Gone are the days when matrimony meant the union between a man and woman or two men or two women. Various, digital and non-living things have now entered this definition, perhaps complicating it, or perhaps simplifying it. To understand why 35-year-old Akihiko Kondo from Japan, married the hologram of a virtual reality singer named Hatsune Miku, all you need to ask yourself is what does a person seek from matrimony? Moreover, should he or she exclusively seek those qualities in a relationship with a human being?
— The Daily Star (@dailystarnews) November 12, 2018
To many people, Kondo’s decision may come across as creepy or dystopian. It feels like another contortion in our already tangled relationship with AI. Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence are slowly becoming inseparable parts of our human existence. But where does one draw the line in this intrusion? At what point do we begin reclaiming our human space? When AI and VR replace anchors in newsrooms? When do they begin running our homes? Or when people begin marrying holograms of VR characters?
- A 35-year-old Japanese man has married the hologram of a virtual reality singer named Hatsune Miku.
- Marriage has long been limited to being a social and civil partnership between two people, with the ultimate goal of producing progenies with a definite lineage.
- This dissent from a traditional matrimonial alliance only hints that people are no longer willing to sacrifice their personal desires, needs and ideologies at the altar.
However, this isn’t just about marrying “an animated 16-year-old with saucer eyes and lengthy aquamarine pigtails.”
A mother of five from Ireland, married a 300-year-old ghost of a Haitian pirate in February this year. Back in 2008, a woman wedded the Eiffel Tower. Then last year a woman married a train station with which she had been in love with for 36 years. And why just opt for non-living, virtual or living partners, when you can marry yourselves? People are opting for sologamy increasingly, promising to be committed to caring, loving and trusting oneself, than any other person.
In modern times, humans are thoroughly examining the institution of marriage. They are assessing their own expectations from matrimony, rather than abide by set social standards. If you look at it through a conservative gaze then these marriages may come across as funny or absurd. Isn’t a marriage supposed to be between two people? Wouldn’t thing escalate quickly if we “allow” people to get married as per their fetishes or whims? But then who came up with the concept of marriage? Thus every person can perceive this institution as per his or her requirements.
Marriage has long been limited to being a social and civil partnership between two people, with the ultimate goal of producing progenies with a definite lineage.
But millennials seek more than just legal and biological functionality from it today. Who is to say that those who marry out of love, dedication, companionship towards anything but another human being, are wrong? This dissent from a traditional matrimonial alliance only hints that people are no longer willing to sacrifice their personal desires, needs and ideologies at the altar.
Thus the question of whether society accepts such a marriage is secondary, because people no longer marry for the sake of others. What one wants to gain from a marriage is a personal dialogue and no one has benefited much by allowing the society to have a say in it.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own