Technology will shape our society as porn and sexbots destroy 21st century marriage

The march of modern technology is driven to a large extent by men’s desire for pornography. That is true today, will be true tomorrow, and will bring changes to society that today we cannot imagine.

The evolution of the cell phone.

Porn in the mobile world
From 9gag.com.

The graph is a joke, but describes an important truth: porn has been fueling the leading edge of technology for a long time.  Some technologies for whom porn fueled its early development: printing, photography, microfiche (late 1800’s), subtitles and closed captioning for the hearing impaired, cable television, and video cassette recorders, digital cameras, bulletin board systems (early 1990s first generation internet), streaming video (early 1990s), webcams (~1995),  e-commerce (mid to late 1990’s). Also For a fun version turn (as always) to Cracked.com: “5 Ways Porn Created the Modern World“. For a more scholarly review, see “Pornography, Video, and the Internet” by Jonathan Coopersmith, IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, Spring 2000 (here’s a CNN story about his work) and “Pornography Drives Technology” by Peter Johnson, Federal Communications Law Journal, November 1996.

These were small effects compared to what is coming. This is equivalent to the early phases of flight — gliders, biplanes — with canvas and wood monoplanes just coming to market. Soon we will have the equivalent of WWII B-17s and B-29s. The next decade we will see the pornographic equivalent of B-52s. In two more decades we’ll have the equivalent of 747s.  Men’s sex drives provide the early adopters to fund cutting edge tech.

To understand what will happen, look at the history of sexbots in films and TV.

The history of sexbots

“This will blow up the world. It will make crack cocaine look like decaffeinated coffee.”
— Anonymous comment about sexbots (source here).

Just as men have looked into the sky and dreamed of flying, men have dreamed of women that were beyond their reach — beautiful with pleasant personalities, unavailable to the majority of beta and omega men. One of the first in film and TV was “My Living Doll“, a 1964-65 TV show about a robot played by the beautiful and talented Julie Newmar. The opening teases the premise, which was too hot for 1960s TV. Sexbots also appeared in four episodes of the original “Star Trek” (always on the cutting edge of social trends, far more so than the sequels).

Watch the full opening (it’s only 30 seconds long).

The 1970s saw several versions, most notably in the 1975 film The Stepford Wives. It is double-plusungood PC, so copies are a collector’s items (don’t hold your breath for a re-release of the DVD). More in the 1980s, such as Pris (“the basic pleasure model) in the 1982 film Blade Runner. After 2000 they became commonplace fixtures in the future, ranging from a sympathetic voice in Her (more than an omega can hope for in reality) to the weirdly enigmatic and hot AI in Ex Machina.

Two key things to understand

We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.
— Attributed to
Roy Charles Amara as paraphrased by Robert X. Cringely.

First, sexbots are coming. Not every guy will want them. But not every guy wanted to read Hustler, but enough did to make Larry Flint a rich man. Here is a video of a first generation sexbot (it is not like a woman, just as an 1849 glider was not a Boeing Dreamliner 787).

 

Wonder Woman on Themyscira

Second, feminism has accelerated this trend. Women’s economic independence from men plus government’s almost unavoidable extraction of child support are liberation on a scale probably unimaginable to first wave suffragettes. For the first time in history they can dress and act independent of men’s preferences. On Themyscira, the home of the Amazons in the new Wonder Woman film (“When it comes to procreation, men are essential, but for pleasure, not necessary.”), women dress as men usually imagine women dress when they’re alone. Tight outfits, miniskirts, and fancy shoes with high heels.

Ten minutes on a college campus reveals the truth. Left to themselves, without the need to attract a husband, women dress for comfort. As is their right to do. This change in appearances, and the accompanying changes in gender relations, has boosted the market for porn — soft-core in films and TV, and hard core via the internet.

Well-dressed compliant sexbots will hit western society like a thunderbolt. Feminists might attempt to ban them. But banning merchandise used at home will be difficult in the US. Sexbots are not conceptually just sex toys, including the vibrators loved by feminists.

A prediction

The people now in college will be the first generation in which a large fraction — over a third — do not marry (excluding first and second generation immigrants, still held by their native culture). A smaller but large fraction will not have children.

Many of the women will see no need to marry. Many will stay single until their ability to get a husband diminishes. Many are in the lower class where such social structures have broken under the combination of economic stress and social change.  Cats will be the new children. Small birds will either evolve to survive in a nation of abundant super-predictors, or join the passenger pigeon in extinction.

Many men will be either insufficiently unattractive to attract a wife (e.g., by jail, income, drugs, personality, physique, or obesity). Many men will be able to marry but consider marriage a bad risk (1 in 3 odds of a wife playing the game of romance – marriage – kids – put them in first grade – divorce – child support) — choosing some combination of casual sex, prostitutes, and (increasingly) sexbots.

This will vaporize many of the social and economic institutions in today’s America. Life will go on. Perhaps better. Perhaps worse. We will know which by comparison with other nations whose people have taken other paths. It is an experiment that we perform on ourselves, with our children as guinea pigs. We are confident of the result — as seen in the comments to this series of posts. Time will tell if it is warranted.

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about romance, about women and gender, and especially these…

  1. The feminist revolutionaries have won. Insurgents have arisen to challenge the new order. As always, they’re outlaws.
  2. The war of the sexes heats up: society changes as men learn the Dark Triad.
  3. Men are “going Galt”. Marriage is dying. Will society survive?
  4. Men are abandoning the rat race, & changing American society.
  5. Why men are avoiding work and marriage.
  6. Will today’s young men marry? America’s future depends which of these answers is right.
  7. A brief guide to the new war of the sexes. Both sides are 100% right.
  8. America’s war of the sexes gets worse. Here’s why.

Books pointing to our future America with new gender relations

I don’t know of any. Please post your suggestions in the comments.

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16 thoughts on “Technology will shape our society as porn and sexbots destroy 21st century marriage

  1. Martin van Creveld concludes that a major cause of organized conflict, including war, is that “boys will be boys.” (OK, he said it more academically.) If this is even remotely right, and your predictions are similarly accurate, this suggests lots of young males with no family obligations holding them back, and, given the effects of robotics / machine learning on other areas of the economy, not much else to do. More fuel for future wars, particularly US involvement in the Third World?

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    1. More likely to lead to gladiatorial style combat, I think. Much more comfortable lifestyle (except in the arena), better medical coverage, and a more direct (and better) effort to reward ratio. Think increasingly violent versions of WWF (Rollerball anybody?).

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    2. Pluto,

      Rollarball! I didn’t think of that when I wrote (previous post) about drugs, sex, sports and video games as the opiates of our age. Thanks for the reminder! It’s a great example of what I’ve written about so often — that science fiction of the past holds clues to our future.

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    3. Chet,

      That’s a provocative thought, as usual!

      That was a prediction made a decade or so ago about many third world nations — average age 17 or 18, high unemployment, massive social change and so large numbers of alienated young men. China was said to be the extreme case, with its massive surplus of young men (but low unemployment due to rapid economic growth). Yet it hasn’t happened. Understanding why might tell us much.

      As for America, you might be right. But we will have powerful pacifiers. First, cheap and powerful drugs — already having a massive effect on America, with new and different ones coming. Second, sex. With women liberated from modesty, chastity, fertility, and marriage. Eventually the male pill will made it even safer. Third, perhaps we’ll get religion. Marx said…

      “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”.

      We now have really good drugs, so perhaps opiates are the opiates of the people. But let’s never underestimate human ingenuity. Nietzsche said we might be ripe for the rise new religions. Strong ones, unlike what he regarded as Christianity — which he believed made us weak.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. In one way, I’m already being proven right — street gangs, e.g. The next step will be to recruit them (we’re already recruiting from them). Years ago, an “ad” appeared in Mad Magazine asking “Why fight organized crime? Join it!” Indeed.

      It’s worth pointing out that religion and an aggressive foreign military policy are not mutually exclusive.

      Speaking of sexbots, the Mark 36B LSD (Libido Satisfaction Device) is easily transportable to forward deployed troops by drone or airdrop. It is fully milspec’d and field configurable for a variety of gender preferences. As an added benefit, if operated and maintained per regs and instructions, its use virtually eliminates the possible transmission of STDs.

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  2. Thanks, FM. Speaking as a young man to be effected by all of this and contemplating his possible future without a family, some thoughts:

    1) This will probably accelerate the lack of fecundity in 1st World nations among natives, which is already a fait accompli anyway, thus contributing to the tensions implicit in accepting large amounts of migrants. (Minus Japan, Australia, Israel, and South Korea, which show that this is a choice, not a necessity for 1st World nations in the 21st century, contrary to what the open borders crowd says, but that’s another tangent for another day…)

    Often not noticed is that the only region of the world still reproducing fast is sub-Saharan Africa, along with Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines: India, Indonesia, and Brazil have all dropped to 2 kids per woman as they’ve developed, Iran is interestingly further below that. Even Saudi Arabia is only at 2.83. For some, this won’t stop their forseeable problems as the wave is coming anyway (South Asia, especially Bangladesh, which already has more people than Russia in spite of being the size of Louisiana), but that being said, by 2050, the youth of the world is going to be much more heavily African.

    2) As automation goes along (long term speculation), some sort of GAI will become necessary as the robots take over daily functioning jobs akin to the slaves in ancient Rome. The Overton Window has already shifted in this regard, if Obama’s post-Presidential comments are taken as a barometer. Musk and Zuckerberg, the latter of which will likely run as President sometime in the 2020s, are on record as supporting it. It could actually be quite efficient, and theoretically speaking, people could end up with more freedom with a GAI, for the reasons that were pointed out in 1969 when we first contemplated such a measure. With that being said, people need some sort of higher routine purpose to their life. It’d be great if this meant people were free to do scientific research or start their own business or travel the world or live their meaningfully, but I suspect for a lot of people, not having a job will result in a lack of emotional purpose to their lives, leading to all sorts of problems-from depression to antisocial behavior. This will be particularly pronounced in young males who have little attaching them to society and even less of a reason to trust it.

    3) How this effects interactions between men and women will be interesting to see. My own suspicion is that both genders will be, on the whole, less happy and tend to spend more time with their own gender than each other. But this might actually be good for stability as our corporate overlords define it in the short term. After all, if the women aren’t having kids, they can spend more time on the job and have more money to buy the stuff they sell. This will be even more pronounced for the bottom 50% percent, he vast majority of entry level/lower level positions generally favor female attributes.

    As for the men, you’ll see increasing numbers simply choosing not to play, especially if #2 comes into being. Why waste time trying to get an HR Drone job that you’d suck at if you could spend your time playing games-or join a paramilitary organization funded by an unscrupulous, politically ambitious billionaire-instead? Men on higher socioeconomic levels will have more options, and generally speaking, marriage is still running strong for America’s gentry classes. But will they take them? That’s an interesting question to ask.

    4) It is quite possible for a society to begin accepting massive amounts of violence and vast gaps of entrenched inequality, often along racial caste lines, as normal: just look at Brazil. We may see something like that in America. We already are, to an extent. We have a ways to go yet, but we can get there. We’ve already got serious academics (Tyler Cowen) advocating that downwardly mobile Americans enjoy themselves some “Zona Sul level” Rio style favelas in Texas as mobility decreases and “Average is Over”. Upper-middle class, “Outer Party” Americans will spend increasing amounts of money to live in a neighborhood with a good school and good services. They will live increasingly tenuous lives to make sure they stay above water and make sure their kids don’t fall through the cracks, as there will be fewer second chances if they mess up.

    My own hope a few years ago lay in online education busting apart the traditional education system. I still think it could be a game-changer for a motivated few, but I’m increasingly beginning to wonder if that was horrendously naive.

    On China: It actually has happened, to a degree. I was in China last summer: there are a lot of spree knife attacks* in China these days much as you’d see school shooters in the US, and the Chinese government is extremely wary about Islamist groups appealing to young men in China’s relatively underdeveloped western regions-not just to ethnic minorities, but even to the highly assimilated Hui or possibly converting alienated Han. One of the big motivators for the human flesh trade out of North Korea is selling the women (easier for women to escape the DPRK) to lonely rural Chinese bachelors in the Northeast, China’s version of the Rust Belt.

    That said, China has had large surpluses of “bare branches” before in their history, who have typically reacted in varying ways ranging from rebellion to banditry to silent acceptance. They’ve seen this before in a way the US really hasn’t, and they have a pretty heavy written set of cultural norms to deal with it. The outcomes have ranged from the catastrophic (Taiping rebellion-the 2nd most deadly conflict in recorded history next to WWII) to the profitable (sending them abroad to spread influence. send money home, and discover the world-Zheng He). For one thing, emigration out of China has not ceased-even a lot of richer Chinese tend to want their kids out of China, in spite of it being a developed economy. So I suspect that a lot of young Chinese men will start looking at a fresh start abroad if chances at home look grim. Richer Chinese will look to Singapore, the US, and Vancouver, more average Chinese might look at Africa. The Chinese presence in Africa is one of the great hidden stories of this century so far: it stretches back to the Mao days, but has massively increased in the 21st Century as Chinese ties have gotten more explicitly development based. A lot of East African governments (Paul Kagame has based his development model explicitly off of China and Singapore) really like the Chinese: pragmatic, none of the nagging you see with Westerners, just a focus on profit and development. You already see a lot of Chinese families in Africa, making their own businesses, often doing incredibly well, and sending the kids back to relatives in China for high school.

    It is already very common for rural Chinese men to “marry abroad”-Vietnam in the South, Russia (the local Russian women tend to look upon the Chinese as superior husband material to their own men, which helps) for Chinese migrants to the north. As time goes on, maybe they’ll start looking at importing African women, given China’s presence on that continent and the high death rate among young African males. It could happen. Chinese culture is *extraordinarily* communal and family oriented (one of the cultural norms I alluded to above) in a way Western culture isn’t: so, for a lot of these men, better a Nigerian wife than no wife at all.

    * http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/33-dead-130-injured-china-knife-wielding-spree-n41966
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/not-just-sandy-hook-chinas-terrifying-knife-attacks

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  3. I think that you may be missing something very important about sex bots. Porn is private. Sex bots scream “Look at me, I am fucking a machine”

    As long as society rejects sex bots as being normal and not a perversion, they will not penetrate society, pun intended.

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    1. Reasonable,

      “As long as society rejects sex bots as being normal and not a perversion, they will not penetrate society,”

      By that logic, there should be no market for porn — esp. the more extreme kind. How many people read it as their desks at work, or leave their porn magazines, books, and DVDs on their coffee tables? As conversation starters with guests about bondage, rape fantasies, mind control, animals, B&D, etc!

      By that logic, there should be no market for sex toys (for either gender). Sex toys “scream look at me, I’m getting off with _____!”

      More realistically, for the foreseeable future sexbots — like other sex toys — will be household appliances used in private, hidden from most guests.

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  4. You have observed very interesting details ! ps decent site.

    “Upon my knee, what doth your speech import?
    I understand a fury in your words,
    But not the words.
    — Desdemona to Othello, in Act 4 Scene 2 of “Othello” by William Shakespeare.

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    1. Renko,

      Thank you for the feedback! Also, nice use of Shakespeare. However, I have the opposite difficult with your comment. I understand the words but don’t understand the context. What don’t you understand in this post? Also, what in it suggests “fury” to you?

      Like

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