Online Cyborg Sex Facilitates Human Connections

The article “Experts ponder a future of new sex gizmos, robots” caught my eye.

People seem to have less and less time to spend really communicating with one another. After you get back from the office and attend to your chores, do you have enough time to really connect with people? Do you socialise as much as you used to? Can you afford to go out as much?

There is nothing that works on the Internet like pornography and sexual content. I might go so far as to say that pornography is a driving force in video compression, high speed internet links, and a precursor to most other online commerce. Today, teledildonics – or remote controlled sexual stimulation – is a reality that is a niche business with an interesting future.

Little ground is left uncovered in the ever growing desire to link everything to the Internet to revolutionise our world and make money to boot. How much of a life could you live without ever leaving your keyboard now? You can keep up with friends, order almost anything for delivery, and even… remotely operate some kind of pleasure device whilst watching your stimulated (simulated?) companion on a webcam feed.

The line between what is real and what is cyborg is beginning to blur. The same distinction between true human connections and online chimera friendships is getting more difficult to make. As the article concludes :

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,”

What happens if the main way you relate to people is through an electromechanical device, and not the warmth of human touch?

9 Responses to “Online Cyborg Sex Facilitates Human Connections”

  1. Marinade Dave Says:

    Hmm… I don’t know. Women, er, excuse me, people (I need to be politically correct here) have been using battery operated devices for years now. Happily married ones, too. While watching videos.

  2. Simon Says:

    Hi Dave,

    Well solitary or shared pleasures are not, in my opinion, the same as a cyborg relationship where a human is replaced by a simulated human.

    Battery operated “personal” devices are not the same as a device linked to a network and controlled at a distance. At this point, the line begins to blur but nothing that serious. However, what if the controller is software which starts to have elements of artificial intelligence and pretends to be human?

    How does the human touch differ from the simulated cyborg, and what happens if a new generation stop being able to discern the difference? Are we facilitating human interaction or replacing it at this point?

    You could draw a parallel with writing a letter or writing an email. There may not be a difference in the words you write, but there’s something more human about the letter, no? When we no longer write letters on paper with ink, have we not lost something?

    -Fruey

  3. Marinade Dave Says:

    With every evolution in the human cog, we lose something. When I was young, when we moved into a new neighborhood, the neighbors would bring you something to welcome you. Seldom do we receive that sort of fellowship and bonding, but does it make us less human?

    Personally, I think that anyone who cannot tell the difference between some sort of cyborg or artificial intelligence and the real thing needs to get more than just their heads examined.

  4. Simon Says:

    For me it’s a question of how much of your life you’re replacing by artificiality. If we forget the sexual stimulation with an object (dildoes have existed forever) but instead look at cyborg and electronic means replacing human interaction, just like arriving at a neighbourhood and meeting the neighbours has been replaced by just moving in and getting on with it, where are we headed?

    There seems to be some contradiction, then, between saying that this technology “facilitates” human connections / communication when in fact it removes the need for true in the flesh contact.

    I totally agree that anyone who cannot tell the difference needs more than just a reality check… but I wonder if the atrophy in human communication may not have deeper resonances in two or three generations time.

    -Fruey

  5. Marinade Dave Says:

    … and so it goes. Remember the good old days before computers when you’d all sit around the TV set at night, after eating your TV dinners?

    Heck! I remember a time when owning a TV was a luxury. Instead, we’d sit around the radio, eating home cooked meals with vegetables picked from a back yard garden.

  6. carrster Says:

    Marinade Dave – can we go back to that PLEASE?!?

    Perhaps there will be a revolution (for some) where we return to the simpler things like conversations over dinner, gabbing over the back fence with neighbors and writing letters the old fashioned way (btw, I have a pen pal – LETTERS – and we’ve been writing for 24 years!!) Definitely adds a human element, although I love my email….

  7. Simon Says:

    Many books and films postulate a post-apocalyptic world where technology is gone, and humankind go back to the simple basics like conversations, living in social groups, and surviving. The last world war was a time (especially in Europe) where communities were knit together in hardship and duress.

    Going back to the nostalgic past probably needs not a revolution but devastation and rebirth. But given the price of oil at the moment, who knows where we are heading?

    -Fruey

  8. sharlet Says:

    I think it’s a matter of balance. Technology serves to improve our lives, but we shouldn’t get addicted to it or spend so much time on it such that it decreases the quality of our social interactions with one another. Then again, this whole question of “quality” is debatable. I have many friends who prefer to converse online with each other rather than off, and if not for the Internet, many people I know would be boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse-less right now. Personally though, I feel that nothing beats the “real-life” experience. :)

  9. Simon Says:

    Hi Sharlet,

    Welcome to Let’s Have It, nice to see new commenters.

    The question of balance is relevant to many aspects of life, and the marriage of human and technology should not be too one-sided. “Real life” will always exist, but is becoming more tech-augmented every day.

    Future generations with mobile phones, GPS and the Internet may not appreciate maps, books and classic orientation with little more than the sun as a guide to where north is. But then, most of us don’t know how to make fire like prehistoric man did, and few of us can do arithmetic like people could before calculators. Striking a balance is the key point here, because one day where will we be if suddenly – for example – we don’t have power for our computers? What will remain of those tangible things which were such key references in the past?

    -Fruey