The Digital Crossover
“The other possibility is that people will, on average, continue their trend of getting fatter and more argumentative. In that case, the Digital Crossover is less than ten years away.”
One of the predictions in my book, The Dilbert Future (1997), is that holodeck technology, as shown in Star Trek, will spell the end of humanity. As soon as sex and marriage in the simulated world of the holodeck become better than the real thing, no one will bother with the expense, stress, and inconvenience of actual procreation. Today I’m going to double down on that prediction, but instead of blaming it on holodeck technology, or sexy robots, I’ll blame the Internet in general.
Young couples in the 1950s got as much enjoyment from spending time together as any young couple might today. I assume the sex felt just as good back then, the oxytocin release was the same, and the marital bliss was similar. Evolution works slowly, so things won’t be much different in that department in the next hundred years. As a form of entertainment for each other, humans have plateaued. And frankly, the plateua isn’t terribly high.
Comedian Chris Rock observed that humans only have two options: single and lonely, or married and bored. There’s a natural limit to how good things can be in your personal life. One person can’t provide the love, comfort, and safety you want while also offering the endless variety and excitement of something new. It’s a logical contradiction.
The Internet, however, just keeps getting better, with no end in sight. Every year brings faster speeds, better screen clarity, more content, more variety, smarter applications, and improved user interfaces. No matter how unusual your hobbies, interests, and fetishes, you can find a growing supply on the Internet. The Internet offers a virtually risk-free experience aimed directly at what gets your heart pumping. It doesn’t matter if you’re into competitive quilting, first person shooter games, or you have a foot fetish; the Internet serves it up. And it keeps getting better.