This video from my YouTube channel is a CreepyPasta that I wrote and narrated myself. Enjoy!
Tag Archives: virtual reality
What if there was a virtual environment that was so real and so lifelike that it was completely indistinguishable from the real world?
What if you had an opportunity to upload the entire contents of your mind into that environment?
Would you do it? Even if you didn’t have a full measure of control over the environment, would you still venture into this virtual world?
I’m not just asking these questions as another thought experiment, nor am I asking it as an excuse to talk about “The Matrix: Resurrections.” Yes, the prospect of another movie in the mold of “The Matrix” did inspire me to pose these questions, but I also think these questions are worth seriously contemplating.
Back in 1999, the year “The Matrix” first came out, the idea of an entirely simulated world seemed like classic sci-fi tech, the likes of which we’d never see in our lifetimes. That’s understandable. In 1999, the most advanced simulations we knew could only be rendered by a Playstation 2 and those hardly looked realistic.
Since then, computing power and graphics technology has come a long way. These days, graphics in video game consoles are so realistic that it’s nearing Uncanny Valley territory. It won’t be that long before we have computer renderings that are so advanced, so lifelike, and so realistic that our brains can’t tell the difference.
At that point, creating an entirely simulated world is just a matter of computing power, scale, and interface. Since brain/computer interfaces are already being developed, it’s not unreasonable to think that we won’t have a Matrix-like simulation available within the next 40 years. Many people alive today who are under the age of 50 might very well live long enough to see that technology.
Once we have it, we’ll have some important decisions to make. Some of those decisions will be societal. If people suddenly have access to a virtual world where they can be anyone, do anything, and immerse themselves in any conceivable experience, then what does that do to society? What does that do to people, communities, nations, and social structures?
Those are far messier questions to contemplate, which is why I’m not going to belabor them too much at this point. Instead, I want to keep this question within the context of individuals. Everyone’s circumstances and beliefs are different. As a result, that may impact whether you’d take advantage of such an opportunity or what kind of environment you’d seek to create.
Personally, if I ever had an opportunity to upload my mind into a virtual environment on par with the Matrix, I would do it, but the extent and circumstances would vary. I suspect others may feel the same.
If I could create my own personal virtual environment before I uploaded my mind into it, then I would certainly be more willing. I think that’s an important factor. The humans in “The Matrix” didn’t have any measure of control over the environment they were in. I think that would complicate any that anyone would have in such a world.
It would also depend heavily on my physical state in the real world. If this technology became available and I was old, weak, and in poor health, then I would certainly be more inclined to use it. That assumes that any technology involving human enhancement hasn’t progressed significantly and people still age, get sick, and die.
Like it or not, our physical bodies in the real world will break down. If the technology to manage and reverse that isn’t available, then virtual environments might be the only way we can continue to live in any meaningful capacity. I certainly hope that isn’t my only opinion when I get to be that age, but if it is, then that simplifies my decision.
It’s hard to know what sort of options we’ll have. I still believe that technology involving human enhancement and creating virtual worlds will advance in parallel. One would, by default, need the other in order to properly interface with these environments. As such, it would complicate any decision about venturing into virtual environments.
Then, there’s the actual nature of those virtual environments. If we can control what environment we go into, then that opens the door to even more possibilities. Within these worlds, you could be a billionaire playboy, a medieval king, a famous celebrity, or super athlete. From your brain’s perspective, it would feel every bit as real as what you’re feeling right now.
Whether or not our brains would accept it is a different story. I suspect there may be some who, once they enter these worlds, would never want to leave. There may even be some who willingly erase their own memories of the real world so that this new virtual world is their new “reality.” That’s exactly what Cypher desired in “The Matrix” and I suspect others might share that desire.
It really does depend on the person, their situation, and what sort of virtual world they seek to create. We probably won’t know the full impact until we create our first true Matrix-like virtual world. I sincerely hope I live long enough to see that. If you’re reading this, hopefully you get to see it as well. It should give you plenty of time to contemplate these questions and whether you’ll venture into those world.
When most people think about the future, they imagine all the ways that technology and progress will solve problems and make our lives better. I’ve certainly imagined that. I’ve even written about it, with respect to how future advances will make us smarter, protect us from disease, and even help us love each other better.
As intriguing as those possibilities may be, it’s also worth taking a moment to contemplate the implications. I’m not talking about the potential existential crisis we may face with advancing technology either. I’m referring more to the practical aspects of a future where disease, suffering, and toil are largely mitigated by technology.
Beyond just living in a world with less suffering and less struggle, how exactly would we entertain ourselves? That may seem like a mundane question, given the more serious implications of advances like genetic engineering and advanced robotics, but it’s one of those issues that effects individuals on a personal level.
If we’re always health, physically strong, and have our basic needs met through some universal basic income, then what exactly are we going to do with all that free time? I’ve expressed concern that this may create an epidemic of boredom that’s every bit as serious as any major pandemic. No matter how strong, healthy, or affluent you are, boredom can have some pretty debilitating effects.
Enter the fanciful world of “Westworld” and all its implications, sexy and otherwise. For those of you who don’t get HBO, it’s a TV show inspired from an old movie produced by Michael Crichton, also known as the guy who wrote “Jurassic Park.” It’s no “Game of Thrones,” but it has a fair amount of gratuitous violence, nudity, and sex, albeit with much less incest.
Graphic content aside, it’s the underlying concept behind “Westworld” that makes it such an intriguing show. That same concept also has even greater implications for what the future may hold in terms of immersive entertainment, managing artificial intelligence, and how we treat sex robots. For once, I’m not going to focus entirely on the sex robots, since I give that subject plenty of attention.
The appeal of “Westworld,” as both a concept and a show, is built around a company called Delos Inc., which offers its high-paying customers a chance to immerse themselves in a unique experience. For a while, they get to leave civilization, modernity, and all its associated infrastructure behind and live in rugged, lawless world of the old west.
It’s not some movie where they just get to see images of scenery. It’s not some virtual reality that just makes them feel like they’re there, either. It’s a fully realized artificial world, complete with intelligent androids that have the look, feel, and presence of real people. Sure, some still act as sex robots, but that appeal goes far beyond that.
This is a world where you can live a different life, experience in a different time, and explore a world that no longer exists. You don’t watch it. You don’t listen to it. You don’t follow along through the eyes of a protagonist. You are the protagonist. You actually get to live out a real fantasy where the participants aren’t just role playing. They’re sophisticated androids that really believe they are what they are.
Now, the operation and function of those androids has been a major source of conflict within the show. As the show has progressed, controlling these androids and seeing them develop a sense of self has made for great drama. I would argue it’s one of the most engaging aspects of the show. It creates powerful moments that reflect real existential issues with respect to artificial intelligence, some of which I’ve contemplated.
While those issues are profound, in and of themselves, I find myself more interested in how “Westworld” may reflect the evolution of entertainment itself. Look past the issue with managing intelligent androids for a moment and think about the business Delos Inc. is employing here.
On paper, it’s not just brilliant in terms of potential profitability. It may very well embody the future of entertainment. Take a moment to contemplate how the entertainment industry has evolved over the past 30 years. We’ve gone from analog to digital, standard definition to high definition, and now high definition to 4k.
I’m still old enough to remember the lousy picture quality of TV shows, the pre-IMAX movie theater experience, and theme parks with less-than-polished exhibits. I still vividly remember going to see “Men in Black” in a theater that was crowded, dirty, and cramped. It was fun, but not that immersive.
Over time, the general trend of entertainment, both with movies and with TV shows, has been to make it more interactive. Movies have done that with the rise of 3D movies. TV shows have done that through things like live-tweeting. Video games, especially, have become much more immersive, both through virtual reality and through online interaction.
This trend reflects the understanding from producers and consumers alike that the most powerful form of entertainment is the kind that offers the most immersion. A game on your smartphone is fun and all, but it’s just data on a screen. It’s not going to engage too many senses.
The same goes for virtual reality, which is basically just putting that same screen over your eyes and bombarding you with sound to make you feel like you’re somewhere you’re not. It also doesn’t change the fact that you don’t have to move your body, exert yourself, or engage in the kind of activity that would lead you to believe that the experience is real. Granted, the brain can be fooled, but only to a point.
What “Westworld” does is logical in terms of crafting an experience that makes people feel like it’s truly real. The customers of Delos Inc. aren’t just observing or following along. They’re actually engaging with this fantasy world. It’s not on a screen. It’s not being projected into their brains. It’s real and they get to be part of it.
That world can literally be anything they Delos Inc. wants it to be. With their resources and their army of life-like androids, they can create all kinds of worlds for customers to explore. These worlds don’t have to be confined by the laws of modern civilization, current social norms, or even notions of reality.
Perhaps they can create an apocalyptic world where participants can kill zombies and live the lives of rag-tag survivors, like those of “The Walking Dead.”
Perhaps they can create a medieval world in the mold of “Game of Thrones” where participants can live the lives of brave knights, lecherous kings, or privileged queens.
Perhaps, if the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to grow, there can be a world where people either get to interact with the Avengers or even get to be the Avengers. As a comic fan, I would definitely pay for that experience. I would be shocked if Disney isn’t working on something like this now, as we speak.
It doesn’t even have to involve an elaborate fantasy world either. Perhaps there’s a world where participants can live the lives of rock stars in 70s and 80s, complete with cocaine, groupies, and massive concerts where they’re the stars.
In theory, there’s no limit to the kinds of worlds a company like Delos Inc. can create. The old wast in “Westworld” is just one of them. The key is making the world perfectly immersive, but still safe to the point where the costumers aren’t ever hurt and face no repercussions for what happens during the experience.
However, it’s in that key safeguard in which the implications of “Westworld” get more distressing. It even plays out a few times in the show. In this immersive world of the old west, participants can carry out acts that would be wrong, immoral, or downright abhorrent in the real world.
The androids in “Westworld” may be more intelligent than the average exhibit at Disney World, but they’re still just robots playing a role. If a participant kills, rapes, or tortures one of them, there’s no repercussion. The android can just be cleaned up, fixed, and reloaded with a new program like it never happened.
It’s that kind of moral void, so to speak, that may make this brand of entertainment questionable. Say there’s someone willing to pay a lot of money to a company like Delos Inc. to create a world where they could go on a killing spree, murdering and raping as much as they want. This person is a law-biding citizen who has never acted on any violent impulses. Would the company be unethical in accommodating that fantasy?
There may be plenty of other distressing requests. Maybe someone wants a world where they can live the life of an 19th century slave-owner because they want to abuse slaves. Maybe someone wants a world where they’re the Nazis and they get to commit any number of unspeakable atrocities.
Remember, what they do in this world isn’t done to real people. They’re just paying for an experience. It’s not like the kind they would get in “Total Recall” where they only get memories of an experience. In a world like that of “Westworld,” they actually interact with that world. They make choices and do things, but no matter what they do, there’s no consequence or repercussion.
It raises many disturbing questions that are impossible to answer now. “Westworld” attempts to answer some of them, but there are plenty more that are simply beyond the scope of the show. It may do a commendable job focusing on what happens when intelligent robots start to get a will of their own, but it doesn’t do much to explore the implications that this form of entertainment inspires.
It’s going to be quite a while before we have the technology that we see in “Westworld,” but even if the human race progresses to a point where people and society are free from most conflict, there will be a need for entertainment. The form that entertainment takes may just reveal more about us than we care to know.
Picture the following scenario that may or may not end up being a common occurrence in the near future. It’s not a thought experiment. It’s not a prediction either. It’s just a possible manifestation of what our future might hold.
It’s late at night and you decide to check out some porn. You struggle to decide which one you want to watch. You’re in the mood for something new so you search a little more. You find some elaborate scene where Amy Shumer is a transvestite and she’s doing it with Justin Bieber.
Eventually, you settle on the hottest new scene that just came out the other day. It has Kevin Hart, Steph Curry, and Michael B. Jordan all taking turns with Scarlett Johansson in a sauna in Paris. The scene plays out. You love ever minute of it and decide to save it.
I admit that scenario was pretty lurid. I apologize if it got a little too detailed for some people, but I needed to emphasize just how far this may go. It’s an issue that has made the news lately, but one that may end up becoming a far greater concern as technological trends in computing power and artificial intelligence mature.
The specific news I’m referring to involves something called “deep fakes.” What they are doesn’t just have huge implications for the porn industry. They may also have major implications for media, national security, and our very understanding of reality.
In essence, a deep fake is a more elaborate version of Photoshopping someone’s face into a scene. That has been around for quite some time, though. People pasting the faces of celebrities and friends into pictures from porn is fairly common. It’s also fairly easy to identify as fake. The technology is good, but not indistinguishable from reality.
That may be changing, though, and it may change in a way that goes beyond making lurid photos. Computer technology and graphics technology are getting to a point where the realism is so good that it’s difficult to discern what’s fake. Given the rapid pace of computer technology, it’s only going to get more realistic as time goes on.
That’s where deep fakes clash with the porn industry. It’s probably not the biggest implication of this technology, but it might be the most relevant in our celebrity-loving culture. In a sense, it already has become an issue and it will likely become a bigger issue in the coming years.
It started when PornHub, also known as the most popular porn site on the planet, took a major stand at removing deep fakes from their website. Specifically, there was a video of Gal Gadot, also known as Wonder Woman and a person I’ve praised many times on this blog, being digitally added in a porn scene.
Now, it’s not quite as impressive as it sounds. This wasn’t a fully digital rendering of an entire scene. It was just a computer imposing Gal Gadot’s face onto that of a porn actress for a scene. In terms of pushing the limits of computer technology, this didn’t go that far. It was just a slightly more advanced kind of Photoshopping.
Anyone who has seen pictures of Gal Gadot or just watched “Wonder Woman” a hundred times, like me, could easily tell that the woman in that scene isn’t Ms. Gadot. Her face literally does not match her physique. For those not that familiar with her, though, it might be hard to tell.
That’s exactly why PornHub removed it. Their position is that such deep fakes are done without the explicit permission of the person being depicted and constitute an act of revenge porn, which has become a major legal issue in recent years. These are PornHub’s exact words.
Non-consensual content directly violates our TOS [terms of service] and consists of content such as revenge porn, deepfakes or anything published without a person’s consent or permission.
While I applaud PornHub for making an effort to fight content that puts beloved celebrities or private citizens in compromising positions, I fear that those efforts are going to be insufficient. PornHub might be a fairly responsible adult entertainment company, but who can say the same about the billions of other sites on the internet?
If that weren’t challenging enough, the emergence of artificial intelligence will further complicate the issue of deep fakes. That’s because before AI gets smart enough to ask us whether or not it has a soul, it’ll be targeted to performing certain tasks at a level beyond any programmer. Some call this weak AI, but it still has the power to disrupt more than our porn collection.
In an article with Motherboard, an artificial intelligence researcher made clear that it’s no longer exceedingly hard for someone who is reckless, tech-savvy, and horny enough to create the kind of deep fakes that put celebrities in compromising positions. In fact, our tendency to take a million selfies a day may make that process even easier. Here’s what Motherboard said on just how much we’re facilitating deep fakes.
The ease with which someone could do this is frightening. Aside from the technical challenge, all someone would need is enough images of your face, and many of us are already creating sprawling databases of our own faces: People around the world uploaded 24 billion selfies to Google Photos in 2015-2016. It isn’t difficult to imagine an amateur programmer running their own algorithm to create a sex tape of someone they want to harass.
In a sense, we’ve already provided the raw materials for these deep fakes. Some celebrities have provided far more than others and that may make them easy targets. However, even celebrities that emphasize privacy may not be safe as AI technology improves.
In the past, the challenge for any programmer was ensuring every frame of a deep fake was smooth and believable. Doing that kilobyte by kilobyte is grossly inefficient, which put a natural limit on deep fakes. Now, artificial intelligence has advanced to the point where it can make its own art. If it can do that, then it can certainly help render images of photogenic celebrities in any number of ways.
If that weren’t ominous enough, there’s also similar technology emerging that allows near-perfect mimicry of someone’s voice. Just last year, a company called Lyrebird created a program that mimicked former President Obama’s voice. It was somewhat choppy and most people would recognize it as fake. However, with future improvements, it may be next to impossible to tell real from fake.
That means in future deep fakes, the people involved, be they celebrities or total strangers, will look and sound exactly like the real thing. What you see will look indistinguishable from a professionally shot scene. From your brain’s perspective, it’s completely real.
That blurring of virtual reality and actual reality has huge implications that go beyond the porn industry. Last year, I pointed out how “Star Wars: Rogue One” was able to bring a long-dead actor back to life in a scene. I highlighted that as a technology that could change the way Hollywood makes movies and deals with actors. Deep fakes, however, are the dark side of that technology.
I believe celebrities and private citizens who have a lot of videos or photos of themselves online are right to worry. Between graphics technology, targeted artificial intelligence, and voice mimicry, they’ll basically lose control of their own reality.
That’s a pretty scary future. Deep fakes could make it so there’s video and photographic evidence of people saying and doing the most lurid, decadent, offensive things that it’s possible for anyone to do. You could have beloved celebrities go on racist rants. You could have celebrities everyone hates die gruesome deaths in scenes that make “Game of Thrones” look like an old Disney movie.
The future of deep fakes make our very understanding of reality murky. We already live in a world where people eagerly accept as truth what is known to be false, especially with celebrities. Deep fakes could make an already frustrating situation much worse, especially as the technology improves.
For now, deep fakes are fairly easy to sniff out and the fact that companies like PornHub are willing to combat them is a positive sign. However, I believe far greater challenges lie ahead. I also believe there’s a way to overcome those challenges, but I have a feeling we’ll have a lot to adjust to in a future where videos of Tom Hanks making out with Courtney Love might be far too common.
I’m sure Apple fans are still basking of the afterglow from the techno-orgasm they experienced at the big September 12th announcement about the future of Apple gadgets. I can’t sway I blame them, either.
Apple events have a storied history of capturing imaginations, loosening wallets, and soaking panties. Love them or hate them, Apple is the 800-pound, half-trillion dollar gorilla in the room. What they do shakes things up. They did it with the music industry. They did it with the smartphone industry. They’re actively trying to do it with the TV industry.
Whatever Apple does, it tends to disrupt established industries, even destroying some. Just ask the makers of Blackberry and Tower Records. It does this while making a boatload of money in the process. Even those who despise Apple have to admit they know how to line their pockets with obscene amounts of cash.
Well, much like irresponsible celebrities that can’t resist spending obscene money on cars they never drive, Apple is never satisfied. It has to keep creating new torrents of cash and with the new iPhone X and iPhone 8, Apple is poised to tap another emerging market that’s ripe for expansion.
It’s part of Apple’s nature. It didn’t invent the mouse, the personal computer, the music player, or the smartphone. It just took those products, innovated like hell, and repackaged them in a way that blew out the competition and spit on their charred remains. Again, ask the spit-stained corpses of Blackberry and Tower Records.
In this case, the product is called Augmented Reality. Like music players and smartphones, it has been around for a while. Last year, it became a pretty big deal with the success of Pokémon Go. Now, Apple is ready to turn peoples’ collective awe at seeing a digital Pikachu on their lawn into the kind of feature that will blow the minds of users, as well as the money out of their wallets.
As part of the latest announcement, Apple has made clear that they’re going long and hard on AR with their new breed of iPhones. Yes, I know that sounds way raunchier than it should. Then again, this is a blog that talks about sexy novels and pro-nudity superheroes so that should surprise no one.
I chose those terms for a reason too because whenever Apple gets involved in an industry, that industry tends to go through rapid expansion. Along the way, that expansion will affect our sex lives and our love lives. If you don’t believe that, then you’re grossly underestimating how many people use Tinder or how many people watch porn on their phones.
The precedent is already there. Back in 2013, Google tried to give AR a boost with their goofy-looking Google Glass. Naturally, the first instinct for some users was to make porn with it. One major porn studio went so far as to cast real porn stars for a true, AR porn experience. It wasn’t quite as sexy as it sounds, but it got the ball rolling.
While Google Glass failed, Apple will likely succeed. Four years of refinement, coupled with the success of Pokemon Go, means AR will find all sorts of new uses and some of those uses will be pornographic. Even tough Apple has a long-standing policy against porn, that has not and will not stop people from using its products to make sexy content.
It’s hard to say what form that content will make, but with VR porn already a thing, it’s going to find some way to enter the market. AR is special in that it blurs the line between the real world and the digital world without having to wear those goofy-looking Google Glasses. Porn, being a fantasy, thrives on blurring those lines.
Think of your favorite porn star and celebrity. Don’t deny it. You probably have one. You’ve probably even watch ed them do all sorts of sexy stuff on your computer screen. That sexy stuff has probably gotten you horny and given you an orgasm. Now, imagine that sexy stuff taking place on more than just a computer screen.
With AR, you’ll be able to create the kinds of experiences that make it seem as though your favorite porn star or celebrity is right in your bedroom, office, or car, if you’re feeling kinky. Just hold your phone up and suddenly, they’re there, wearing the sexiest underwear you’ve ever seen and saying the kind of dirty stuff that would get them fined by the FCC.
That’s the potential AR can have. It can create more than just sexy imagery. It can make us feel like we’re part of the action. Suddenly, we’re not just peering through a digital window. We get to be part of the process. If you don’t think that appeals to some people, then you’re underestimating how kinky our minds can be.
Beyond the porn industry, and it’s sometimes hard to get beyond a multi-billion dollar industry, AR can do many other wonders for your sex life. To explain how, I’ll need to recount some of the more awkward moments from our collective sex lives. I apologize for this, but I’m afraid it’s necessary.
Think back to the first time you had sex. If that’s too hard or distressing, think back to the least satisfying sexual experience you’ve had. For some people, this will be painfully easy. What was it about your partner that made it so unsatisfying? What did you do that just didn’t seem to work? Did it feel like you and your lover’s body just weren’t on the same page or even the same zip code?
Well, AR could’ve prevented this because, like I said, AR blurs the line between the digital world and the real world. With AR, you don’t have to learn about the intricacies of the male or female body through a poorly-worded, poorly-drawn textbook that was given to you by a pastor, mullah, rabbi, or celibate monk. Even if you live in Texas, you have access to a more comprehensive understanding of the human body.
It even goes beyond knowing where a clitoris is. What if, before you got frisky with your lover, you could “practice” with a digital version? Say there’s an app that can take a picture of your lover, impose it over your phone like Pokemon Go, and let you get comfortable talking dirty to them. If you think that won’t have an impact on your sex life, then I think you’re underestimating the power of dirty talk.
AR basically gives people their own private domain, of sorts, to refine their intimate skills and their knowledge of human anatomy. That means those awkward moments you have when you and your lover first get naked are a lot less awkward. That means you have a bit more comfort and confidence when the time comes to get intimate. That’s as big a net positive as you’ll find for your sex life without bionic genitals.
Even if you already have a lover, AR means you’ll be able to do more than just send dirty texts and explicit nudes. Once AR becomes more refined, nudes just won’t cut it. You’d much rather have an image of your naked lover imposed in the chair right next to you. If nothing else, that’ll make meetings at the office less boring.
These are just some of the possibilities. There are likely many more that I haven’t even thought of, but others have contemplated. I like to think my experience writing erotica/romance novels has given me a pretty keen sense on these kinds of sexy issues. Unfortunately, there are limits to that insight.
Technology has always impacted our sex lives to some extent and will likely continue to do so for years to come. A technology like AR that is just starting to grow, thanks largely to Apple, means that change will come sooner rather than later. Yes, I know that’s another poor choice of words, but I challenge anyone to think of a more fitting vision for AR’s sexy future.
It feels like I joke about sex robots every chance I get on this blog. In my defense, this is a blog that sells sexy stories, promotes steamy romance, and dares to imagine a future with bionic genitalia. Make no mistake, though. sex robots are a serious issue.
Sure, they’re easy to make light of when they still look like over-sized blow-up dolls with tits, but they are steadily becoming more advanced. They’re already entering the sex industry, albeit in a limited capacity. There are actual companies working on them, as we speak, and for good reason. The demand for sex is like the demand for water. It’s a market that can always be counted on and one Amazon hasn’t monopolized yet.
I’ve talked a bit about how sex robots might impact us, but I always assume that impact will be far greater than anything an aspiring erotica/romance writer can imagine. Hell, I doubt even movies can imagine it, although some like “Ex Machina” make a concerted effort.
I intend to keep discussing the breadth of that impact on this blog in all sorts of ways, including those that’ll make people horny as hell and others that’ll make people more uncomfortable than a vegan at a butcher shop. In any case, it’s worth belaboring both the upheavals and the opportunities that functional sex robots will present.
Sure, there will always be truly deranged people who will become more deranged by presence and use of sex robots. Those people are always a minority, though. Like Charles Manson, they’re the disturbing exceptions that make the news, but not the norm.
Beyond the extremes, though, there’s another aspect of sex robots that I think warrants discussion and one that actually builds on other issues I’ve brought up on this blog, primarily those involving the challenges most people face in forging a healthy sex life in the modern era. If the failure of celebrity couples are any indication, then those challenges are more daunting than we think.
To illustrate the extent of those issues, take a moment to think about the number of people you know who have sought therapy or counseling in some form. Chances are you know more than one. I certainly do. Hell, I challenge anyone to find someone who doesn’t know anyone who has sought therapy.
According to the American Psychological Association, approximately half of American households had someone who’d sought therapy in some form or another. That data was gathered in 2004, though, and pointed out that some couldn’t even seek therapy, due to a lack of insurance. That’s a lot of therapy and a lot of people who need it that aren’t getting it.
Now, take a moment to consider how much of that therapy involved someone’s sex life. While I doubt it applied to every case, I imagine there’s a significant portion of psychological issues that are tied to sex. The fact that sexual dysfunction is so prevalent leads me to believe that more than a few psychological issues are at work here.
Hell, it’s practically part of our popular culture. Watch any sitcom, any movie that doesn’t involve talking animals, or any novel that involves a Biff Tannen/Regina George knock-off and you’ll see it. A man or a woman has an unsatisfying, frustrating, or non-existent sex life. It is the source of a lot of problems, plots, jokes, gags, and obstacles.
Enter the intelligent, interactive, fully-functional sex robot. What does that do to therapy and the reasons we seek it? I’m not just asking that because I want you to picture a world full of advanced sex robots that look and function like Jenna Jameson and Channing Tatum on crack. Granted, I always want people thinking those kinds of sexy thoughts on this blog, but I want people to keep their panties on and look at the bigger picture.
Think, for a moment, how much stress and frustration most people experience when dealing with their sexual desires. It doesn’t matter that it’s the 21st century, internet porn is everywhere, and women are legally allowed to have sex that doesn’t involve making babies. People who aren’t celebrities, supermodels, or as attractive as either struggle to satisfy those desires.
It can and does take a psychological and physical toll on people. If the documented health benefits of orgasms are any indication, then nature wants us to have plenty of sex. Not getting it is like denying the body and mind key nutrients. Without it, there will be issues that go beyond bad moods and morning wood.
At the moment, it’s not easy for a lot of people to explore their sexuality and actually engage in meaningful sexual exchanges. Between uptight religious attitudes, rampant slut shaming, and woefully unequal gender dynamics, finding an adequate sexual outlet is not like going to the grocery store to buy some snacks when you’re hungry. It also comes with all sorts of risks, including disease, pregnancy, and toxic relationships.
The sheer breadth of this difficulty is a major driving force behind the sexual frustrations of many men and women, alike. It’s hard enough just articulating those desires, even to a therapist that is legally obligated to never tell another living soul about your clown fetish. Actually exploring those feelings and achieving some level of sexual gratification is more difficult.
Sex robots don’t just change that situation. They don’t just rewrite the rules of the sexual playbook. They throw the playbook out, shoot the people who wrote it, and use their notes as toilet paper. Sex robots are destined to upend the sex industry and already are in some parts of the world. The impact they’ll have on therapy, though, may be just as great, if not underrated.
Picture a scenario, if you can, of a young man or women going into a therapist’s office in the not-so-distant future. In that future, sex robots are a mature technology in the sense that robots are nearly indistinguishable from humans. They look, feel, and sound real. They have a measure of intelligence, but it’s not much greater than that of the virtual assistants we already use today.
Knowing this, the therapist sits the man or woman down and talks to them. They find out quickly that this person is dealing with depression, anxiety, stress, and loneliness on a level that’s beyond that of most people. As part of the treatment, the therapist provides them with a specially-programmed sex robot. It’s here where the implications become both daunting and seamy.
Unlike the traditional sex robots that ordinary horny people use, or the sex bots you see in an “Austin Powers” movies, these sex robots are programmed with a specific purpose. They’re not just there to give their patients a good orgasm. They can get that from porn or sex toys. The sex robot, in this case, will have a more intimate function.
First, they’re molded to look like someone that the patient feels strong sexual attraction for. That may require some kinky tweaks, especially for those who have crushes on Jennifer Lawrence. However, that’s both doable and kind of necessary. There are already sex dolls molded after porn stars. That same process can be applied to sex robots.
Second, the robot is programmed with a specific personality profile that takes into account the patient’s mental issues. It won’t be enough to just get them off. They’ll need to create an emotional bond with them so that they can help them cope with those issues.
Maybe that involves a sex robots that’s a kinky, assertive dominatrix to help someone with authority issues. Maybe it’s a sex robot that’s meek and submissive to help someone with poor self-esteem. Maybe it’s a sex robot that’s just extra-durable to help someone who’s a real nymphomaniac. There are many ways a sex robot can help people is what I’m saying.
That process may not always include kinky sex. The sex robot may just be programmed to provide some sort of emotional intimacy that the person lacks or can’t find with another person. They could even be programmed to satisfy those who suffer from physical deformities, paralysis, or chronic disease. Thanks to these robots, everyone can have a physically and emotionally satisfying sexual experienced.
The possibilities are limited only by the extent to which a sex robot can be programmed for a specific purpose. Given how good we are at customizing our phones, cars, and even weapons, it’s very likely that we’ll do the same with sex robots for therapeutic and non-therapeutic use.
On the therapy side, though, those possibilities have the greatest implications. It’s one thing for normal, healthy people to enjoy regular, satisfying sex with a robot. It’s quite another when people who would otherwise be crippled or hindered by mental illness are suddenly able to function again and achieve some measure of happiness.
Think, for a moment, what that means for society. It elevates sex robots beyond a mere novelty or kink. Suddenly, they become a means to treat people who never would’ve gotten treatment otherwise. In addition, those who’ve lost loved ones, become ill, or just can’t attract those cute cheerleader types that gets their blood flowing can enjoy intimate, satisfying experiences.
In terms of quality of life, it’s a huge boost. In terms of how we approach our sex lives and sexuality, in general, that’s a bit harder to quantify, even for a mind as lurid as mine. Having a society where everyone, man and woman alike, is sexually satisfied is kind of unprecedented.
It’s really hard to know just how such a society functions or even if it can function. Throughout history, our species has struggled to channel and manage our sex drive. The extent to which we have so many sexual taboos and asinine double standards just proves that the struggle is still ongoing.
Modern medicine, contraception, and even the mainstreaming of the porn industry has helped make sex less dirty, to some extent. We still have a long way to go before full sexual satisfaction is achievable to everyone, not just the beautiful, the popular, and the mentally healthy.
Sex robots could very well be the most critical tool society creates in helping people achieve a level of emotional, physical, and mental satisfaction. In a world where everyone is that satisfied, how will we conduct ourselves? How will we interact with each other? It’s impossible to say, but if writing sexy novels has taught me anything, it’s that few things are more therapeutic than a satisfying sex life.