It’s sort of “a dirty little secret” but I’m going to tell it anyway. There are certain things that drive technology forward. And, from the viewpoint of many, it’s frequently for the wrong reasons.
War is a huge push. Think of the jet engine, electronics (RADAR, communications, computers for ballistics calculations), rockets, aircraft, ships, photography (spying), optics, satellites, etc. All those because of wartime need.
Business of course is a bad word with some people and that “evil” concept of “profit”. Another big push for technology. Robots, computers, mechanical and electrical power for the factories.
But did you realize what a big push sex was? You certainly know that abstinence doesn’t create a market for new technology.
The first moving image I ever saw on a computer screen was a very simple, two-color image of a woman having sex with a man. I think I may still have that around someplace. The timing of the image was dependent on the speed of the processor and since at the time there was only one clock speed for the IBM PC, 4.77 MHz, it would run at something approaching “Warp 8” on today’s computers.
The push for better image quality (the first color graphics screen, the CGA, only had 16 colors) on the PC was not from conventional business. It was porn. Programmers did some amazing tricks (for example changing the palette between scan lines) to get better pictures of naked women.
It turns out Microsoft spent a lot of time developing Net Meeting (or some such thing, I forget the exact name now) for business needs thinking that major corporations would be their biggest customers. Well… it was “business” that first adopted it and had a lot of feedback for improving the first versions. In fact it was a variation of the “oldest business”, or should I say “oldest profession”, that pushed the early development.
Photography, from the very earliest of days, until the present is technologically pushed by pornography.
And what do you think people used the early VCR’s and video cameras for? It was for porn.
And the logical next step is being worked on right now:
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – When America’s top sex researchers gathered recently to discuss the next decade in their field, some envisioned a future in which artificial sex partners could cater to every fantasy.
“What is very likely to be present before 2016 would be a multi-sensual experience of virtual sex,” said Julia Heiman, director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University, Bloomington.
“There is a possibility of developing erotic materials for yourself that would allow you to create a partner of certain dimensions and qualities, the partner saying certain things in that interaction, certain things happening in that interaction.”
A field dubbed “teledildonics” already allows people at two remote computers to manipulate electronic devices such as a vibrator at the other end for sexual purposes.
“People who use it are just blown away,” said Steve Rhodes, president of Sinulate Entertainment, which has sold thousands of Internet-connected sex devices over the past three years. “This is not something that just the lunatic fringe does.”
“The Iraq war…was kind of a boom for our company.”
Gina Lynn, who writes the “Sex Drive” column for Wired magazine, says she has used and enjoyed the Sinulator and says there is no reason to fear the technology.
SEX WITH A PORN STAR
Entrepreneurs are also seeking to fuse explicit video imagery with real-life tactile sensation.
Brad Abram, president of XStream3D Multimedia, said his firm’s “Virtually Jenna,” an online game in which the player has sex with realistic cartoon of porn star Jenna Jameson, can link hardware devices following the action to genitalia.
“None of the big publishers will probably venture in there so we could be like the Hustler or the Playboy or whatever, the Penthouse of adult gaming,” the Vancouver, Canada-based Abram said. “Sex toys is a huge business.”
His service, without the hardware, costs $29.95 a month, and he said several hundred thousand people have tried the online sex game to date. He expects the hardware area of such simulations to grow rapidly.
ALL IN THE MIND
Going even a level further, other researchers say in decades to come advanced devices will be able to stimulate the brain to create a sexual experience without manipulating genitalia.
Marvin Minsky, a pioneer in the study of artificial intelligence dating back to 1951, said such devices could either trigger an actual physical response from the brain, or have the entire experience take place in the mind with the sensation of sex — but without the mess or risk of sexually transmitted disease.
“It’s bound to happen … and is not as far off as some people think,” Minsky, a professor emeritus at MIT, said of direct brain manipulation. “They are doing things with monkeys but it is not a big world-class industry yet, so that could take 20-30 years.”
“But if the game (industry) people got involved in some underdeveloped country that didn’t have any laws against it, it could all happen twice as fast.”