Tag future of sex

Can the science of Avatar lead to virtual sex?

One of the many successful elements of the film Avatar was the idea that a crippled, wheelchair bound marine, could live another life in a completely alien ‘avatar’ body – in fact a body more athletic and powerful than any able-bodied human.  In the film, this is done through controlling his avatar body through the brain signals of his original, disabled body.  Could this technology one day be realised, and could it lead to the ultimate forms of virtual sex?

An article appeared today on CNN asking only the first question, although I’m sure many of its male readers, at least, were led to ask the second question themselves.  According to the article, the vision of Avatar is far-sighted, if not far-fetched.  A neurology professor is quoted as saying that “the biggest challenges will be emotion and thought -how to make another organism think what you think, to feel what you feel”.  Another points out that we have little understanding of how consciousness is formed in our own bodies, let alone how to induced it in others.

These arguments, although valid (and I’m in no way scientifically qualified to dispute them) seem to me to miss the point.  Nobody is surely talking about actually projecting ones actual consciousness into another body.  It will appear to the ‘owner’ of the avatar that he really is in that substitute body, but this is, at least in some sense, an illusion created by the fact that his sensory inputs and outputs have been wired up to his new body. If the avatar is destroyed, the owner is unharmed, however if HIS brain was killed, the avatar could have no consciousness.

There seems to me no philosophical objection to the possibility of avatar bodies.  In fact, such things seem to be an inevitable future progression of teleprescence and haptic technology that is already being developed today (some of which is described in the CNN article).  Eventually, we will be having sex with each other using substitute ‘avatar’ bodies.

The other interesting thing about Avatar in relation to virtual sex is the apparant manner in which the avatars are ‘grown’.  In other words the Avatars are actual organic bodies that have either been cloned or produced using stem cell technology. 

The use of stem cell technology for virtual sex is something that has interested me for sometime. The commonplace use of such technology to clone or to generate new organs appears to be just around the corner.  How long will it be, I wonder, before the highly realistic private parts, as well as the skin, hair, and eyes, of high-end sex dolls will be the actual organic clones of famous pornstars? Fucking the Fleshlight vagina of Lupe Fuentes would take on a whole new meaning if it was the actual physical clone of her pussy, rather than just modelled upon it.  It’s certainly likely that ‘Roxxy’ not withstanding, the first genuine artificially intelligent sex ‘robots’ will largely be composed of organic metal.

The Sun looks at Sex Toy trends of 2010 and beyond

The biggest selling newspaper in England – The Sun – takes a look ahead to the future of sex toys next year and beyond.

VIRTUAL SEX

Virtual sex is right around the corner with toys such as the Real Touch (realtouch.com) already causing a sexual stir.

High-tech toys will plug guys straight into their X-rated DVDs, so what they watch on the screen will happen to them on their sofa via hands-free pleasure kit.

 PHONE APPS

Mobile phones are set to do much more than ring your bell! From location based dating applications to custom-designed sex toys (such as VibraExciter), mobile phones are a sex essential for the new decade.

 ECO VIBES

The move towards green sex toys will pick up pace, with wood, metal, steel and even porcelain taking the place of rubber.

Batteries are also on their way out, with more rechargeable and battery-free toys hitting the market (like Earth Angel and USB charged toys like the Luminia).

 WIRED FOR SEX

Couples will get wired for sex.

Load up free video chat software Skype and a new Internet-control vibe and you can pleasure and see your partner no matter how far apart you are.

Virtual Sex is the Future according to the Sexperts

The following article appeared on the web in 2006, but as it appears to have been taken down and should be of great interest to readers, I thought I would reproduce it here in its entirety :

NEW YORK, APRIL 18 2006 : When America’s top sex researchers gathered recently to discuss the next decade in their field, some envisioned a future in which artificial sex partners could cater to every fantasy.
“What is very likely to be present before 2016 would be a multi-sensual experience of virtual sex,” said Julia Heiman, director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University, Bloomington.

There is a possibility of developing erotic materials for yourself that would allow you to create a partner of certain dimensions and qualities, the partner saying certain things in that interaction, certain things happening in that interaction.”

A field dubbed “teledildonics” already allows people at two remote computers to manipulate electronic devices such as a vibrator at the other end for sexual purposes.

“People who use it are just blown away,” said Steve Rhodes, president of Sinulate Entertainment, which has sold thousands of Internet-connected sex devices over the past three years. “This is not something that just the lunatic fringe does.”

“The Iraq war…was kind of a boom for our company.”

Gina Lynn, who writes the Sex Drive column for Wired magazine, says she has used and enjoyed the Sinulator and says there is no reason to fear the technology.

“People are still really afraid of…any sort of combination of sex and technology and of the Internet,” she said. “What people are missing here is the point, which is the human connection that we are facilitating through the technology.”

“No one who is even inventing this stuff wants or even thinks that technology could ever replace human connection or sex.”

Annie Sprinkle, a former adult film actress, prostitute and author of “Spectacular Sex,” said teledildonics are a logical outgrowth of improvements in pleasure devices.

“Now people use vibrators like mad and rightly so; the technology of sex toys has vastly improved,” she said. “The more options the better; I mean it can never replace body to body.”

“Some people will love it more than anything else and others won’t be into it.”

SEX WITH A PORN STAR

Entrepreneurs are also seeking to fuse explicit video imagery with real-life tactile sensation.

Brad Abram, president of XStream3D Multimedia, said his firm’s “Virtually Jenna,” an online game in which the player has sex with realistic cartoon of porn star Jenna Jameson, can link hardware devices following the action to genitalia.

“None of the big publishers will probably venture in there so we could be like the Hustler or the Playboy or whatever, the Penthouse of adult gaming,” the Vancouver, Canada-based Abram said. “Sex toys is a huge business.”

His service, without the hardware, costs $29.95 a month, and he said several hundred thousand people have tried the online sex gam to date. He expects the hardware area of such simulations to grow rapidly.

Is it possible to go a step further and come up with a sex robot such as that portrayed by actor Jude Law in the 2001 film “AI: Artificial Intelligence” or the orgasmatron machine of the 1973 Woody Allen movie Sleeper?

Carl DiSalvo, a doctoral candidate at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design, has helped design a robotic device that simulates the warmth and feeling of a hug. He said such work could be expanded into the realm of sex.

“That hardly seems to be difficult,” he said. But “a realistic encounter is where the thing gets to be much more expensive.”

Companies such as realdoll.com sell very lifelike human-size sex dolls without electronics for $6,500, not including $500 shipping. DiSalvo is skeptical about the demand for such high-end devices, as is San Francisco sexologist Carol Queen.

“I do find that a world full of people getting it on with you know, perfect gizmos instead of each other has some sort of a post-Orwellian kind of sense to it,” she said. “I don’t really think that most people are going to want this.”

Others suspect the technology is also far off. “Right now they are having trouble making robots that just sweep floors,” said Pepper Schwartz, a sociology professor at the University of Washington in Seattle and author of many books on sex.

“You know, we’re talking about a big jump from something saying ‘You are so sexy, I want you’ to mimicking all the things that would create a cyborg. We’re not at the cyborg level yet.”

ALL IN THE MIND

Going even a level further, other researchers say in decades to come advanced devices will be able to stimulate the brain to create a sexual experience without manipulating genitalia.

Marvin Minsky, a pioneer in the study of artificial intelligence dating back to 1951, said such devices could either trigger an actual physical response from the brain, or have the entire experience take place in the mind with the sensation of sex — but without the mess or risk of sexually transmitted disease.

“It’s bound to happen … and is not as far off as some people think,” Minsky, a professor emeritus at MIT, said of direct brain manipulation. “They are doing things with monkeys but it is not a big world-class industry yet, so that could take 20-30 years.”

“But if the game (industry) people got involved in some underdeveloped country that didn’t have any laws against it, it could all happen twice as fast.”

Some researchers warn that too much fantasy could prove adverse to everyday human interaction.

“There is a great deal of pushing people out of social relations into a kind of simulated relationship, which in fact decreases what is essential in human life, which is sociability — one’s capacity to relate to other people,” said John Gagnon, a veteran researcher and author on many books on sexuality.

High Tech Sex (History Channel)

Fascinating look at the possible future of sex technology, taken from the History Channel itself no less.

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Documenting the reality of virtual sex – how technology is changing the way we can enjoy sex

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