MindBullets 20 Years


V-Man now the top e-mobile application for women

Single women the world over have discovered the perfect man. According to 3G.com, V-man is now the top selling smartphone application among female subscribers. Not only is the virtual man available whenever you need him, he never complains about other guys in the list. Of course, you have to buy him the occasional virtual beer and let him ‘go fishing’ but he’s always willing to answer and agree with your every whim.

The perfect man travels with you on your smartphone. He’s always there with a smile and a considerate remark. If you need to, you can call his ‘buddies’, be they cops, doctors or financial advisers. He’s a great guy to have as a mate.

In truth, he is the product of Artificial Life, a clever mobile phone content company, and an increasingly independent and single adult society, where people choose a flexible lifestyle, adding the conveniences of partnerships as they require them, without unnecessary ties and commitments.

The virtual boyfriend can be contracted as needed, with a wide choice of characters and interaction styles. He smiles at you from your phone screen, and you have to keep him well supplied with virtual kisses from the network to keep him happy.

But that’s a small price to pay for a constant companion who never hassles you with petty jealousies or bad behaviour, and is always available to help you out in a jam.

ANALYSIS >> SYNTHESIS: How this scenario came to be

The Perfect Man

Finally, every woman can find the perfect man. The perfect virtual man that is. By simply subscribing to V-man you are assured of a guy who understands you, who is always there when you need him, and will take a back seat when you don’t.

He’s charming, resourceful and undemanding. Always available, friendly and fun, and never gets into fights or lets you down. Of course, it’s not all one-sided – you have to give him a bit of attention now and again. But the network makes it easy for you to pay for virtual kisses and download more beer tokens. They are simply added to your account.

And if you tire of his looks or voice, you can choose from a wide range of alternatives, or even get a random personality every month if you like variety! But best of all, you can call him anytime, even in the middle of the night, and he’ll never ignore you.

As long as you’ve got your phone, you’re never alone.

2005: Vivienne, the virtual girlfriend

Eberhard Schöneburg, the chief executive of the software maker Artificial Life Inc. of Hong Kong, produces a virtual girlfriend named Vivienne who goes wherever you go.

Vivienne likes to be taken to movies and bars. She loves to be given virtual flowers and chocolates, and she can translate six languages if you travel overseas. She never undresses, although she has some skimpy outfits for the gym, and is a tease who draws the line at anything beyond blowing kisses.

If you marry her in a virtual ceremony, you even end up with a virtual mother-in-law who really does call you in the middle of the night on your cellphone to ask where you are and whether you have been treating her daughter right.

Vivienne, the product of computerized voice synthesis, streaming video and text messages, brings business to Artificial Life (at a monthly fee of $6) but also benefits cellphone operators with the airtime costs paid and the price of virtual chocolates and flowers.

2012: V-man, your personalized virtual man

In response to overwhelming demand from single women, Artificial Life produces V-man. Instead of a single character such as Vivienne, subscribers to V-man can choose a name and several character attributes. V-man will even ‘learn’ how to keep a girl happy, adapting his interaction style to cues picked up from his lady’s voice and responses.

But V-man is more than an entertaining indulgence for lonely women. V-man is a seriously useful service; he will translate your wishes into twenty languages when visiting foreign countries. V-man is also able to answer any questions you might have about banking, gadgets and cars. Even plumbing is no great mystery for him to solve. And of course, you can always confide your innermost thoughts and fantasies to your friendly virtual man.

Using the latest speech recognition, voice synthesis and three-dimensional smartphone avatars, V-man is almost like having a real man in your pocket, that you can call up at will, like the proverbial genie. He understands what you’re saying, and even seems to react to your mood swings – in a positive way of course. Based on expert systems, V-man is able to learn from his mistakes, and can quickly become a real partner in your life. You can even marry him in a virtual ceremony, but beware, that comes with a 24 month subscription contract!

Rumours of a Bluetooth-connected ‘orgasmatron’ for V-man have been strenuously denied by Artificial Life. On the other hand, there are several stories of women negotiating favours from their friends for introducing them to a well-trained V-man.

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer.