them].

“They’re getting the voice and they have the eye contact. Even if the avatar is not exactly them, you can still see them with their voice and their body movements and their micro-expressions. They’re really there.”

Kelly started his career editing the Whole Earth Review and after co-founding Wired went on to co-found the All Species Foundation and The Rosetta Project.

He is also on the board of The Long Now Foundation and has just released his latest book, called The Inevitable: Understanding The 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future.

In his wide-ranging interview with Ferriss, he also spoke in-depth about artificial intelligence — including what it means for humanity in the immediate future.

Check out the whole interview by clicking on this link or right clicking and choosing ‘Save As’ to download it as an mp3.