Apparently somewhere between thirty seconds to a minute after the opening weekend numbers for Avatar came in, the entirety of Western civilization decided to go 3D, and wholesale convert our malls and living rooms into one gigantic Disneyland of the Damned, like a Michael Bay Transformer changing state from “obnoxious and expensive” into “obnoxious, expensive, and three centimeters from your face.” Not only has Hollywood made 3D nigh-on mandatory for its big releases (presumably to combat file sharing), but 3D televisions are slated to begin rolling out this summer, despite health concerns (apparently they can cause vertigo, seizures and a host of other shocks to our woefully non-3D-adjusted systems). Perhaps it’s Michael Jackson’s revenge from beyond the grave, for barely noticing when he pioneered the technology with Captain EO back in the dark ages of 1986, or 24 BA (Before Avatar) in Hollywood years.
And now, the Internet. Intel Labs’ Sean Koehl recently predicted that the Internet will “go three-dimensional” within five to ten years—the company is currently hard at work developing the technology, touting its potential use for teleconferencing, among other business applications.
But… but. You know as well as I do that that’s not what it’s actually going to be used for.
If Koehl’s timeline bears out, somewhere between 2015 and 2020—right as Web 3.0, the Semantic Web and Augmented Reality are coming to maturity—we can expect:
Porn. I imagine the nearly-bankrupt porn industry will be all over this so quickly that they’ll just about be able to create an entire virtual reality pocket porniverse which the Global Otaku Diaspora will likely declare permanent residence in and which the rest of the world’s population will likely spend a good chunk of their waking hours in. Expect bedroom and office doors locked.
A constant, endless assault of cats. You will be like a cat lady for all the cats in the whole world, who will be all up in your face, all the time. Guess what’s in your inbox this morning? It’s another 3D video of somebody’s cat. And now it’s in your lap.
A running, inescapable feed of status updates from your friends—imagine the hovering, 3D heads of your online acquaintances popping up when you least expect them to constantly update you as to what they’re having for dinner, how much they hated Robert Pattinson’s directorial debut, or sending you a link to a 3D video of their cat being confused by their 3D computer. The thought of constantly being bothered by twelve-second video clips of the holographic heads of everybody I’ve ever exchanged two words with or been cc’d on an e-mail from, all of whose comments are bound to be equally aggravating and pointless, is enough to prompt a pre-emptive desert homestead. Are we all doomed to become like Jimmy Stewart in a doozie, with all those heads swimming around ours, all the time? Combined with augmented reality, three-dimensional Internet is going to be f___cking unavoidable. And so will everybody you know.
And good god… do we really want a three-dimensional version of Chatroulette? Do we really want to be able to see all of us, all the time, in shuddering, sickening three dimensions? Are we ready for the Slob Singularity, when everybody on the Internet can have the experience of staring directly at everybody else on the Internet; when all of our Doritos-greased faces see each other as one Being; when we all become One All-Slouching, All-Trolling, All-Wanking Consciousness?
I hope we are. Because that’s what’s coming. In glorious 3D.