India Future Society

The Transhumanist Future of Sex

by Zoltan Istvan

virtual-sex-4[1]The internet is rife with chatter about the transhumanist age we are entering, where radical science and technology are already changing the way we live. Everything fromrobotic hearts to personal drones to mind-reading headsets are here. The new tech coming in just a few years will touch nearly every aspect of our lives, including one of the most personal ones: sex.

Mammals use sex as a means to generate offspring, to experience pleasure, and for bonding with partners. Throughout the last few centuries, humans have embraced tools, drugs, and even surgical operations in an attempt to improve sex.

To date, the list of transhumanist-themed tools and apparatuses our species has created for sex is practically endless. Perhaps the best known one is the condom, where descriptions of their use and composition begin to appear in 16th century writings. The writings of 16th century physician Gabriele Falloppio includes one of the first documented references to condoms, and describes them as linen sheaths soaked in a chemical solution. Today, the condom is one of the leading life extension tools in the world, due to the protection it offers from disease, such as HIV.

Over 300,000 Americans underwent breast augmentation via plastic surgery, which typically aims to enhance sex appeal, in 2011. In the last century, one of the most sensationalized applications for sex is Viagra, whose name is almost as recognizableas Coca-Cola or Rolls Royce. Along with other options like Levitra and Cialis, erection drugs have helped return sexual health to millions of men (and their partners) around the world.

Today, sex—and technology for sex—is all around us, 24/7. The internet provides a continual stream of pornography, for better or worse, to millions of users everyday. AForbes article citing neuroscientist Ogi Ogas says that between July 2009 and July 2010, 13 percent of web searches were for erotic content. It’s not just computers, though. Many people routinely use their cell phones for sexting. And the sex toy industry is a multi-billion dollar business, with thousands of workers and engineers dedicated to it.

Yet, whatever has happened so far in the history of sex is not going to be nearly as exciting or bizarre as what’s coming next. Whether by drugs, technology, or surgery, the future of sex is set to explode. Look for virtual sex and foreplay to become commonplace, where partners are linked into brain wave headsets and virtual reality goggles.

Some will take it further, and use full body haptic suits—a friend of mine called it the future hump suit—to experience full sexual immersion. Virtual worlds and Second Lives will keep people experiencing sexual acts they might not feel comfortable doing in real life—all without the risk of pregnancy or STDs.

I recently was asked by my wife what I wanted for Christmas. I replied: I want an exoskeleton suit. They’re going to be all the rage soon.

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Indeed, exoskeleton technology is significantly improving every year. Panasonic is getting ready to sell the first mass-produced robotic exoskeleton for just under $5,000. They are still crude, but in 5-10 years time, they are likely to make us faster runners, stronger climbers, and better athletes. I surmise an entire sporting and recreational culture will develop around them, similar to motorcycles and ATVs. Can you imagine the growing discipline of Parkour in one? Eventually, exoskeleton suits will look like the ones in the blockbuster movie Elysium starring Matt Damon.

But what about sex? Will they help? Yes! Potentially, a lot. Especially for disabled, obese, or unfit persons. Harvard is working on a soft exoskeleton suit. Someday soon, we will strap on exoskeleton suits and put ourselves in sexual positions once only possible for Bikram yoga experts—and then go at it. And we won’t be tiring very easily, either, not with the suits doing much of the work.

Almost as strange is the new internal skeletal stuff being developed, which combines structures inside your body to external artificial limbs. In a recent article forExtremeTech, engineer and neuroscientist John Hewitt writes:

In order to wield any artificial limb with full strength and confidence we are going to need to plug it in properly, so that it becomes a real part of our musculoskeletal system. Researchers at the Royal National Orthopedic hospital have now created an implant that does just that by interfacing a leg prosthesis directly to your endoskeleton.

We’ve already seen penile implants and surgical modifications of sexual organs. But this new musculosketelal technology is much more revolutionary. If scientists can connect internal human parts to external bionic parts, (and they’re already connecting robotic arms to the nervous system) then the age of the cyborg is truly here. Surely biohackers will remove body parts and limbs in an attempt to become a stronger, more agile entity.

Read full story at http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-transhumanist-future-of-sex

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