It also relies on the same core philosophy: That, given the opportunity, people will use their phones to make connections with each other — in this case, unsexy, platonic connections that just so happen to involve lots of physical touch. Call it the app equivalent of the popular Internet axiom, Rule 34: “If it exists, there is porn of it.” It doesn’t matter how much Cuddlr insists the app is for free hugs only — in its seven days in the App Store, it’s already turned to distinctly less PG purposes.
Or the fact that, despite much trying, the Daily Dot’s EJ Dickson could not find a single other lady to hug earlier this week.
Or the fact that every Cuddlr user I messaged for this story was in bed, asked for my picture, or both.
With its ability to take people to faraway places, create a sense of empathy for those you may never meet, change dangerous behaviors, and serve as a teaching tool in applied fields such as medicine, art, and even science, the question remains: Can virtual reality be used to forge the ultimate bridge between two people?
What is more surprising is how these digital tools are going beyond the first stage, resulting in longer, more meaningful relationships.
(Heck, it’s in the very definition of the word.) And while Williams’s quest to change their minds on that score is admirable — visionary, even — a geolocation app is self-evidently not the way to do it.