Gartner analyst Adam Sarner insists that he's serious when he predicts that binding "virtual marriages" will be a reality by 2015. He says such couples -- including those who have never met in person -- will enjoy the same property rights and legal responsibilities as the rest of us bound by matrimonial bliss.
In other words, Adam Sarner is insane. Here are five reasons why.
Virtual couples are going to have to get in line. Homosexuals cannot marry legally in 98% of these United States, so it would seem a stretch to envision avatars tying the knot a mere eight years down the road. Moreover, who's going to tell Pat Robertson?
On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. There is the classic New Yorker-cartoon sense, of course, but that's just the starting point. Who's to say virtual couples would be any more honest with their intendeds than virtual individuals are with one another today? And -- dare I ask -- once we start down this slippery slope, what's to prevent virtual marriages between virtual machines? To say nothing of virtual polygamy between botnets.
Let's think of the children. There won't be any, of course, at least not through conventional means. While this may be fine for some couples, it cannot bode well for the survival of the species. And I'm hearing Rev. Robertson again.
Anytime, anywhere connectivity. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, carrying your spouse around on a smartphone 24x7 is apt to take a toll on the tickers of virtual couples. Oh, sure, we're already at our dearest one's beck and call today, but the expectation of a real-life encounter at day's end keeps the beckoning and calling manageable. Virtual couples would be pitching their Blackberries before they've even written all their thank-you notes.
Finally, misery loves company. Even Gartner's Sarner acknowledges that his prediction cannot come to fruition without rewriting laws ... and that can't happen without a dramatic change in public attitudes. Those who are miserable in their own real-life marriages -- and let's face it, that's a good half or better of the populace -- will be loath to let virtual couples get away with a marital-discord dodge as simple as unplugging the computer. Oh, no, there will be no tossing of virtual china in this country; you want to be married, stand in there and take your medicine.