UPDATED: CamasutraVR—A Perfect Example of the Uncanny Valley

Someone in one of the many virtual reality groups I follow on Facebook sent me this link and, being the intrepid investigative virtual worlds reporter that I am, I decided to check out their website.

CamasutraVR 25 May 2018.png

So, we have 3D avatars of porn stars for you to ogle. How bad could it be?

Pretty terrible, actually. Ever heard of the Uncanny Valley?

In aesthetics, the uncanny valley is a hypothesized relationship between the degree of an object’s resemblance to a human being and the emotional response to such an object. The concept of the uncanny valley suggests humanoid objects which appear almost, but not exactly, like real human beings elicit uncanny, or strangely familiar, feelings of eeriness and revulsion in observers.

Well, let me tell you, the example they offer is classic Uncanny Valley material. I was totally creeped out, and it’s not just because I’m gay and I was looking at a naked female avatar pleasuring herself. The face just looked…wrong, off. Eerie. Creepy as hell.

So, no thanks. I know that there’s a market out there for VR porn (at least, that’s what the news articles I read keep telling me). But this is most definitely an application not ready for prime time, in my opinion.

But if you want to check it out yourself, here’s their website (WARNING: ADULT CONTENT, AND NOT SAFE FOR WORK)

UPDATE June 3rd: Susannah Breslin has written an article for The Atlantic about the current state of the porn industry in the San Fernando Valley, which also mentions CamasturaVR and the Uncanny Valley:

Whether or not people get turned on by VR pornography, the technology is changing the places where adult content has traditionally been created. Porn Valley is being displaced by porn’s uncanny valley—an X-rated version of the theory holding that a robotic or simulated entity that appears to be human, but not quite fully human, revolts us. Losing a connection to the material world—the skin and sweat of reality—may also lose what makes porn alluring.

She concludes the article by stating:

Everyone wants to feel something,” Adam Sutra told me of his experiments in virtual pornography. He’s right about that. Porn isn’t about sex at all, I’ve learned. It’s about wanting to feel something. And until technology figures out how to make me feel the way that I do when I’m on a porn set, I’ll leave virtual-reality sex to the start-up boys.

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