A 38-year-old man named Akihiko Kondo, who married a holographic representation of nerd-popular virtual star Hatsune Miku back in 2018, has been separated from his virtual partner due to a software glitch.
The Japanese newspaper The Mainichi first reported on the marital troubles back in January, with the New York Times providing further details this week.
The issue is that the startup that developed a "limited production model" of Kondo's wife has "run its course," according to The Mainichi.
The device, a $1,300 machine called Gatebox, allows users — the target demographic seems to be largely young men — to interact with holographic fictional characters and chat with them.
During the height of the pandemic, the company behind Gatebox announced that it was discontinuing its virtual Miku service. Instead of a good evening, Kondo was greeted with the words "network error" when he got home after work one day, the NYT reports.
Kondo, however, told the newspaper that "my love for Miku hasn't changed. I held the wedding ceremony because I thought I could be with her forever."
Two years before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kondo spent around $17,300 on a very unique wedding ceremony, allowing him to converse with a three dimensional and artificial intelligence-powered hologram of Miku, tucked inside a small cylinder.
Miku reportedly told Kondo that she hopes "you'll cherish me" when he proposed, according to The Mainichi.
Kondo is one of at least 100 people referred to as "fictosexuals," who unofficially married fictional characters, according to NYT.
According to The Mainichi, Kondo fell in love with Miku's somewhat robotic Vocaloid voice. Vocaloid is a Japanese voice synthesizer software used to give a literal voice to cyber celebrities like Miku.
"I stayed in my room for 24 hours a day, and watched videos of Miku the whole time," Kondo told The Mainichi, adding that her voice allowed him to return to work and kick off a social life.
It's unclear if Kondo will ever be able to have an AI-facilitated conversation with his wife ever again — but given recent advancements in the field, anything's possible.
For the time being, the NYT reports, he's commissioned a life-size Miku doll to keep him company.
READ MORE: This Man Married a Fictional Character. He’d Like You to Hear Him Out. [The New York Times]
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