Lives in your pockets and girls in your memories

Some young boys prefer girls found in computer games to real girls. They feel that real girls don't quite meet their tastes, whereas so-called "Anime" girls are controllable. Now in Japan the first "Virtual Idol" has been developped.

Personal computers are everywhere from New York offices to Buddhist temples in Tibet. They normally sit on or under our desks. Our computers are still in the early stage of development, so we give them places like the top of the desk or below it. In the future, computers will look different from the one before you. It may not even be called a computer any more. Or, as Nicholas Negroponte of the Media Lab at MIT writes in his book BEING DIGITAL, we may live inside computers in the future.

While we're not yet ready to start living inside our computers, already many female Japanese students feed the cats and dogs that live in the girls' PDAs (=Personal Digital Assists). Girls give them food and pet them every day. These digital animals respond like real animals and sleep in their owners' pockets.

On the other hand, some young boys prefer girls found in computer games to real girls. They feel that real girls don't quite meet their tastes, whereas so-called "Anime" girls are controllable. ("Anime" in Japanese is derived from "animation" originally, but has come to refer to Japanese cartoon characters even outside Japan. If you type "Anime" into search engines on the net, you'll find sites concerning "Anime".)

Even some adults are trying to raise babies in computer simulation games, without having had raised real ones.If they raise the game's girl baby the right way she becomes a little sweet angel when she reaches 17. But raise her wrong, and the user is stuck with a 17-year old bitch.

The borders between real life and electronic life in computers is becoming more and more vague. The meaning of "real" is changing. Naturally, business people aren't overlooking these changes as a busines chance.

Japan's largest entertainment talent agency, Hori production Co., and a major advertising agency, Hakuhodo, have been working hand in hand to develop the world first "Virtual Idol." Developed under the code name "DK96", she is 16 years old, good at singing and dancing, and speaks a couple of languages because, the explanation goes, she was born and grew up nearby an American military base in a Tokyo suburb. I personally don't understand this part of the plot. How does growing up near a military base make her miltilingual? Her family hangs out with GIs there?

Always this sort of story comes with a lot of "media hype". However, it sounded more real when I heard the two companies were spending big money to take advantage of the latest video capture systems to simulate her movement smoothly on a computer. She is apparently a product of recent computer technology and the TV game business.

In a text for the History of Sexuality, the French philosopher Michel Foucault quoted Artemidorus' Interpretation of Dreams. Foucault was interested in the way of Artemidorus interpreted dreams involving sexual intercourses. Artemidorus states as a general rule that women in dreams are "symbol of things that will happen to the dreamer, so that the character and disposition of the woman determine what will happen to him." For instance, to the conventional triad of wife, mistress, and prostitute, Artemidorus adds the unknown women one encounters. His analysis is varied by what she is. In this case the dream's value for the future depends on the social "value" of the women it represents.

Virtual idols and Anime girls are new things in human history. We have not started seriously thinking about their social value yet. Also almost no one has defined their positions in the history of sexuality yet. However, young kids have sexual feelings of sorts and may dream about those artificial girls. Because these girls are saved not only in computers' memories but in biological ones as well. (Keisuke Oki)