Tag Archives: human enhancement

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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A Second Sexual Revolution: The (Sexy And Non-Sexy) Possibilities

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Every revolution in history thought theirs was to be the last. They thought when all was said and done, the radical change they brought to society would be vindicated, ever-lasting, and celebrated. Through the harsh lens of history, those behind those revolution all have one thing in common. They all thought wrong.

Whether you’re fighting for the right to marry a squirrel or marching with Vladimir Lenin himself, those behind a revolution are often blinded by their ideals. They see the change they’re seeking as a new and proven method for fixing society’s many ills. Seeing as how every society in every point in history has had many ills, they’ve had a lot to work with.

That was the case with the sexual revolution of the 1960s. However, I explained in another post how this so-called revolution followed the basic formula of many other revolutions. Those revolutions are now pages in history whose effects have been either tempered, rebuked, forgotten, or overlooked.

It’s impossible to predict when, where, and how a revolution will unfold. The why, though, is almost always the same. There’s something insufficient about the current state of affairs. Whether it’s the government, the economy, or trends in movies, there’s always some sort of deficiency. With sex, the rules are unique, the stakes are higher, and the impact spans everything from how we do it to what we wear to get it.

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At some point, there will be another “sexual revolution” of sorts. It probably won’t be called that. You won’t turn on the news one day and hear that another sexual revolution has begun so everyone should stock up on stilettos and lube. As time passes, though, and we can look back with painfully clear hindsight, we’ll see just how revolutionary it was.

It’s not a guarantee. Nothing is when you speculate about the future. However,  current trends in technology are taking us down a similar path to the sexual revolution we saw play out in the 1960s. As those trends achieve certain milestones, our sex lives will be impacted. After that, all bets are off.

I’ve already talked about a few of these trends and their very sexy possibilities. The field of human enhancement, particularly with advances like smart blood, could give us superhuman endurance, beauty, and sex skills. A world where men and women can hump like porn stars on crack is definitely revolutionary.

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That advance is a ways off, though. Others like new forms of long-lasting contraception and new disease-fighting agents like CRISPR would bring their own brand of change. Some are even already here. There are two men living this planet who have a bionic penis. If you think that’s not going to cause some revolutionary ideas, then you’re underestimating how much inspiration men draw from their penis.

All these amazing advances are emerging at a time when we, as a society, seem to be getting more sexually uptight. We already saw how technology, specifically the advent of antibiotics and modern contraception, helped spur the sexual revolution of the 60s. So what kind of revolution will these advances inspire?

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Again, it’s impossible to predict. I’m an aspiring erotica/romance writer. I’m as qualified to be an oracle of the future as I am an astronaut brain surgeon. That said, since I write so much about sex on this blog and in my novels, I like to think I have some insight.

If a second revolution does start, it’ll do so when technology like CRISPR develops to the point where every nasty infectious disease that kept our collective panties on gets cured. That will eventually happen. The first sexual revolution in the 60s saw the end to some of the nastiest diseases we ever endured as a species. It just came too late for men like Al Capone.

As soon as we enter a world where there’s no debilitating disease like syphilis or AIDS to terrify us between the sheets, that will change the game. At the moment, we dedicate significant resources to teaching horny teenagers about the dangerous diseases they can get if they have more sex than what religious authorities and registered republicans deem appropriate.

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So what happens when those diseases are cured? Well, it’s going to certainly terrify parents who don’t want to think about their precious babies getting sweaty, naked, and loud as they indulge in the kinds of decadent orgies usually reserved for Roman emperors. Some will rally against it. Some may even try to prevent these diseases from being cured. That didn’t work in the 60s, though. I doubt it’ll work in the 21st century.

Without disease, the only real consequence people will have about sex is unplanned pregnancy. However, that too might become an afterthought thanks to advances like Vasalgel, which will likely enter the market within the next five years or so. Add this on top of improvements to IUDs, as well as advances in artificial wombs, and then pregnancy becomes a non-issue.

That’s not to say that sex won’t have risks. Even without the potential anxiety of disease and unplanned pregnancy, there will still be issues between the sheets. If there isn’t, we’ll create them. That’s what we humans tend to do with our caveman brain. Then again, with the emergence of brain enhancements, such as Neuralink, that too might be mitigated.

This is all assuming there won’t be other major trends in technology or society that nobody, especially not an aspiring erotica/romance writer, is able to anticipate. There’s a virtual 100 percent chance guarantee that such an assumption is wrong. Even if we can’t make that assumption, we can still entertain some sexy speculation.

That’s where the prospect of a second sexual revolution gets interesting/scary. It’ll arouse some while making others put on an extra pair of panties. That’s also where being an erotica/romance writer gives me an edge because it gives me a chance to blur the line between fantasy and reality.

Perhaps the second sexual revolution will involve a new concept of what it means to be monogamous with someone. That concept may actually not involve sex, weddings, or legally binding documents either.

Perhaps the second sexual revolution will emphasize intimacy more than basic pleasure. With no concerns about pregnancy or disease, along with enhancements to the body and brain, we can focus entirely on being intimate with our partner.

Perhaps the second sexual revolution will expand and enhance the pleasure we experience. Between brain enhancements and biotechnology, the orgasms we feel today may be a mild tingle compared to what we experience in the future.

Perhaps the second sexual revolution won’t just emphasize pleasure between two people. We may end up forming intimate groups, linked together by a shared love and possibly shared thoughts.

Perhaps the second sexual revolution will actually temper our sex drives so that we can better channel it. We may emphasize control over expression, preferring quality over quantity with the aid of brain enhancements and biotechnology.

There are all possibilities. There’s very little chance that only one manifests. There’s a better chance that we’ll see bits and pieces of these ideas converge to create something that we simply can’t imagine right now with our caveman brains. It’s an inherently sexy idea with many implications, both sexual and otherwise.

So what do you think a second sexual revolution will bring? What can we expect in a world where technology and medicine expand our ability and understanding of sex and intimacy? I don’t usually get a lot of comments on this blog, but I’m very interested in hearing new ideas on this topic.

So please take the time to share your thoughts on this issue. I think it’s definitely worth discussing, if only to give me more excuses to talk about sex robots.

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The (Hopeful) Features Of My Future Brain Implant

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In talking so much about the possibilities and implications of brain implants, like the ones Elon Musk wants to build with his new company, Neuralink, I’ve strained my own brain trying to grasp the bigger picture. I don’t know if that counts as irony, but it feels oddly appropriate.

It’s an exciting topic to write about and discuss. The idea that we may one day think beyond the limits of our crude, error-prone caveman brains is so intriguing. So many of the problems we face today, both as individuals and as a society, can be attributed in some way to our collective brain workings. What will happen to us an those around us when those workings are tweaked?

It’s hard, if not impossible, for us to know for certain. I’m sure someone like Elon Musk knows more than an aspiring erotica/romance writer like me. I’m sure he sees the same societal conflicts we all do and understands that his company, Neuralink, will be the first step towards transcending them.

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Having contemplated the bigger picture and all the implications that come with it, I thought I’d take a step back and try a different mental exercise. Hopefully, it’s one in which other regular readers of this blog can participate. It involves a much simpler, less mind-bending thought experiment. If you can make a Christmas list, you can participate.

It involves a simple question. If you could create your own advanced neural implant to tweak/enhance your brain, what kinds of features would it have? Take yourself 30 years into the future. Put yourself in a Neuralink clinic. Someone has kindly paid for the best, most customization neural implant on the market. What would you want it to do?

There are so many aspects of our lives that our brain controls. Everything from our attitudes, our competence, our happiness, and even our capacity to love others begins in our brains. Every skill we have or want to have requires some aid from the brain. Any effort to tweak or enhance that is going to affect all of those features.

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To get things started, I’ll share my own personal wish list. It will likely be different than everyone else’s to some extent, but I’m sure there will be some similarities to. So here’s Jack Fisher’s top features for his future neural implant. I hope Elon Musk is taking notes.

  • The ability to remember, recall, and comprehend anything on demand, ensuring nothing is forgotten.

  • The ability to do advanced math in my head so I can calculate complex financial decisions on the spot and/or check the claims made by others.

  • The ability to read over vast quantities of text, be it a novel or a user agreement, and retain the information at greater speeds.

  • The ability to revise and edit large quantities of text quickly and efficiently.

  • The ability to process emotions faster and read the emotional queues of others with far greater efficiency.

  • The ability to focus on a given task and not be easily distracted.

  • The ability to learn or download new languages on demand to facilitate communication with others.

  • The ability to learn or download new mental or physical skills on demand.

  • The removal of any prejudicial inclinations or irrational assumptions when encountering a new person or situation.

  • The ability to minimize the need for sleep and improving the quality of sleep.

  • The improvement and enhancement of sexual function, including the ability to perform and sustain sexual arousal, as well as the ability to experience more intimate sensations.

  • The ability to communicate directly with the minds of others with a similar neural implant in order to share experiences, thoughts, and emotions.

  • The ability to search the internet for new information with only thoughts.

  • The ability to link my mind with a computer and turn my thoughts into text or images.

I know this is a long list of reasons, some of which are more feasible than others. I’m sure features like memory and math skills will be among the first major features of neural implants. I imagine features that improve sexual function will be next. If any technology can improve sex, then that’s going to have priority. That’s just an inescapable fact.

Other features like downloading knowledge and skills will probably be trickier. I imagine we won’t have that ability for decades. However, there are still plenty of smaller, more subtler abilities that would definitely enhance our everyday lives. Just being able to focus better without the aid of dangerous ADHD drugs is a pretty big deal.

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That’s just my list though. What about everyone else? What would you want your advanced brain implant to do? How would you improve the functioning of your caveman brain? Please share your wish list in the comments. If you want to open up this discussion even more, let me know. I’ll be happy to expand it because it’s just that interesting/sexy.

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Neuralink: How A Brain Enhancement Will Make Us Smarter (And More Romantic)

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It’s a sad/annoying fact of life. Most of us don’t have photographic memories. Unfortunately, most of our public schools and every major testing system they use works under the assumption that we are capable of retaining vast amounts of semi-trivial information and spitting it out on demand. Then, the people who run these schools are shocked when students complain.

Think back to the class you hated most in school. How much memorization did that class require? Unless you have a really good, semi-photographic memory, chances are you were expected to be half-machine to succeed. You had to spend no less than two hours of your day with flash cards, forcing your brain remember things it doesn’t want to remember. In the grand scheme of things, how productive was that time?

For me, the class I hated most was my Spanish class. I had one of those teachers that basically expected us to memorize a Spanish dictionary. Unless you actually grew up in Spain, it was about as pleasant as getting a rectal exam with boxing glove. Needless to say, I don’t speak a lick of Spanish anymore.

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Now I do have a fairly good memory. Ask me anything about a particular comic book character and chances are, I’ll tell you everything about that character, who they’ve hooked up with, and how many times they’ve been killed off and brought back to life. Ask me to translate a paragraph in Spanish on the spot and you’re bound to be disappointed.

This spotty memory that plagues high school students, adults, and people who just can’t keep track of their keys is an unavoidable part of modern life. It can even hinder our love lives. How many men have been denied some tender lovemaking because they forgot their lover’s anniversary, birthday, or favorite pizza topping? It’s downright tragic.

These limitations aren’t just the byproduct of stupidity. There’s a very good reason why we all don’t have photographic memories. There was no evolutionary need for them until very recently. Our bodies and brains evolved to prioritize survival, reproduction, social cohesion, and spacial awareness. The fact there are over 7 billion of us on this planet now shows that those priorities were not misplaced.

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However, the world is getting more complicated. Society is becoming more complex than our caveman brains can make sense of. That’s why we have entire populations that are still woefully uneducated, which effectively guarantees that they will be left behind and impoverished.

It’s a sad situation because education is difficult when you’re dealing with caveman brains. It takes considerable resources to teach people and those resources are often finite, even in the era of the internet. Even resources like Khan Academy can only go so far.

So how do we fix this situation? A society that has a large population of impoverished, uneducated people is not a stable one, as the 2016 Presidential Election proved. Well, a solution is already in the works and it has even larger implications for our personal lives.

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Enter Neuralink again. Yes, I know I dedicated an entire article explaining why it’s the most important venture in the history of the human race. However, there’s no way I could explore the implications in just a single post. There are so many aspects about this venture with amazing possibilities that I need multiple posts to do it justice.

In case you’ve forgotten, which is entirely appropriate given the context of this post, Neuralink is a new company by tech mogul/Tony Stark wannabe, Elon Musk. The goal of the company is to create a line of neural implants that will go directly into peoples’ brains and fix or enhance their function. It’s a market that doesn’t exist yet, but one that is as untapped as a diamond mine on Mars.

Neural implants are not entirely new, but much like the electric car before Musk, they’re not well-developed. At the moment, most of the research is going into creating implants for people whose brain has suffered damage from an injury or stroke.

That’s an entirely noble use of technology, but let’s face it. We humans, especially billionaire businessmen like Musk, aren’t satisfied with just healing the sick. We also want to enhance the healthy. That’s where the potential of neural implants gets really exciting and even a little sexy.

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Think back to that class you hated so much in high school. Now imagine, if you can, that you just got the latest implant from Neuralink. The implant basically acts as an upgrade to your memory, taking it from caveman mode to one that’s actually useful in the 21st century.

That doesn’t just mean you now have a photographic memory. It also means that your brain can make connections and process concepts faster. It’s one thing to just spit out a Spanish translation of a passage from Shakespeare. To actually comprehend it and be able to analyze it faster is where the real benefits set in.

Suddenly, you don’t need expensive schooling or teachers with PHDs from Ivy League schools to effectively learn a concept. You can read a certain book or watch a few videos from Khan Academy and just like that, you know it. You can learn six grade levels worth of math in just under a year. Sure, you’ll probably be an annoying smart-ass, but you’ll have a wholly valid reason.

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Economically speaking, it would be a diamond mine on top a gold mine on top an oil well. Even if the neural implant costs around $10,000, that’s still less than it cost to educate one American student for a single year. Just like that, education doesn’t just get cheaper. It becomes as easy and efficient as watching a few YouTube videos, something our current generation already is very good at.

With Neuralink, education becomes so much easier and so much more efficient because now it doesn’t have to circumvent our exceedingly flawed caveman brains that only want to survive, reproduce, and avoid hungry bears. Beyond the education, there’s also an even greater implications.

Just being able to memorize facts, equations, and Taylor Swift songs is all well and good, but there are other forms of intelligence that a neural implant could affect. Our brains are also the mechanism through which we process emotions. That’s a skill that schools struggle to teach even more than calculus. Emotional intelligence is a thing and it plays a huge role in how we get along as a society.

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Think back to a time when someone had an emotional breakdown in a very public place. If you’ve been around teenagers in any capacity, chances are you’ve seen more than one. What you saw was a clunky human brain that struggled to process a vast array of emotions. With a neural implant, those kinds of breakdowns become less likely.

So what happens when you combine emotional intelligence with a robust education? That’s where the erotica/romance writer in me gets really excited because that’s a perfect foundation on which to build love. That’s not some coy way to add sex appeal to this exciting technology. That’s a real impact and one with plenty of inherent sex appeal.

According to research by Pew, couples who are both college educated are much more likely to have strong, lasting marriages. That should surprise no one. When you’re smart and educated, you’re better-able to forge a lasting, loving partnership with someone. Being uneducated means more chances for stupidity and stupidity tends to kill romance faster than a clogged toilet.

Now, imagine further enhancing that education and that ability to process emotions. Put it in the brains of two people seeking love, lust, and everything in between. How much depth and passion would emerge in such a romance? What kind of sex life would a couple like that have when they know both the breadth of their emotions and the intricate workings of each others’ anatomy?

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Imagine a society that has these kinds of brains fueling this kind of romance. How much sexier would that society be? In that sense, Elon Musk will have ushered in a new era of love and passion, while probably making himself a few more billions. It’s a promising, romantic, inherently sexy future to contemplate.

I do hope I live long enough to see it manifest. I also hope to craft a few sexy novels along the way. Hopefully, Musk reads one of them and gets a few other sexy ideas. I say that any future that involves enhancing our ability to love one another and make love is one that’s worth pursuing.

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Neuralink: Elon Musk’s Latest Business And Why It’s The Most Important Venture In History

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There are a number of things I belabor on this blog. I constantly bring up my love of X-men, sleeping naked, and Jennifer Lawrence. No, I’m not going to apologize for that. Expect me to belabor those things as much as I damn well please. However, there’s one thing I tend to belabor more than most and for a good, wholly relevant reason.

I’ll say it again and I’ll keep saying it for as long as it remains painfully relevant. Our collective brains are painfully limited. For the past 10,000 years, we’ve been stuck in caveman mode. So much of our society and world has changed. Unfortunately, our brains might as well be stone tablets trying to compete against a top-of-the-line smartphone.

There are a lot of problems in this world that can be chalked up to the faulty wiring in our brain. Everything from the failures of democracy, the prevalence of religious dogma, and the rise of the Kardashians can be attributed to the inherent flaws in our brains.

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We’re just not wired for the civilization we’ve created. Our brains evolved on the plains of the African savanna. They’re optimized to function in small bands of closely-knit hunter/gatherer societies, wired to prioritize survival and reproduction over knowing our multiplication tables. Remember that the next time a math teacher gets snippy with you.

That method of operation worked damn well for thousands of years, but conditions have changed. We humans needed to grow, create cities, and build civilizations to survive. Unfortunately, our brains stayed stuck in hunter/gatherer mode. It’s like being stuck with the earliest version of Windows and never being able to update.

It’s frustrating to think about. It’s even tragic, knowing that all these problems have a basis in the wiring of our brains. We can do a lot to work around it, but we can never seem to avoid it and that’s a problem. If we can’t get around the base programming of our biology, what hope do we have? Are we doomed to a future of reality TV, professional trolls, and fake news?

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Well, we can’t do anything about it at the moment. However, I’d like to offer a ray of hope. It’s actually part of a story that slipped under the radar in recent weeks, most likely due to everyone still processing how Bill O’Reilly got away with so much sexual harassment over the course of 13 years. That might be for the best because it’s impossible to understate the implications.

It has to do with a guy named Elon Musk. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. He’s a businessman, engineer, investor, and inventor. He created PayPal, founded Tesla Motors, is the CEO of SpaceX, and is worth an estimated $13.9 billion. He’s the closest thing the real world has to Tony Stark from Iron Man. In 2016, Forbes voted him the 21st most powerful person on the planet.

Some people like to dream about the future. This guy is actively creating it and making himself exceedingly rich in the process. He’s a perfect cross between Warren Buffet, Albert Einstein, and Nikola Tesla is what I’m saying. If that’s not superhuman, I don’t know what is and that’s coming from a comic book fan.

Well, as accomplished as Musk is, the man just has to overachieve in the most obscene way possible. Creating awesome cars, space ships, and pollution-free power just isn’t enough for this guy. He just has to find new ways to make us all feel like losers. However, his latest venture may end up being the most important venture in human history.

No, that’s not a typo. That’s not me talking in hyperbole either. I mean it. What Musk plans to do with this venture may very well be the most important thing any human being has ever done since the invention of fire, electricity, and internet porn. It may actually hold the key to our survival, both as a society and as a species

It’s called Neuralink. Late last month, Musk announced the creation of this company in Dubai. It has a simple, but monumentally ambitious mission. According to the Walls Street Journal, that mission is as follows:

The company, which is still in the earliest stages of existence and has no public presence whatsoever, is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the eventual purpose of helping human beings merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence. These enhancements could improve memory or allow for more direct interfacing with computing devices.

No, it’s not a rejected side-plot from the Matrix. This is happening in the real world. If it sounds like something that only Star Trek fans would talk about in between arguments about whether Captain Kirk could kick Captain Picard’s ass, then resist the urge to roll your eyes for just a few minutes. This really is that important.

A while back, I speculated on ways in which we could improve the wiring on our caveman brains. That was just a thought experiment though, not unlike my regular speculations on the prospects of human enhancement. I explore these issues with the understanding that they’re just ideas. There’s no time table in place for this sort of futuristic stuff to actually happen.

Well, now there is and Elon Musk, a man with an established track-record at making technology his bitch, is setting the stage for the kind of future that only once existed in the twisted thoughts of aspiring erotica/romance writers. It’s not some fancy experiment among sci-fi geeks. It’s an actual business enterprise by a man who knows how to use technology to make a fuckton of money.

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What makes Neuralink such a big deal is that it’s not just giving human beings another fancy tool for our caveman brains to use. It’s actually bypassing the caveman part and looking to hack the wiring that’s so badly in need of an upgrade. Beyond that, he wants to do that in a way that’ll turn a profit.

Make no mistake. There is money to be made here. Musk wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about it if it weren’t. The biotech industry is already a $157 billion industry, but it doesn’t have that high a profile because it lacks a “killer app,” so to speak. The industry is very much akin to the smartphone industry back in the early 2000s. It’s growing, but there’s no iPhone yet to really kick it into high gear.

Well, Elon Musk looks to do for biotech what Steve Jobs did for smartphones. Brain implants, like smartphones, do exist. They’re just very limited right now. It’s a very nascent technology, but the science is there. It is possible to put some type of computer hardware into the brain and have it effect the brain in some way.

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At the moment, those effects are limited, just as smartphones were in 2002. With Musk leading the charge, those effects will definitely expand. Musk isn’t just looking to create implants that will treat stroke victims or mental illness. He’s serious about enhancing the human brain as a means of keeping pace with technology.

We know he’s serious because back in 2015, he signed an open letter with Stephen Hawking and a dozen other men who are way smarter than most of us will ever be expressing concern about the growth of artificial intelligence. Musk isn’t among those who thinks we’ll ever have to fight off actual Terminators, but he does see artificial intelligence as a potential existential threat to the human race.

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He’s not wrong either. He and many others understand that we humans are still cavemen running around with clubs trying to make sense of all the crazy things we experience. Our intelligence is severely limited by those caveman settings. A sufficiently intelligent machine really wouldn’t need to do much to outsmart us. It would just need to convince us that it had a video of Kim Kardashian going down on Justin Bieber.

Practically speaking, the only way we humans stand a chance at co-existing and thriving alongside artificial intelligence is to augment our own intelligence. To do that, we need to effectively hack and enhance the brains that struggle to determine whether Alex Jones is a credible news source.

It won’t happen over night. According to Musk, the first few products from Neuralink will specialize in treating stroke victims and those who have sustained brain damage. However, that’s just a step in a much larger process. Once we have products that can treat damaged brains, then we can make products that enhance healthy brains.

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It used to be we only needed cell phones for emergencies and drug lords. Now, we they have so many uses that enhance our lives. What kind of enhancements can we expect from something that actually affects our brains directly in ways that hypnotists and subliminal advertising can only dream of?

That is a very interesting and very sexy question. I hope to explore some of these questions in future posts, but I think it’s important to highlight just how huge Neuralink could be for the future.

Ford helped usher in the era of cars. Apple helped usher in the era of personal computing. Neuralink could usher in an era that will fundamentally change what it means to be human. It’ll also probably make Elon Musk another fuckton of money, but if it means saving the future of our species, I’d say he’s earned it.

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Sharing Thoughts: The Ultimate Intimacy?

What would you do if you could share your most intimate thoughts directly with your lover? That’s not a rhetorical question. That’s not another one of my sexy thought experiments either. It’s a real, honest question that may end up having major implications in the real world.

I like to keep up with technology. I’ve always been interested in what the future holds. However, I’m one of those guys who likes to contemplate how this future technology will impact our sex lives. It’s not just because it makes for some crazy sexy thoughts. As an aspiring erotica/romance writer, it helps give me new ideas. Some have already found their way into my novels, namely “Skin Deep.”

So why does something like sharing thoughts seem so relevant? It’s not like it’s a new idea. Sharing thoughts, or telepathy as some call it, is already a major part of popular culture. From movies like “Inception” to iconic superheroes like Charles Xavier from the X-men, it’s just one of those fun concepts that makes for interesting plots, but doesn’t exactly surprise anyone anymore.

That could change one day though. In fact, that day may come sooner than you think. Brain-to-brain communication, or techno-telepathy if you want to call it that, has been under development for a long time now. It’s not just so we can share our dirtiest fantasies, including those that involve clowns and steel dildos. There are major medical applications to this concept.

Earlier this year, the first major tests in brain-to-brain communication allowed two humans to exchange thoughts, albeit in a very limited fashion, to answer a series of yes-or-no questions. This isn’t David Blaine playing mind games with card tricks. These are ordinary people using extraordinary technology to share thoughts. For those trapped in comas or paralyzed by strokes, this technology is critical.

While I’m all for helping those in comas or those who are paralyzed communicate, I think the larger implications of techno-telepathy are more enticing, especially when applied to our love lives. All technology starts out bulky, expensive, and limited at first. Then, once it matures and people realize it has profitable, non-medical uses, it gets more compact and efficient. It happened with smartphones. It can happen with techno-telepathy.

This technology may still be a ways towards maturing, but it’s no longer something that’s just on the drawing board. This technology has already come out of the womb and is starting to grow. All the incentives are there. It’s just a matter of time and energy.

So going back to my original question, what would you do if it were possible to share your intimate thoughts with another? What kind of thoughts would you share? Would it make you and your partner closer? Would it make them run away in disgust, traumatized that anyone could think about their old history teacher in that sort of way?

Granted, there may be some awkward moments. The entire first half of the movie “What Women Want” explores those moments. However, we humans are capable of overcoming awkwardness. If we can overcome puberty, we can overcome pretty much very kind of awkwardness that doesn’t involve our mothers and the delivery guy.

There’s also a pragmatic element to sharing thoughts with someone. Poor communication is one of the quickest ways to kill a romance that doesn’t involve bankruptcy. Poor communication, or a failure to understand the context of someone’s words, isn’t just damaging to our love lives. It’s basically the plot to half of every episode of every sitcom and romance movie ever made.

It happens so often that we think it’s normal. Two people are in love. They want to build a relationship. They struggle because someone says something that gets taken the wrong way. They can’t be sure what they meant or how they meant it so they get all upset and agitated about it. Hilarity, heartache, and entertainment follow, usually culminating in some big romantic speech by Hugh Grant at the end.

Pretty much all of that crap could be avoided if those involved could just share their thoughts. There would be no ambiguity. There would be no doubt, uncertainty, or reservation.

Imagine a relationship where you knew your partner really loved you. They weren’t trying to get your money. They weren’t trying to impress their parents. They weren’t secretly gay or bisexual. They just really love you and you didn’t have to doubt that. What would that mean for your relationship and others like you?

If we live in a world where we can share our most intimate thoughts, then would that strengthen our romantic bonds? Would that reduce the amount of stagnant, passionless relationships? Would it also necessarily undermine the privacy of our thoughts?

These are all important questions to contemplate, especially for those of the coming generation who already share so much of themselves on social media. Is this the natural evolution of intimacy and romance? Only time will tell. I just hope I can turn it into some sexy stories before then.

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Our Shape-Shifting Future Love Lives

Has a man ever woken up one morning and thought to yourself, “I wish I could be a woman today?” It may sound like the musings of someone with serious gender identity issues, but I think it’s more common than we care to admit. Besides, it’s hardly the craziest thought that’s popped into my head in the morning. Depending on how much I’ve been drinking, I’ve been known to think some pretty twisted thoughts.

I’ll save those thoughts for another post. For this post, I’d like to discuss what I believe is the ultimate endgame for upgrading the human body. Those efforts are already underway. As futurist and author, Ray Kurzweil, discussed in his book, “The Singularity is Near,” we’re well on our way creating what he calls, “The Human Body 2.0.”

This body is to us what a Lamborghini is to a horse-drawn carriage. It’s a body that’ll give us strength, stamina, longevity, durability, and connectivity in ways that go far beyond where we put certain body parts. It has the potential to fundamentally transform how humans relate to one another socially, romantically, and sexually.

The romance and sex part is definitely of interest to me, if only because it gives me some twisted ideas for novels. Men and women in these bodies will definitely have a lot of options once they’ve enhanced themselves to a point where they can carry out acts of intimacy that make even Japanese anime porn look boring.

However, there is one other step to this trend if you can believe that and it has the potential to step up the craziness of our love lives even more if you can believe that. It’s something else that Kurzweil discusses in his book, but not in great detail because our caveman brains can’t process the implications.

Thankfully, I’ve twisted and warped my brain with a potent combination of sci-fi, comic books, and erotica for decades. I feel like I’m a bit more equipped to process these implications than most. Kurzweil calls this endgame, “The Human Body 3.0.” I call it the “Mystique Factor.”

What is the Mystique Factor? Well, once again, I need to revisit my love of comic books, in particularly X-men. I’ve talked about X-men in terms of love triangles that suck and romances that are actually equal. I’ll probably find ways to apply X-men to many more issues on this blog, but in this case, I think most will agree that the context here is just too perfect.

Specifically, I’d like to talk about Mystique. Who is Mystique? In the comics, she’s a mutant shape-shifter who specializes in deception, infiltration, and generally making life for the X-men a living hell. In the movies, she’s the character that required Jennifer Lawrence to run around naked. For that, straight men everywhere should have a special place in their heart for this character.

For the purposes of this discussion though, she’s more than just a perfectly malleable character whose sexiness is only limited by one’s perverse imagination. She’s essentially a manifestation of what The Human Body 3.0 will do for humanity, minus the blue skin and strategically-placed scales.

Mystique can shape-shift into any form she chooses. In the X-men comics and the movies, she with the same amount of effort that most people put into changing the channel on their TV. One minute she’s Wolverine. One minute she’s a middle-aged senator. One minute she’s an insanely sexy 20-something woman with blond hair, great legs, and a smile that can resurrect a dead puppy.

Yes, I’m a big Jennifer Lawrence fan, by the way. No, I’m not going to apologize for that. Let’s try to stay on topic here.

It goes beyond just tweaking her appearance in ways that plastic surgeons can only dream of. Mystique can basically swap genders on a whim. He default form is a woman, but she can take the form of a man. It’s never directly stated in the comics, most likely because the censors prefer to leave such dirty thoughts to internet message boards, but it’s pretty obvious. Mystique can turn into a man, grow a penis, and use it.

At one point, famed X-men writer, Chris Claremont, even planned to explore that concept by having Mystique father a child with a woman. Specifically, he wanted her to father Nightcrawler. In case you don’t know, this is Nightcrawler. He’s as devilishly charming as he looks.

Marvel vetoed that plans for reasons that I can only assume had to do with how confusing it would be to the collective balls of the entire X-men fanbase. In a series that already involves clones, aliens, and time travelers, this was deemed to be too much. Go figure.

Even if it was too much for Marvel in the late 20th century, who’s to say it won’t become a legitimate issue in the 21st or 22nd century? Transgender issues are already an emerging issue today in 2016. A century can bring a lot of crazy social change. Just ask any minority before the year 1950 for proof of that.

If we do indeed enhance our bodies to the point that Kurzweil predicts, then it’ll do more than just radically alter how we relate to one another romantically and sexually. It’ll completely upend the concept of gender as a whole.

For one, it would effectively render the whole transgender issue a moot point. If our bodies enhance to 3.0 status and we gain Mystique-caliber shape-shifting skills, then that means we can choose whichever gender we identify with. On top of that, the gender we choose will have fully functioning equipment, so to speak.

Individuals born as a men could turn into women to bear children. Those born as women can turn into men to never ever have to endure bearing children. That, or maybe they just want to know what a boner feels like. I imagine they’ll get bored with that real fast, but who’s to say they won’t have other reasons?

Technically speaking, there’s no reason this can’t happen with sufficiently advanced smart blood and nanotechnology. One of the big advancements with the Human Body 2.0 is that it utilizes nanotechnology and biotechnology to revamp, rewire, and reconfigure our physiology into something more robust and less prone to puking.

Gender, and all the equipment that comes with it, is just a manifestation of genetic information. Once our technology can manifest this information in the form of actual flesh, then all bets are off. We will all effectively become Mystique.

What will this mean for us? What will this mean for our sex lives, other than the fact we’ll be much better at recreating sex scenes from Game of Thrones? What will this mean for our love lives when everyone around us can turn into the gender we’re attracted to?

Whether we do it in real life or within a virtual world that’s indistinguishable from real life, it fundamentally changes our identity and how we see ourselves. How would men see women if they actually experience what it’s like to be a woman? How would women see men if they actually experienced what it’s like to be a man? It’s a step beyond empathy. It dealing with entirely different body parts and all the maintenance that comes with them.

A romance between two shape-shifters is a romance that requires a complete overall of basic courtship rituals. How do they decide which bodies to use? Do they have a template form? Do they have preferred gender roles? How do they decide which one of them has the kids if they want to have kids? You think couples argue about trivial shit now? Think about the arguments they’ll have when discussing which one of them gets to have a penis.

At the moment, I don’t think our caveman brains are equipped to handle being shape-shifters. Mystique has a handle on it because that’s what she’s always been. The comics and movies never depict her as being anything else. Sure, she tends to be a homicidal maniac who has been known to have babies with men who look like the devil, but it’s unreasonable to assume that’s typical.

It may very well be the case that humans in 2016 are only equipped to be one or, at most, two genders throughout our lifetimes. However, the humans equipped with 2.0 or 3.0 bodies be better situated. Both versions of bodies emphasize enhancing the capacity of the human brain, if only to handle all the major overhauls for the rest of the body. That brain will very likely not have the same flaws as our 1.0 caveman brains.

For the moment, I’m stuck with a 1.0 caveman brain and all its assorted flaws. That means I can’t comprehend entirely what a society of shape-shifters may be like between the sheets. That won’t stop me from trying though. If there is a way to tell an insanely sexy story about shape-shifters, then I’ll find it and turn it into a novel. That much you can be sure of.

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