Lets kick of with the definition of cyber sex;
Noun:Sexual arousal using computer technology, esp. by wearing virtual reality equipment or by exchanging messages via the Internet.Sexual arousal using computer technology, esp. by wearing virtual reality equipment or by exchanging messages via the Internet.
Pretty clear isn’t it? Now you might think we’ve come a long way over the past decades when it comes to cyber sex, and indeed we have. But this is nothing compared to what we will achieve in the next decades. Ray Kurzweil an American futurist and inventor predicts that around 2030 computers will match the ‘power’ of the human brain. Around the same time humans will have ‘fully’ reverse engineered the human brain.
–Notice power and fully being between quotation marks because one can argue over the definition of the power of the human brain: “Are we talking about raw computing power only? If so, will a device capable of simulating all the brain’s computations/processes have a conscious mind and emotions and act like their human counter parts? If not, is it really as powerful as a brain then ?” etc. The same goes for the reverse engineering of the brain part. Even if we understand this grey mass up to the point that we can build artificial intelligent systems, which in the eyes of a human observer are indistinguishable from real humans, it doesn’t necessarily mean we have fully reverse engineered the brain because of the simple fact that there might be sub-sub-atomic processes that we don’t understand or are just unaware of. But this has been an ongoing debate for many many years now between scientists. A discussion in which I will not mingle for now because my intention is not to write a scientific article, no. I just want to explore the different hypothetical evolutions in the cyber sex industry and their impact on human sexual interaction and social life in general without being too technical or worry too much about the scientific feasibility of it all.-
So it’s 2030 and computers have the power to simulate the brain and we fully understand the working of the brain. This combination opens a doorway to unimaginable pleasures (and horrors) but before we delve into this epic point in future history let us first take a look at the road leading up to this moment and the different changes, specifically in cyber sex, that will most likely take place.
1080p,Hi-definition, HD-ready,3D etc. are terms you’re probably familiar with. No explanation should be needed. The same terms can be found in the webcam sex industry. Where webcam sex once consisted of low resolution heavily pixelated streams with horrible frame-rates the introduction of high-speed broadband Internet and high-res displays changed all this and brought us crystal clear, razor sharp live nudity on our televisions, laptops and pc’s. And more recent, due to high speed wireless connections, the same high quality nudity is also available for mobile devices like tablets and phones. But when it comes to 3d the adult scene still has a lot of catching up to do compared to main stream movies. Yes the 3d porn movies are starting to pop up and there are also a few cam-girls offering live shows in 3d’s but nowhere near the magnitude of the aforementioned main stream movies. I think this is mainly due to the fact that 3d is not yet as standard in computer screens as it is in normal televisions so I’m pretty sure that in the next few-years when 3d will be standard in all displays from computer to mobile phones the demand for live 3d content will rise and subsequently the supply. One thing is for sure the majority of the big adult corporations agree: 3d is the next big thing in porn and cybersex.
So what comes after 3d? one possibility is holographics. Holographic research is progressing rapidly and you might have already seen some holographic displays at concerts or some other events. There are different methods to produce holographic displays and not all of them are considered to be true holographic but as said I’m not writing a scientific article so I wont go into all the different methods. While 3d TV gives you an illusion of 3d, a true holograpic device creates a real three dimensional shape. So when having cybersex you can have a live copy of your cam partner “present” in you bedroom. You will be able to walk close to her/him walk around her/him and look from any angle you’d like, where as if you’d walk around your television you’d see well…. the back of your television. Also the fact that you are not watching a screen but you are watching a ‘real person’ performing in your own room must be quite exciting and would surely increase the entertainment factor of webcam sex.
Another option is virtual reality glasses/helmets. Wearing virtual reality glasses is a bit like playing a computer game with the difference that the illusion of being ‘inside’ the game environment is created. For example with a computer game you can look left or right. But you are still watching a television in front of you. You are not turning your head left or right, no you are merely watching an image on television presenting you with the image of left or right. Virtual reality glasses do pretty much the same with the difference that the displays are so close to your eyes that unlike a TV they move along with the movement of your head and the displays are the only thing you see thus creating the illusion of being in a virtual world. The glasses ideally would detect your body movements so
moving your head left and right really lets you look left and right in your virtual world. It’s also possible to really walk but unless you like to take the risk of -walking around in your room and stumbling over your $20000 holographic projector and falling with your newly bought 10000 dollar glasses through your 3d TV- it might be safer to control walking by a remote or by gestures or by thought. Because remember you can only see the virtual world when wearing the glasses. In this way 2 (or more) people engaging in webcam sex can be together in a virtual environment even if they live far apart.
Of course it is a key factor that photo realistic persons and environments can be created in real time (real time is necessary for live mimicking of persons) because its not really exiting if the digital version of your beloved webcam girl looks like Pacman. But we are already creating photo realistic people and environments in movies so this shouldn’t be a problem in the near future. In 2008 image metrics released an amazing demo showcasing an interview with a digital representation of a real person. While still recognizable as computer generated imagery it was pretty impressive. In 2011 thousands of fans of Japan’s pop-band AKB48 where fooled into believing the band had a new member named Eguchi Aimi when in fact Eguchi was a computer generated person.
While it may not exactly be real time it shows that the entertainment industry is moving more and more towards computer generated entertainment and with the yearly exponential growth of computer processing power we are now on the verge of making photo realistic virtual reality possible and affordable for regular consumers. A nice feature of using a computer generated copy of a real person is that you can change the looks of the person into anything you want, read head, brunette, big breasted, thick or thin, a frog, the possibilities are limitless.
Now while all the aforementioned obviously brings cyber sex closer and closer to the real deal (actual sex including real physical contact) one thing is missing, one very important thing, the sense of touch. Yes people are touching themselves but what if 2 people having webcam sex could touch and feel each other? Well they can, through haptics.
Haptics is a tactile feedback technology which means a technology aimed at the sense of touch. Whatever happens on screen you can see with your eyes, with Haptics you can also feel what happens on screen. This might sound like science fiction but the technology is actually pretty old. In the seventies the first computer games in arcade halls already had Haptics (i.e. vibrating steering wheels during car crashes in race games) even before that Haptics were applied in remote controlled machines to have better control when dealing with hazardous materials, deep sea expedition devices etc. The first Haptic cyber sex systems saw the day light during the early nineties. With most notably the CyberSM system which consisted of 2 remote controlled full body suits . The remote controlling consisted of activating various electric shockers and vibrating points in the other person’s body suit over an ISDN line. The following years more Haptic sex devices were created. Remote controlled dildos, USB connected Mechanical vagina’s which upon entry activated a vibrator on the other side of the internet line and there are webcam site which let you control several toys in the performers room but to my knowledge Haptics in cybersex still really hasn’t hit off. I think the devices are still to clumsy and the desired effect is not reached. It’s not easy to recreate human touch with a mechanical device and for now it is probably more hilarious than it is erotic. This doesn’t mean Haptics in webcamsex is not interesting to follow, it certainly is. We are working towards full body suits which can exert pressure all over the body in every thinkable spot. Imagine if you combine this with a virtual reality device. Together in a digital environment where you can feel it when somebody touches you, pretty amazing right? And Haptics are not only combinable with virtual reality devices. Scientist researching holographic interaction are even trying to create touchable holographic creations (through sound waves ). Touchable holographic girls and holograpic girls that can touch you. Now we’ re talking!
All in all touch is one of the most important senses when having sexual interaction of any kind. When we are able to realistically recreate this, cyber sex will make a huge leap forward as an erotic experience. But in which time-frame will this be possible and how close can it get to the real thing? I’m sure of one thing, it will never get as close as the following subject.
Stash your virtual reality helmets and your Haptical suits away in your basement because finally we have arrived in 2030! We have the computing power to simulate a human brain and we fully understand the working of the human brain. What does this mean? One possible doomsday scenario -like so beautifully portrayed in the terminator movies- is: Computerized devices (Probably everything around you by then) will become a zillion times smarter than humans and squash us all like little insects. I do not like this scenario so let’s assume we will survive and let’s take an example which instantly creates an easy bridge to cyber sex. To put it simply we can read the brain (take info from it) and we can read to the brain (feed it info). We are already able to read brain waves today in 2012 we simply don’t know what they all mean. Once we have reverse engineered the brain we will understand it all and the unimaginable becomes possible. You will be able to go to bed, record your brain activity and in the morning watch your recorded dreams from the past night on your television (ehm I mean on your holographic display). This also works the other way around, you can feed “dreams” to your brain. See it as a simple DVD recorder, you can record your favorite television show, but you can also rent a DVD and watch your favorite movie. The device that connects your brain to an external device is called a brain computer interface. This is an interface that is directly connected to your neural system. We already have similar devices like this in medical science today, we have made blind people see again, deaf people hear again and paralyzed people move again, we have managed to let animals watch at objects and directly record the stream from the brain analyze it and turn it back in to an image showing the object on a display (like the DVD recorder example only far far more simplified), we have created radio controlled rats etc.
If you are able to directly feed info to all your senses then the moment has arrived that cybersex will not only be equal to real life sex, but it will surpass it because your wildest dreams will become a reality. You will be able to truly feel and see and hear and taste ( not really sure if that’s a good thing) situations that you could never in real life. You could choose to live in a world with only women in it, millions of naked women who all want you! You can jump out of an airplane while having sex before landing in a gigantic hamburger and it would be just as real or if you prefer more perfect than it would if it was possible in real life. So there you have it, the future of cybersex is landing in a hamburger.
Pure perfection! or not? let’s think about this. Apart from all the dangerous scenarios this technological revolution brings with it, isn’t part of what makes sex amazing the desire? And isn’t desire partly created by that what you don’t have or what is not easy to get. I mean if you have 24/7 access to perfect sex, will it still be perfect after one year, after two years , or will we discover that its the imperfections in human relationships that make sex perfect? I’m tempted to say yes but wait, we can also simulate imperfections with our mind machines. Problem solved!
But what effect will such devices have on human social life, We don’t have to look to the future to see a rise in computer and Internet addictions. No this is already happening right now. Internet and computer addiction is not uncommon terminology. Will we all be ‘plugged-in’ 24/7 matrix style? Will there even be any flesh to flesh contact or will organic human live cease to exist and will we upload our minds on the web and live as conscious entities in cyberspace. Will nerdy programmers be the best payed actors in the adult scene? surely a girl from flesh and blood can make no money when everybody has access to all sorts and shapes of women digitally who give them better orgasms then real life girls can and can do things no real girl can ever do.
It’s very likely human and Artificial intelligent minds will have relationships. Now you might think you couldn’t and wont ever fall in love with something that’s not human. Maybe, but think about someone close to you that has passed away, a family member, close friend or a lover. In the future we will most likely be able to upload one’s mind to a computer. This means when someone dies they stop to exist in their human form but you would still be able to talk to their digital legacy. Now you can argue it is only a simulation you are talking to. It’s not a real conscious mind, not the same person. Again this is a statement subjected to intense debate amongst scientist. Is a simulation like that really any different from the real person or are they actually still the same conscious mind? We might never be able to objectively test consciousness. But maybe a conscious mind, one’s self, soul or whatever you want to call it in our human form is only the sum of the brains calculations/processes. After all the brain is basically nothing more than a computer, so it might very well be that an uploaded mind in a computer is still the same ‘person’ the only difference is the calculations/processes are no longer taking place in the brain but in a computer.
So let’s assume we are still living in our human form and someone close to you dies and like said you are still able to talk to her/him. You might both be aware that the human part of life has ended but you still share the same memories, you can still ask for advice, talk about the future, share your experiences. Are you really sure you wouldn’t care for this ‘person’ if there is no noticeable difference in communicating? Would you stop loving someone if they needed a pacemaker or a new hip? Or if they had an accident and needed an artificial leg,kidney or heart? No right? What if they needed 2 new artificial legs and arms, lungs and a heart? You’d still love them. Is it any different when they would change their brain by an artificial one? After all isn’t the brain just another part of the body like a heart?
When you look like it this way it doesn’t same to unbelievable that one can has feelings for artificial minds. And there should be no difference between artificial minds who were copied from organic brains or beings that are born/created digitally. Especially when you put this artificial mind in a body that looks and feels exactly the same a real human, this can be in a simulated world or in real life which we would call a cyborg.
Again this sounds like movie stuff. But a cyborg is nothing more than a being with organic and artificial/mechanic elements. Someone with a pacemaker could be called a cyborg. In the future we can create cyborgs from scratch and the end product would be indistinguishable from real humans in looks, feel and behaviour. Love robots will be a reality. You can have one created to you personal specifications, the perfect looks and personality!
For now cyber sex will be different from normal sex and the industry will strive to improve and make cybersex as real as real life sex. During this quest some amazing entertaining products will appear and this will continue up until the point that real life and cyber life merges together, molded into 1 reality. Once we have the possibility of simulating any reality we’d like we wouldn’t need any new devices for sexual pleasure we could just simulate them. In the introduction I quoted the definition of cybersex: Sexual arousal using computer technology. It is possible that life in virtual words fully replaces live as we know it and we would only live in cyberspace. In this case having sex in whatever form would fall under today’s definition of cybersex. Of course this hypothetical case will be in the far far future. For this article I took Ray Kurzweil’s prediction of 2030 being the year computers match the human brain’s power and tot reverse engineering of the brain. This prediction is widely regarded as optimistic and even if 2030 would be correct it would take many more decades of research to be able to create brain computers capable of delivering a virtual world indistinguishable from real life. And it would take many decades or centuries more for the whole human civilization to live in a virtual world. Of course this might never happen, human civilization might choose to keep a physical form. Even if this is the case it doesn’t change anything about the fact that life-like virtual reality is coming. Maybe we won’t choose to live in it permanently but you can bet your 3D TV on it that it will be used for entertainment and not in the least for sexual entertainment. Also we will live side by side with cyborgs, no doubt. Sex robots will be as normal as today’s vibrators. What impact will all this have on human social life? Human social live as we know it will change that’s for sure,but for the good or for the bad?
A lot of questions and a part of me cannot wait to find out the answers but the other part is terrified for what’s about to cUm