Tag Archives: futurism

Fake News, AI, And The (Potentially Horrifying) Future Of Media

In one of the most iconic scenes in the famous movie/mindfuck that is “The Matrix,” Morpheus asked Neo a question that has perplexed philosophers, scientists, and stoners for centuries.

“What is real? How do you define ‘real’? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”

To this day, the answer to that question is incomplete. It’s just as much a mental marathon to Keanu Reeves as it was to Plato in the days of Ancient Greece. Plato had his famous allegory of the cave.  Neo had his existential breakdown after taking the red pill. Everyone else is just waiting for someone to resolve the debate over what is real so they can get back to playing fantasy sports.

The philosophical conflict over what is means to be real is an old, philosophical question with some pretty mind-bending implications. I’ve talked a lot about the frustrating limitations of the human brain, but I’ve tried to avoid some of the more metaphysical questions, if only because I favor stimulating genitals more than minds.

Avoiding these questions has actually been fairly easy for most of human history. That’s because, even in the era of mass media, we can usually trust our senses to tell us whether something is sufficiently real. Even in the era of Photoshop, we can usually figure out when someone is trying to polish reality to an extreme. Sometimes it’s painfully obvious.

Well, now find ourselves entering unknown territory beyond the so-called uncanny valley. We’re just starting to become more aware of the flaws in our brain wiring. Concepts like “alternative facts” and “fake news” are buzzwords that might as well have come from a George Orwell fever dream.

We may not be living in the world of “1984” yet, but we are experiencing the concepts behind it, such as doublethink and newspeak. It’s all too easy these days to find instances of politicians being hypocrites or debates over proper pronouns. These are all elements that undermine our ability to make sense of what’s real.

As hard as it is to understand reality in an era where people get into arguments over the color of a dress, it’s actually about to get even harder. In fact, it’s about to get so distressingly difficult that our caveman brains will be even less reliable than they already are. Those brains already convince us that we have a chance to win the lottery or date Megan Fox. It’s not equipped to handle greater challenges.

It may not have a choice because at the same time we’re adapting to this era of alternative facts and fake news, the pace of technological advancement is accelerating and giving us the finger as it passes us by. The growth of artificial intelligence is already accelerating, so much so that even brilliant people like Stephen Hawking are calling it an existential threat.

Even before we face the prospect of fighting real life terminator robots, though, there’s another issue we’ll have to deal with. Anyone who owns PlayStation 4 or X-box One already has a vague idea of what I mean. Long before computers become smart enough to enslave us, they’ll become powerful enough to fool our senses.

Recently, researchers at the University of Washington accomplished an amazing/terrifying milestone in computer science. They were able to use an artificial intelligence technology to create a completely artificial rendering of former President Barack Obama. Watch this video and you might have a better understanding of how Neo felt after he took that red pill.

It shouldn’t take a dirty imagination that spends a lot of time contemplating sexy stories to realize the implications. It’s hard enough figuring out what’s real, if anything, about a rant by Sean Hannity or a documentary by Michael Moore. How the hell are we going to trust any video image we see if there’s technology that can render images so perfectly that our brains can’t tell the difference?

The short answer is we can’t. The long answer is even more distressing. Picture a world where realistic videos depicting Justin Beiber waving his dick in the face of starving orphans in Uganda surfaces. Picture a world where a realistic video of Kim Kardashian choking a bald eagle to death. With this technology, it won’t just be possible. It might be unavoidable.

Let’s not lie to ourselves. People have agendas and they’ll go to absurd lengths to further that agenda. It’s easy to ignore someone standing on a street corner, wearing a faded Pink Floyd shirt and shouting from a soap box that the CIA is slipping crack into milk. It’s a bit harder when that same person can use a computer to create realistic video showing CIA agents working with washed up rappers on a secret farm in Montana.

We’re already seeing this technology in movies where long-dead actors are coming back to life for iconic roles. There’s no way it’ll stop there. There’s just too much potential for someone to further their agenda. In the era of fake news and alternative facts, we can expect plenty of that potential to be realized.

What does this mean for the future of media? Well, that’s actually pretty damn scary when you think about it. While the technology is still being developed, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes refined. Add this to growing improvements in computer graphics technology and suddenly, you can’t trust any video you see.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s something as simple as a speech by the President or Teddy Roosevelt fighting a grizzly bear. Who’s to say which is real and which is simulated? With enough computing power, both look equally real to our brains.

If you think you might be able uncover the truth through sound, then I’ve got bad news for you. There’s another AI in development that can simulate anyone’s voice, including those of politicians and celebrities. You want to hear Sean Spicer go on an anti-sematic tirade that would make Mel Gibson blush? With this technology, that’s entirely possible.

There may very well come a time in the near future when anything we see and hear from the media is potentially fake. We already have cases of the news media deceptively editing stories to spin the story a particular way. Can you imagine what they’ll do when they can just use a computer to create imagery out of nothing? It might end up giving Alex Jones a heart attack.

These advancements in computer technology couldn’t come at a worse time. Trust in the media is already at an all-time low. Trust in government has been in decline for a half-century. Once the media has tools with which to forge their own reality out of nothing, then people will have even less reason to trust them.

This goes way beyond fake news and propaganda. This technology will allow those in positions of power to literally mold reality in accord with their message. That’s a terrifying thought, especially to anyone who sees the kind of dishonesty that major outlets like Fox News and CNN have exercised.

Now, that’s not to say these false stories will be accepted by anyone with a functioning brain. However, and it’s worth belaboring, our limited human brains will still struggle. We can barely get through a season of “Lost” without getting a headache. What hope do we have in a future when it’s possible to forge a false reality on demand?

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Sex Robots, The Risks, And The Impact On Our Sex Lives

Talking about fascism and repressive governments is rarely sexy. I’ve yet to meet anyone whose panties ever got wet while talking about regressive free speech policies. You know what is fun, sexy topic to talk about, though? That’s right, I’m talking about sex robots again. Can you think of a better way to lighten the mood after all this political talk?

Traditionally, I don’t need a lot of reasons to talk about sex robots on this blog. I’ve even been known to make any excuse to talk about how sex robots will effect us, whether it’s how they’ll affect the prostitution industry or how they’ll make us better people. Granted, I do want to talk about something sexier than George Orwell, but there actually is a relevant reason for bringing up this sexy topic again.

It’s relevant because it tends to happen with all new technology to some extent. When there’s a clear trend emerging, it tends to generate this wave of irrational fear regarding its impact on society. We saw that with television when people though Elvis’ hips were part of a communist conspiracy to corrupt America. It’s only a matter of time before we see that with sex robots.

As such, it should surprise precisely no one that some people are already stoking the same fears about sex robots as their parents did with Elvis’ hips. This past week, the Salvation Army actually brought up the issue of sex robots and not in a very sexy way. These were their exact words.

It believes the technology could result in more people brought into the UK illegally for sexual exploitation instead of lessening demand for sex workers, the Birmingham Mail reports.

That’s not entirely surprising. Remember, the Salvation Army is a Christian organization. They do wonderful work, but religion have a long and stories history when it comes to sexual fear-mongering. The fact the Catholic Church still considers masturbation a sin in the age of internet porn shows how regressive religion can be on sexual matters.

It’s not just religion, though. Other more pragmatic organizations that don’t rely on people breeding uncontrollably expressed some concerns as well. A paper by Responsible Robotics, a non-profit that contemplates the sexy and non-sexy impact of robots on society, issued a paper called “Our Sexual Future With Robots” that expressed concerns similar to those of the Salvation Army. Here are some highlights.

“When we look at the question of whether or not sex robots could help to prevent sex crimes, there is major disagreement. On one side there are those who believe that expressing disordered or criminal sexual desires with a sex robot would satiate them to the point where they would not have the desire to harm fellow humans.”

“Many others believe that this would be an indulgence that could encourage and reinforce illicit sexual practices. This may work for a few but it is a very dangerous path to tread. It may be that allowing people to live out their darkest fantasies with sex robots could have a pernicious effect on society and societal norms and create more danger for the vulnerable.”

It sounds pretty dire. Then again, those fears about Elvis’ hips were pretty dire as well. Fears about cartoon violence, video games, and comic books were pretty dire as well. That’s not to say the concerns from Responsible Robotics and the Salvation Army are on the same level, but this kind of sentiment is nothing new.

I can see the logic behind these fears on some levels. The idea that people who fulfill their sexual needs with robots will somehow become socially isolated makes intuitive sense. It’s easy to imagine some creepy guy spending his every waking out in a windowless basement, acting out the most nauseating fantasies ever conceived with a sex robot that is programmed to be completely obedient.

It’s easy, but as is often the case with most fear-mongering, it focuses on an incomplete picture, of sorts. It simplifies and generalizes the impact that such a profound advancement would have on society. Given the sheer breadth of human society, that’s a crude, shallow understanding of the subject at best.

New technology always negatively affects some people. The simple advance of texting generated approximately 330,000 traffic-related injuries accidents in 2010 alone. It’s hard to know how many injuries sex robots will cause, but chances are it’ll be more than zero and heavily inflated if done while driving.

Despite the clear and documented harms of texting while driving, there’s no effort to un-invent the technology. It’s already here and it’s exceedingly profitable. Since the sex industry is already worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the incentives for sex robots are just too great to ignore, no matter how much religious organizations condemn it.

That’s not to say there won’t be issues. There are always issues with new technology. As advanced as smartphones had become, we still had faulty tech as recently as last year that caused some phones to explode. It’s terrifying enough to think about your phone exploding in your pocket. It’s hard to imagine how terrifying it would be if a sex robot malfunctioned in such a away.

Being an erotica/romance writer, I like to think I can imagine more than most. I also like to think that after hearing so many of the same arguments about video games, violent TV shows, and what not, I can sift the legitimate concerns from the agenda-driven fear-mongering.

Make no mistake. Sex robots will undermine certain peoples’ agendas. There are a lot of industries that cater to lonely, sexually frustrated men and women. It’s easier to convince a lonely, sexually frustrated person that a particular product will alleviate those feelings. Every marketing department in the world knows things get tougher when customers are happy, content, and satisfied.

There will also be cases of people who are already unhinged to begin with becoming even more unhinged due to sex robots. The rock band, Judas Priest, found that out the hard way in 1985 when two depressed teenagers listened to their music and committed suicide. While the band was found not liable for the deaths, it was still one case too many for the fear-mongers.

As soon as sex robots become more mainstream and more affordable, there will likely be a similar incident. Some poor loner will seek an outlet with a sex robot and somehow that will exacerbate, if that’s not too loaded a word, issues that are already festering inside his brain.

It could lead to people who become so isolated, they never leave their home again and end up dead.

It could lead to people who are so socially awkward that just being in public triggers a panic attack.

It could lead to people who can only have a functioning sexual relationship with a robot they can control and not a human being.

These are all possibilities and if I had to bet money on it, I’d say there will be at least one such case. Like the Judas Priest controversy, though, it’ll only take one to justify ramping up the fear-mongering. We may very well see governments and advocacy groups seeking to ban sex robots altogether or at least regulate them.

Seeing as how there’s too much money to be made in sex robots, it’s unlikely they’ll be banned. Chances are there will be some form of regulation or standards. Since the government is so uptight when it comes to regulating sexual matters, it’s more likely that the industry itself will try to regulate its own affairs. The last thing the industry needs is prudish bureaucrats telling sex doll manufacturers how big a pair of breasts can be.

It’s hard to say just how the sex robot industry will manifest. Unlike smartphones and TV, there’s far less precedent. While we do have sex dolls that are extremely realistic, we’ve yet to produce a sex robot that’s truly indistinguishable from the real thing and has a comparable measure of intelligence.

It will happen, though. The financial incentives are too strong and people are too horny. There will be issues. There will be reservations. However, we humans have proven incredibly adaptable over the centuries when it comes to bold new technology.

We adapted to cars and planes. We adapted to vaccines and contraception. We adapted to sexting and internet porn. We’ll find a way to adapt to sex robots. When people are that horny, they’ll find a way. It’s a beautiful, sexy thing that brings tears of joy to an erotica/romance writer’s eye.

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(Possible) Taboos Of The Future

Whenever I talk about the future on this blog, which is an awful lot for an erotica/romance writer, I always feel I need to make the same disclosure. I’ve made it before whenever I try to make predictions about the future. I still feel it’s worth making because I don’t want to give the impression that I’m smarter than I actually am.

Here’s the honest truth. Nobody knows for sure what’s going to happen in the future. Nobody knows for sure what kind of technological breakthroughs there will be. Nobody knows for sure how our understanding of physics, biology, and chemistry will change. Nobody knows for sure whether Kardashians will be broke and sell insurance tomorrow.

It’s the same advice I gave everyone frustrated by news, politics, and everything in between. Nobody knows anything. They can make educated guesses that may or may not be accurate. Some are far less educated than others. At the end of the day, though, nobody really knows for sure.

I say all this because I’m going to take a moment to predict and/or speculate on what sort of taboos we’ll have in the future. I talked a bit about taboos and why they exist. No matter how advanced we get as a society, relatively speaking, there will always be sort of taboo operating behind our social norms. Most of those norms will have to do with sex, gender, and how much poor people are screwed over.

Now, those dynamics might change when technology like brain implants or smart blood become sufficiently advanced. They might change even more if we adopt policies like a universal basic income. For our entire existence, as a species, we’ve been at the mercy of our caveman brains, whose wiring is basically set by the painfully slow processes of evolution. Once that changes, then all bets are off.

With that massive flaw in the dynamics of taboos, I’m still going to try and make a few predictions. If you think I’m stupid, dead wrong, or just plain trolling, then please know that I’m at the mercy as the same limits as everyone else. I’m just as capable of making a stupid predictions, just like the idiots who thought the internet was a fad.

So, with no illusions as to the accuracy of my predictions, here are the taboos that I believe we’ll see in the latter parts of the 21st century. Some of them deal with technology. Some of them deal with social policies. Yes, some even deal with sex. I’m sure that will shock no one. Whatever they involve, the issues are the same. These will be things that will carry with them an odd, but unique stigma for future generations.


Taboo #1: Having Babies The Old Fashioned Way

I’ve talked about artificial wombs before, primarily as a means of leveling the playing field between genders. Initially, the technology will be used to save infants born prematurely and help infertile couples have children. This is all technology that’s in development right now and we’ll likely see it refined within our lifetime.

It’s when you push it out beyond that when things get really interesting. At some point, using artificial wombs will be healthier, more efficient, and more convenient than old fashioned birthing. It’ll probably be a lot more comfortable too. Talk to any woman who has ever endured the joys of childbirth without pain killers and they’ll tell you how much they’d love to see technology like this advance.

So if there’s a method for making babies that’s safer, easier, and involves much less screaming, why would anyone opt to make babies the old fashioned way? That’s like people who opt not to drink unpasteurized milk, which is fraught with a lot of health risks.

We may come to a point where people who give birth naturally will be seen as irresponsible, reckless, and downright weird. Whenever the health of babies is an issue, taboos tend to follow. No matter how advanced we get as a species, our concern for the health of infants will still be an issue.


Taboo #2: Identifying As A Gender And NOT Going Through A Complete Transition

This taboo is something we’re already seeing, to some extent, with ongoing transgender issues. At the moment, most of those issues involve discrimination, harassment, and the “ick factor” that a lot of minorities tend to deal with at some point in their history. Those issues are relevant for a reason, but that reason will change considerably in the future.

At the moment, sexual reassignment surgery is a messy, expensive, tedious process that’s full of various risks. It’s also not entirely perfect. Transgender women still can’t give birth and transgender men still can’t father children. They can look like their preferred gender all they want, but the biological mechanisms within still won’t be the same.

With advances in biotechnology, especially advances like smart blood, we may advance to a state where we can basically shape-shift our bodies the same way Mystique from the X-men does. If someone wants to be a particular gender, then the technology will be there for them to make that transition so completely that nobody would ever know they went through such a transition.

When that time comes, the act of being transgender won’t be taboo. However, those who identify as another gender, but don’t go through a transition, may get their share of odd glances. That would be like someone offering you a limb you once lost and then refusing it. If you can be whatever gender you want to be, why would you continue to live in the wrong body?


Taboo #3: Allowing Yourself To Be Sick

This also ties into biotechnology and the advances we’ll make in fighting disease. Tools like CRISPR are already in development. There may come a time in the near future when nearly all disease, especially the infectious kind, is effectively cured.

So when those diseases are gone, why does anyone get sick? Why would anyone even allow themselves to get sick? Throughout history, society has had all sorts of rules and rituals as to how they treat the sick. A society full of sick people is an unstable society and it’s always in everyone’s interest to minimize that.

Like with those who drink raw milk or religious groups who refuse modern medicine, there may be a segment of people who choose not to use tools like CRISPR or smart blood. When those people get sick, they’ll likely be major anomalies in a society where most of these diseases are cured. Like someone getting measles again, it’s a dangerous act that will likely carry plenty of stigma.


Taboo #4: NOT Being On Some Form Of Contraception

This is where our sex lives come into play. Admit it, you know I was going to get to something like this. I’ve talked a lot about contraception and the future of birth control, often with plenty of side-notes as to how this is going to affect our sex lives and gender dynamics. Naturally, that’s going to include plenty of taboos.

In a future with artificial wombs to grow the population, the mere act of not being on contraception will be inherently risky. Pregnancy already kills a lot of women, even today with all our advanced medicine. In a future where we don’t need women to put themselves at that kind of risk to grow the population, why would society even encourage it?

While this may be outrageous for those currently locked in the pro-life/pro-choice debate, technology will change the dynamics. If birth control technology gets to a point where it’s safe, effective, and cheap, then it requires people to go out of their way to avoid using it. Like people going out of their way to avoid seat-belts, we’ll see that as irresponsible, reckless behavior.

This would definitely have huge implications for our sex lives. In a world where contraception is the default setting for everyone, people would likely treat sex as something separate from reproduction. We’ve already done this with food, thanks to technology, so it’s possible sex will undergo a similar process.

Like someone who tries to poke holes in condoms or get pregnant from a partner, which does happen, people who forego contraception will likely become deviants who disrupt the norms surrounding sex and reproduction. Deviants often put a face on taboos and it’s rarely a pretty face.


Taboo #5: NOT Being Healthy Or Physically Fit 

In the same way that not being on contraception will be taboo, not being fit could also become an anomaly that someone has to go out of their way to achieve. That’s hard to imagine now with obesity being a major issue throughout the industrialized world. Right now, the weight-loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that’s full of fads, diets, and pills that turn peoples’ insides into raging tire fire.

In the future, advances like smart blood will make obesity nothing more than a subject of niche genre porn. Even those without eight-pack abs can still be healthy and fit because enhancements to our biology and brains will make that as easy as downing a tub of ice cream on a hot summer day.

Biotechnology will basically allow us to hack the biology of our bodies and make it so we don’t have to eat and work out like the Rock to be fit. We just need something like smart blood in our bodies to let it know that we want it to look a particular way and anything that might make us not look that way should go straight to the colon.

In that future, one where women all look as fit as Jennifer Lawrence and men are all as toned as Hugh Jackman, being unfit and unhealthy would be a conscious choice rather than struggle. It would also make people more prone to health issues and illnesses that would burden a society full of beautiful people. That would definitely make it a taboo.

I’m not saying those who opts not to use this technology to look as sexy as possible are wrong or bad people. They may have legitimate, personal reasons for doing so. However, that choice makes the society around them seem less healthy and less sexy. That’s usually an easy way to become taboo and not look good while doing it.


These are just a few ideas. Again, it’s very likely they’ll be dead wrong. Most reading this blog might not even live long enough to see some of them. Either way, it’s fairly certain that we’ll still have taboos in the future that seem weird to every other generation that ever lived. It’s just a matter of how weird they get.

With that in mind, I’d love to hear what others think might be taboo in the future. Please let me know in the comments. If enough people submit them, I’ll do another post on this subject. I’d like this blog to be more interactive. This is just one opportunity for doing so.

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How Immortal Humans (Might) Make Love

At every wedding or marriage ceremony, we’ve all heard those sweet, romantic words. Two people stand before friend, family, and whatever deity they happen to worship, and pledge to love, honor, and be faithful to one another until death do they part. It’s a powerful romantic sentiment, one that holds a special place in our culture and our understanding of love.

It’s also a sentiment that’s becoming increasingly hallow because the divorce rates throughout the world are pretty staggering. It runs anywhere between 40 and 65 percent. If every promise someone made to you had a failure at that level, you’d never leave your house without a lawyer and branding iron.

As rough and agonizing as divorce can be, it exists for a legitimate reason. Staying married to the same person your entire life is hard. I’m not just talking about staying sexually monogamous either. Being with only one person, putting all your romantic and emotional energy into a single individual, is not easy. You’re putting your entire heart into one person’s hand and trusting them not to crush it.

It didn’t used to be that hard. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that it was a fairly pragmatic arrangement and by that, I mean as recently as the 1950s. I’ve talked about the history of marriage before and at the heart of that history is a sort of romantic pragmatism, if that’s even the right word.

For most of human civilization that have some form of marriage arrangements, people lived on farms or in small towns, rarely venturing more than fifty miles from their homes. Most of the time, people didn’t even choose their spouse. Their parents chose for them.

You weren’t expected to love each other. You only really had to tolerate each other and be willing to have children. Those are some pretty low standards, but that was all it took for a successful marriage, so to speak. Sexual fidelity was necessary for the woman to ensure the passage of property, but it was pretty much expected for men to have a few mistresses here and there.

Even with mistresses, this form of marriage worked because it was practical. Staying with one person your whole life made sense in a world where you barely ever left the farm or the town you were born in. Getting divorced, even if there was some cheating on the sides, just didn’t make sense. It was more trouble than it was worth.

Then, society changed, technology improved, and civilization revamped its idea of marriage. Instead of the low standards and cold pragmatics of the past, we needed our marriages to be built around the kind of ideal love that’s been in every Disney movie since 1944. We need a lover who is our heart, our soul, and our everything. They need to be the personification of a Barry White song mixed with a One Direction song.

Those are some mighty high expectations and I’ve mentioned how unreasonable they are. Add a little thing called “No-Fault Divorce” to the list, a legal term that rips men’s hearts out through their wallets, and suddenly that ideal of love is much trickier. Stories about couples who have been together for 70 years are endearing, but that’s because they’re the exception and not the norm.

There are still a lot of flaws to dissect in our current understanding of love and marriage. I’ll probably do more posts about that in the future. For this one, though, I’m afraid I have to dig deeper into those flaws and the implications are not good. I may end up painting a sad, unsexy picture about the future of our love lives, but bear with me. I’m going to try and inject a little hope and sexiness towards the end.

I’ve often speculated on how emerging technology like brain implants, biotechnology, and bionic genitals will improve and redefine our love lives, including the sexy parts. In my recent discussions about boredom among immortals, it revealed a relevant issue that we’re going to have to address at some point.

In a future where we can live for centuries, maintain our youth, and continue to enjoy a robust sex life, how will we go about love, sex, and marriage? It’s a legitimate question because there’s no way our current system can work. That system is failing without the impact of bionic genitals. What hope does it have when lovers become full-blown shape-shifters?

Beyond the way we look and our ability to have sex with bionic body parts, the immortal factor may be the trickiest. That’s because, as I’ve pointed out with characters like Vandal Savage and Superman, an extremely long life makes people more prone to crippling boredom. When people become bored, they tend to become dispassionate and that’s not a recipe for a functioning romance.

Couples already get bored with each other with stunning regularity. What happens when those couples start living to be 500-years-old and never get too old to attract new partners? The idea of “till death do us part” suddenly becomes woefully impractical. Despite what vampire novels might have us believe, monogamy for an immortal just isn’t practical. It might not even be that romantic, in the long run.

Romance and practicality aside, it’s still important to maintain those passionate connections between people, even if they are immortal. Without them, they’ll inevitably end up like Vandal Savage, who comes to see humans as aging meat-bags in dire need of his exploitation.

However much we enhance our bodies and mind, we humans are still a social species. We are also a passionate species. We seek love, intimacy, and connection with one another. No matter what the economics may say or what religious zealots may decree, we’re driven to find love and connection. When we become immortal super-humans, complete with smart blood and bionic genitals, that won’t change.

That begs the question, which also happens to inspire another sexy thought experiment. How exactly does a society of immortal humans go about making love and forging romantic bonds? That’s a difficult, if not impossible, question to answer, especially for an erotica/romance writer. If I could predict the future that well, I’d play the stock market and become a billionaire by next Tuesday.

However, being an erotica/romance writer, I’m pretty adept at coming up with sexy ideas with plenty of romance mixed in. Anyone who has read my novels knows this all too well. So here’s how I imagine a future society of immortal humans will make love.


Scenario 1: The Monogamy Scenario (But Not In The Way You Think)

As much as I poke fun at monogamy on this blog, I don’t discount its value or its beauty. I also don’t think it’s going away anytime soon. Even among immortals, there will always be certain individuals for whom monogamy just works. With human enhancement, though, it gets a badly-needed upgrade.

The monogamy I’m talking about isn’t the same monogamy you associate with your grandparents who have been married since the stone age. Monogamy in this, context, may also include sharing a mind link, not unlike Cyclops and Jean Grey of the X-men. Two people could be so committed to each other that they want to link minds and stay linked, effectively becoming a single conscious entity.

It may sound creepy, but it also takes monogamy to a whole new level. It also makes use of brain implant technology, like the ones being developed by Neuralink. Monogamy like this could be deeper on a level that would impress the Edward Cullens and Bella Swans of the world. It would be, by our understanding, a perfect monogamous union. You might think their sex would get boring, but it wouldn’t matter to them.


Scenario 2: The Family Scenario (Not THAT Kind Of Family)

Don’t flex your gag-reflex just yet. When I say “family,” I’m not talking about incest. I’ll leave that to the very specific, very targeted genres of porn that specialize in that sort of thing. For the purposes of this scenario, I’m going to use family in a way that it hasn’t been used before, at least outside of a creepy sex cult.

The family scenario focuses on a small group of tight-knit individuals. It may never be more than a dozen people of varying genders. These people may or may not have some sort of mind link via brain implant, sort of like the monogamy scenario. The difference is that this small group shares a collective loving bond.

They exchange intimacy, sex, and love amongst themselves. There aren’t any couples or hookups, per se. There’s no such thing as an affair or cheating. They all see themselves as a family unit, loving and supporting each other in addition to meeting their sexual and emotional needs. In a future of immortal, enhanced humans, I think this would probably be the most common scenario.


Scenario 3: The Community Scenario (Kind Of What It Sounds Like)

This one is less suggestive. It means almost what you think it means. In this scenario, larger groups of individuals, each with enhanced bodies, live or connect in a common way. That connection is fairly loose, though. They opt to maintain most of their individual autonomy, but they see themselves as part of one romantic unit.

Traditional, non-enhanced brains can’t function in that way without calling it an orgy. Brains that are enhanced, in that respect, are better able to see themselves as part of a larger unit. It could be among hundreds, if not thousands of people. They may or may not live in a similar area. However, they would all see themselves as romantically linked, just as most monogamous lovers today see themselves romantically linked.

There would be plenty of variety, in terms of sex. Finding a sexual and romantic outlet would be almost casual. It would be like a private sex club, of sorts, one where you get to skip all the small talk and flirting. With enhanced brains and bodies, it’s that much more effective. It allows for larger groups of people to function romantically without becoming a Jerry Springer episode.

I imagine a scenario like this would be pretty messy. It would strain even the breadth of human enhancement. For certain individuals, though, namely the ones who want to still be individuals, it would definitely appeal. They get the same love and sex they need. They also get to be their own person, even if they’re an asshole sometimes.


Again, these are just a few scenarios conjured by one aspiring erotica/romance writer and without the aid of a brain-enhancing neural implant, no less. There’s only so much I can speculate and even less I can do to speculate accurately. I’m good at thinking kinky, sexy thoughts and telling kinky, sexy stories with those thoughts. That limits my ability to predict the future, especially a future with enhanced brains.

However accurate, or inaccurate, my scenarios might be, the way we make love with our enhanced selves will be a big part of who we are and the society we inhabit. Chances are it’ll be nothing like anything we imagine and it’s entirely likely that ever religious group and social conservative will hate it.

It will happen, though. If history has taught us one thing, it’s that we’re constantly adapting to the crazy new situations we create for ourselves. Part of being human is seeking connection, love, and intimacy with others. As we embrace new technology, new ways of thinking, and new ways of life, our ability and capacity for love, sex, and everything in between will adapt with it.

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Superman Vs. Boredom: Why It Matters (For Your Love Life)

In talking so much about boredom, it can get kind of boring just dwelling on it so much. I don’t know if that counts as irony or a paradox, but I think it’s kind of poetic. The more we contemplate the impact boredom has on our lives and our society, the more we realize just how powerful it is and how quick we are to avoid talking about it.

We still don’t know the true impacts of crippling boredom on society because, for the moment, there are plenty of distractions, jobs, and obligations to keep people busy. Horrific stories like the murder of Christopher Lane, which was allegedly inspired by boredom, will continue to be rare and newsworthy, at least for the near future.

However, there may very well be future generations, including those that will emerge within our lifetime, that will have to deal with a growing glut of boredom. Between advances in biotechnology that will cure disease and the rise of automation, which may necessitate a universal basic income, this may be an issue that impacts us sooner than we think.

That brings me to Superman. Bear with me. I promise that’s not a non-sequiter. I’ve used comic book superheroes before to make my points, be they inspiration for one of my novels or examples of a sex-positive female character. I even cited comics when I singled out Vandal Savage as a villain forged by boredom. For the purposes of this post I need to cite him again, but Superman will be the primary focus.

Being the personification of our ideals and morals, the things that affect Superman also affect and I’m not just referring to kryptonite. If the epitome of our heroes and the icon of our most cherished values cannot handle a certain burden, then what hope do we have? That’s why when there’s a flaw with Superman, one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe, we need to take notice.

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In a sense, Superman and the immoral villain, Vandal Savage, are indirectly linked. They’re facing the same overwhelming burden and neither of them has found a way to effectively deal with it. The only difference is that Savage had a huge head start. Superman will catch up eventually and that’s where the true struggle resides.

Based on his current power set, which has been prone to change over the years, Superman is functionally immoral. So long as he replenishes his powers with the energy of a yellow sun, he’ll never age and he’ll never die. That puts him in the same boat as Vandal Savage, who never ages and can’t die. That also means that, at some point, he’ll have to deal with the burden of crippling boredom.

That’s a burden that DC Comics has never had him deal with. Like so many other oversights, such as how glasses can be an effective disguise, it’s one of those flaws that’s easier to just ignore. However, it has been confronted to some extent and the implications for Superman, the real world, and our love lives is pretty distressing.

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Again, that’s not a non-sequiter. I brought up our love lives for a reason and it’s not just because I’m an aspiring erotica/romance writer, although that is part of it. While we might not be immortal, our lifespan is increasing. There are emerging technologies that may very well make us functionally immortal. That’s going to, by default, affect our love lives just as it will affect Superman.

Nearly everyone, including non-comic book fans, know the extent of Superman’s love life. They may not know about that time he made a porno tape with Big Barda, but they know that Superman’s primary love interest is Lois Lane. His romance with Lois is, by nearly every measure, the most iconic romance in the history of superhero comics.

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While the romance has evolved a number of ways over time, the core themes remain the same. Lois Lane, being as human as they come, complements Superman in every meaningful way. She often acts as an emotional anchor of shorts, highlighting and strengthening the humanity within Superman. While she isn’t the primary source of Superman’s values, she is definitely a catalyst for strengthening them.

It’s a big part of what makes Superman so strong and so upstanding, with respect to his values. Lois Lane provides that sense of love and connection that reminds Superman that, despite being an alien, he has a strong sense of humanity. That is a humanity that Vandal Savage lost long ago.

While Superman’s romance with Lois Lane may be iconic, it still relies on one major flaw. Lois Lane, as beautiful, sexy, and charismatic as she might be, is still human. That means that at some point, she’s going to grow old and die. Superman may still love her all the same because he’s just that kind of person. However, she’s not immortal and he is. There’s just no way around that.

That’s not a primarily concern for him, though, because in the comics, Superman’s age is usually between 29 and 33 years old. There are some comics that explore an older version of him, but the bulk of his mythos is structured around him being the age of a typical man. That means, by default, the story can only cover a tiny sliver of Superman’s love life with Lois.

That has major implications because if Superman is functionally immortal, then he will outlive Lois Lane and that emotional anchor that helps him be the hero he is disappears. What will that do to him? Can he still be Superman without it?

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Vandal Savage’s descent into madness sets a dangerous precedent. It’s entirely possible that Savage had someone like Lois Lane in his life at some point. The man has been alive for 50,000 years old. The sheer breadth of his lifespan makes that entirely possible.

Unfortunately, or tragically in some respect, that love died because everyone around Savage dies. It’s not because he kills them. He just outlives them. Being immortal, getting attached to anybody means enduring heartbreak and loss.

Even if someone he loves dies peacefully in their sleep, he still feels that loss. People in general, when they lose loved ones, feel emotional pain no matter what the circumstances. I had a relative live into her late 90s and die peacefully. When I went to her funeral, there were still people with tears in their eyes.

Imagine how many times Vandal Savage has endured that over his 50,000 year lifetime. Is it any wonder that he lost his humanity and has such a lower regard for human life? For him, forming human attachments of any kind just guarantees more pain. Whether you’re a human or a worm, you do whatever it takes to avoid that kind of pain.

That brings me back to Superman. He’s only lived a fraction of the life of Vandal Savage. However, he’s in a far worse position because while Savage may be a genius, he doesn’t have anything close to the power set that Superman possesses.

Superman is not just immortal and smart. He possesses the kind of speed, strength, and agility that allows him to do anything, go anywhere, and master every skill. Whereas someone like Savage may take centuries to master something, Superman can do it in seconds. That means he’ll run out of things to do even faster than Savage. It will not take 50,000 years for Superman to be overcome by crippling boredom.

Someone like Lois Lane might be able to keep Superman human, at least in his young age. However, there are many occasions in the comics where Lois Lane’s death leads to Superman becoming distant, detached, and despondent. While their love may be strong, the influence is at the mercy of time.

That’s not to say Superman will inevitably become like Vandal Savage. Granted, there are stories where Superman goes completely insane and becomes the kind of super-powered tyrant that North Korean dictators aspire to be. There are others where he ages gracefully and helps make the world a better place. In a sense, Superman’s potential reflects the uncertainty that such boredom will incur on immortals.

That’s an important concept to grasp because, as we humans live longer, healthier lives, we’ll have to contend with some of Superman’s burdens. Some people may be able to live centuries and maintain a strong sense of humanity. Others may end up like Vandal Savage and see humanity as a bunch of perishable meat bags.

This has huge implications for both our love lives, as well as the attachments we make. If we start living long, near-immortal lives, why even form romantic attachments? Why bother when time is just going to destroy it in the long run? Will we abandon those passions because it only leads to more pain? Will a world of functional immortals be completely devoid of love?

It’s impossible to say for sure and that’s what’s so disturbing about it. If someone as good and pure as Superman struggles to deal with the impact of crippling boredom, then what hope do we have?

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Boredom: The Epidemic Of The Future?

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Back in August of 2013, a very heinous, very unusual crime made headlines around the world. In Dunkan, Oklahoma, a group of three teenagers allegedly murdered Christopher Lane, an Australian exchange student just out for a jog, in cold blood just because they were bored.

Think about that for a moment. A bunch of teenagers got so bored and were so desperate form stimulation that they resorted to cold-blooded murder just to get their adrenaline flowing. We, as a society, are so used to crimes of passion and desperation. They’re basically the premise of every episode of “CSI” and “Law and Order.”

The fact those shows keep getting renewed show that we have a certain concept of what inspires and propagates crime and deviance. People who commit these crimes usually have some sort of overpowering motivation that overshadows any sense of decency they have. They’re desperate for money, they’re hopelessly in love, or in some cases, they’re pathological psychopaths with fatal flaws in their biology.

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What makes the murder of Christopher Lane so horrifying is that it completely upends that narrative. The killers, in this case, weren’t motivated by revenge, money, or personality disorders. They were just bored.

That is extremely disconcerting because we’ve all felt bored at some point in our lives. There was this one time the power got knocked out at my house for nearly two days and I couldn’t do damn near anything. When it got dark and I had no more light with which to read comics, it got to be damn near agonizing. I never did anything stupid because of it, but this crime should give everyone pause.

The fact that we’re all capable of being exceedingly bored reveals a disturbing possibility. If three bored teenagers are capable of such a heinous act, then are others just as capable? Are we, personally, capable of such horror? Depending on how bored you’ve been in the past, that’s a disturbing question to even think about.

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However, it may become an increasingly relevant question in the future. Usually, when I talk about the future on this blog, I explore the more positive ramifications of our advances in technology. I talk about how this technology will cure infectious disease, enhance our cognitive abilities beyond our caveman limits, and improve our sex lives to amazingly kinky heights.

I know, at times, it sound downright utopian in my vision of the future. By our current standards, wherein we live in a world where 3.7 million children die before their fifth birthday, it certainly seems rosy by comparison. However, I stick my fingers in my ears and start singing John Lennon songs when I contemplate potential problems in that vision. This is one issue that’s easy to overlook, but has major implications.

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At this moment in history, society has a great many distractions in terms of entertainment and productivity. Most people have jobs, of some sort, to keep them busy. The three teenagers who killed Christopher Lee were on summer vacation and had nothing productive to do. It’s hard to know whether a part-time job at a fast food joint would’ve averted a murder, but they would’ve had to find a different excuse.

Whether you’re toiling in the fields of a small farm or running around an office like an episode of “The Office,” we’ve always had some kind of work to keep us, as a species, occupied. For most of human history, we had to work. If we didn’t, then we starved to death. It was that simple.

It’s another rare instance where caveman logic seems to apply equally across time and history. It doesn’t matter whether we’re hunter/gatherers or sweatshop workers putting together barbie dolls. We’re a species that’s wired to work. It may not always be the work we prefer, but we know why it’s necessary on some levels. We need to gather and manage our resources to survive.

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That, however, is where the chink in our boredom-busting armor might start. For most of human history, we’ve always had to work ourselves to the bone to keep our species and our civilization moving. That’s rapidly changing due to trends in automation. Add in the growth of artificial intelligencethe rise of 3D printing, and the possibility of lab-grown food, and suddenly we don’t need millions of people toiling anymore.

Now by most measures, it’s a good thing that we don’t need people to endure back-breaking labor just to get the bare minimum of sustenance. Most people would rather not work in fields of cow shit or work 12-hour shifts in a factory. They’d rather work a reasonable number of hours that provides them abundant leisure and family time. That’s wholly possible in a modern economy.

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However, at some point, technology will make even that reasonable set of hours won’t be necessary. Our ability to make our food, purify our water, and generate power might become so efficient that the amount of work needed is minimal. Given our tendency to screw up on the job, it may get to a point where having human workers is a liability.

It could lead to a huge mass of unemployment or under-employment. However, that wouldn’t mean everyone would have to live in poverty. On the contrary, it may eliminate poverty altogether because we could allocate the basic necessities of life so efficiently. Policies like the universal basic income, which I’ve talked about before, may effectively decouple the link between work and survival.

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This is all well and good for people who hate doing menial jobs for low pay, but it creates a situation that we, as a species, have never dealt with before. What happens to our bodies, minds, and biology when we don’t have to work at all and are subject to the constant threat of boredom?

That’s not entirely a rhetorical question. It’s also one of those questions that’s impossible to answer now, but might be possible to address in the future. We’ve never had a functioning society where nobody has to work and everybody has access to the basics of life, free of charge. It’s so unprecedented that it’s hard to know whether we’re even wired for it.

The ghastly murder of Christopher Lane implies that our minds and bodies don’t react well to boredom. It makes us think crazy thoughts, do crazy things, and act on crazy impulses. What else other than boredom can explain people dedicating so much time and energy into making paperclip chains?

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It doesn’t just reflect to our basic caveman settings. These are essential survival instincts that every species that has ever lived have built into their biology. Every creature, be it a lion or a dung beetle, dedicates a significant amount of its existence simply securing food, avoiding predators, and finding a mate. Given the never-ending competition of nature and evolution, there’s literally no time to be bored.

Humans are in an unprecedented situation compared to other species. We’re basically like players in a massive multi-player video game armed with cheat codes. We are so dominate, so powerful, and so adaptable that no other species has a prayer. Sure, a deer may kill an unlucky human every now and then, but deer are just not able to dominate the way humans dominate.

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The problem is that this undermines the very mechanics of evolution and survival instinct. What happens to a species where it doesn’t need those instincts to survive and reproduce anymore? With our tools and technology, humans can kill any predator and beat any disease.

That means our only concern would be reproduction. That might already be playing out to some extent. There have been some links, albeit weak ones, between adolescent boredom and teen pregnancy. When you think about it from a survival standpoint, it makes sense. If there’s no food to gather or predators to avoid, your next instinct is to mate. At the very least, having kids gives you something to do.

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However, technology may make that unnecessary as well. Between advances in contraception and artificial wombs, even that most basic instinct won’t be necessary for the propagation of our species. In that scenario, sex would have no reproductive purposes. It would just be another thing we do with our bodies when we’re bored. While that might mean more people get laid, it also means risking even more boredom.

Can we, as a species and as individuals, function with that kind of boredom? In a future where we have so few concerns to our survival, safety, and propagation, can we actually tolerate life? Again, it’s not entirely a rhetorical question.

Just imagine yourself in that situation. You wake up in a nice, comfortable dwelling every day. You don’t have to work. Anything you want to eat is readily available. If you want to have sex, there are apps to connect you with people or sex robots that make that as easy as ordering a pizza. You have all the time you want for hobbies, sports, and what not.

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It might be fun at first, but what happens when you get bored? How do you fill every hour of every day? What happens when you’ve read all your books, beat every video game, and collected every stamp? What will you do to entertain yourself?

That’s not to say some people will resort to the lengths that those teenagers in Oklahoma went to when they murdered an innocent man. However, the fact that this happened today when we’re still a long way from that rosy future is telling. It might even be a warning that we’re not prepared for the boredom pandemic to come.

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The Future Of Education (And The Demise Of Idiots)

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In his seminal book, “Outliers: The Story Of Success,” Malcolm Gladwell explored the factors behind some of the world’s most successful individuals. In that exploration, he stated that it took approximately 10,000 hours of correct, focused practice to master a skill. It’s an often-repeated rule espoused by athletes, artists, and YouTube stars.

It’s also somewhat debatable. If that figure really were accurate, then I should’ve mastered writing three years ago. I don’t think I have. I still find new ways to improve with every book and every blog post. I get the message of Gladwell’s rule. To get really good at anything, you do need to practice and practice well.

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Then, we see movies like “The Matrix,” where Neo mastered every martial art ever created in the span of a day. Even though it was a work of fiction, it presented a scenario where practicing a skill was for suckers. Neo didn’t have to practice anything. He just sat in a chair, plugged a gizmo into the back of his neck, and just like that he knew Kung Fu.

That scenario may have been pretty extreme at the time. Keep in mind, though, that the Matrix came out in 1999. Back then, a flip phone was still considered cutting-edge technology. A lot has happened since then and I’m not just talking about our ability to watch porn on the bus.

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The ability to upload knowledge directly into our brains, effectively learning a skill in an instant, is one of the most underrated technologies in science fiction. It’s never more than an afterthought or plot convenience at most. In terms of its utility and impact on human society, though, it’s right up there with flying cars and sex robots.

I’ve talked about the ongoing deficiencies of our education system and the human brain’s limitations when it comes to learning critical thinking skills. Now, I’d like to stop spitting on my own species and give everyone some reason for hope. I do believe that our species will one day make idiots, as we know them, a relic of the past, much like circumcision and the orgasm gap.

That’s because our species, despite its many limitations, is really good at one particular skill. That’s the ability to build tools. As we speak, the fine folks at DARPA, also known as the United State’s Military’s “mad science” division, is working on a form of accelerated learning that would make Neo proud, albeit unimpressed.

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It’s not the same as uploading a skill the same way we upload files to our phones. They call it Targeted Neuroplasticity Training, which is a fancy way of saying it seeks to directly stimulate the human nervous system to facilitate the learning of an advanced skill.

From a pragmatic standpoint, it makes sense for DARPA and the military to want something like this. A lot of time and money goes into training soldiers, pilots, officers, and operatives into mastering a specialized skill, be it flying a plane or interrogating a suspected terrorist. Not every military recruit has the skill or sex appeal of James Bond. Most have to work at it.

This new form of training will cut down on the amount of time soldiers and recruits need to learn various skills. Like many other advances that got their start in the military, it may only be a matter of time before this sort of technology finds its way into classrooms.

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There’s already a potential business opportunity, thanks to Elon Musk’s new company, Neuralink. I’ve already talked about the potential of how brain interfaces will make us smarter and sexier. The current research with DARPA will provide a viable method for using that interface to improve learning.

Once this technology matures, and there are plenty of financial and pragmatic incentives behind it, then we’ll have to completely rethink how we educate ourselves and our kids. Old methods like catchy nursery rhymes or standardized tests, which have a limited effectiveness at best, would instantly be obsolete.

The school of the future may not involve big, bulky buildings full of lockers, overpriced textbooks, and wedgies. It may just be a simple office building where an individual, be it a kid or an adult, sits down and links their brain implant to a computer. Then, through a mix of direct neural stimulation and machine interface, we learn the kinds of skills that used to take decades to master.

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That means every kid, from the age of five, can learn the kind of critical thinking skills usually reserved for college grad students and NPR talk shows. It also means learning technical skills like how to operate a computer, fix a car, build a birdhouse, or paint like Bob Ross are as easy as downloading an app to our phones.

Make no mistake. There are people working on the technology to download knowledge directly into the human brain. The incentives are just too strong and I’m not just talking about the military. Between big business and professional sports teams looking for an edge, the idea of just downloading a skill into a person has too many potential uses.

The impact this will have on society cannot be understated. It’s an impact that few, especially an aspiring erotica/romance writer, are equipped to imagine. Education is one of the few policies cited as a major tool against poverty. Also, a society of fewer idiots is a healthier society by nearly every measure.

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While education is, on orders of magnitude, much better today than it was 100 years ago, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. There are just so many practical and logistic issues that come with educating over seven billion people from different backgrounds, cultures, languages, and what not.

The ability to download knowledge and stimulate the brain directly could be the key to finally closing what remains of the education gap. That gap is still pretty wide and a huge factor in many unresolved issues, from job opportunities to sexual education. There are huge swaths of the population that still don’t know how condoms work.

As this technology improves, the barriers that keep entire swaths of people from knowing and understanding the world critically will crumble. That has major implications for the multi-trillion dollar education market, as well political parties that rely too much on idiots voting.

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It also has major implication for our love lives, our sex lives, and everything in between. Whenever I’ve talked about human enhancement, I’ve pointed out how smart people tend to make better decisions in both their love lives and their sex lives. In matters of intimacy, it makes sense to know how your partner’s genitals work. That’s just common sense.

The extent to which accelerated learning would affect our personal and professional lives is still hard to quantify. As society becomes more and more educated, we’ve had to rethink and re-imagine what it means to be in love or make love with someone.

Like Morpheus pointed out in “The Matrix,” though, our system of education is still governed by a set of rules and limitations. Our brains and bodies are still stuck on the same settings they were during our caveman days. We’re only beginning to unlock and rewire those settings.

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That means there may indeed come a day where won’t just be able to circumvent the 10,000 hours of practice that Gladwell espoused. We won’t even need practice in the first place. When that day comes, we’ll all be Neo.

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