Actually finding some time to write in this blog at long last. Teaching and assessment work take up a lot of focus at this time of the year… but always look forward to seeing my students graduate this month! The past few months have been very hectic, involving quite a lot of discussion and writing surrounding the theme of robot sex. The conference proceedings from the last Love and Sex with Robots 2016 conference have been published, and my article on attachment is in it. I have also been participating in a few speaking panels, where I discussed the more positive side to sex and technology alongside Dr K Richardson who doesn’t approve of such things. Interesting discussions – but you’ll have to make your own mind up on the different arguments here.
It’s great to see young women in sex tech developing their entrepreneurial capabilities which makes me feel like I should have been born at least 40 years later than I was!! It is refreshing to see ideas surrounding sex and tech that were considered crazy all those years ago now making sense to people, and becoming physical realities. Consequently, I submitted a short journal article about the recent UK cultural history of VR/sex/tech. This is an interesting story that needs to be told and is continuously developing and I am writing about it. If we are going to look at possible future of sex and technology, then we need to also understand its history.
There are various snippets of interest in the digital world at the moment – the new report on Sex and Robots by Sharkey et al is out. I found it a little limited in approach, particularly when it came to specific sex practices that could have been better researched and articulated, with nothing really new in it that had not already been discussed in both the popular press and in multidisciplinary academic circles. Nonetheless, it was good to see a general overview on the subject, whether you agree with it or not. I still argue that Robots, AI, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are becoming ubiquitous in all aspects of our lives – including sex, intimacy and the body – and are part of an evolutionary sexual strategy for the anthropocene era.
Currently reviewing my own VR research practice signing up to Steam so that I can get to grips with Tiltbrush and start to produce my own concepts and contexts of eroticism in digital space. I’m the sort of person who likes to ‘do’ stuff if I am going to write about it. Also other talking engagements are coming up – including some trips to both Exeter as part if their contribution to the Women of the World programme and to Zurich for the Future Media Day in the autumn with other earlier events still in development.
Interactive sexual fantasy design for VR. (Some links show adult material)
Got my usual trend alert newsletter from Shaping Tomorrow this week. This time it mentions interactive design and how virtual reality (VR) will change the way we do things. So I looked up some of the links in the newsletter and was fascinated to see how creativity and innovation is predicted to change – particularly in relation to interactive design – and this got me thinking – specifically in terms of VR. I have been doing research on robots/VR/tech/sex/attachment for quite some years now and thinking seriously on how to create VR engagement which does not necessarily follow the usual pornographic or erotica route, but looks at relationship forming and how an individuals’ psychological love map is developed and mediated in some way as an interactive narrative.
Part of the trend alert suggests that various new concepts of ‘jobs’ will come into creation and many old ones will disappear – so it is time to diversify. So, on top of being a lecturer, researcher and artist I could think of myself as an interactive sex fantasy designer or a gamifier of romance…. watch this space…
one of my old illustrations way back in 1991…Cyberdom
Writing and contributing to quite a few things recently mostly about robots, VR and sexuality and tech.. and a Podcast I did for the Guardian is now available here:
Some of the things I have been writing about this week for various online publishing ventures, a conference and book chapter: Artificial Humans (AH) and attachment; the geekification of fetish; exploring and combining psychosexual theories and applying them to robots. Once some of these have been published, I will put them up on this blog…
One of my lino prints: My Happy Little Robot Skipping!
Looking at all the VR that’s available now, and remembering the early 1990s – the cost of VR kit at the time, the SIZE of the kit then and the HYPE and disappointment of the content… but VR, a new tech combined with sex/sexuality? – why should they even go together? There were magazines like ‘Future Sex’* , there were early CD ROM games like Virtual Valerie* ( a sort of kinky Tron game), and there were classic attempts at physical connections over very early Internet links with some very inventive and creative individuals and teams – such as CyberSM… oh… yes and there was a little something that myself and a super team at a media tech company called Virtual S made back in 1992….
But before I describe my work in any detail – in order to look at the context of the technology at the time I suggest you watch this documentary from BBCs Horizon – about early VR..
Horizon – Colonizing Cyberspace
*Please be aware that some of the content of this Blog may be for over 18s only.
This is my independant ‘thinking out loud’ blog and will focus on my work surrounding digital technology and sexual futurology. Building on from my participation in the debate on Synthetic Emotions at FutureFest 2016 in the image above, this blog will inform about my new ideas and research surrounding contemporary entertainment and media landscapes such as virtual reality, haptic devices, robots and other forms of technology and communication – in an exploration of deviation, innovation and the body.