The Kamikaze: Adult Entertainment and Technology

PORN: The Hidden Engine That Drives Innovation In Tech

by Ross  Benes, courtesy Playboy edits by @ChrittyWatts

vintage poster porn

Even though Google Glass just  banned porn, the adult industry still looks to adapt and drive new technology.

Whether its interactive motion-controlled porn, sexual  avatars, biofeedback or 3D video, the adult industry looks to perfect and  broaden the commercialization of new technologies, according to Patchen Barss,  author of “The Erotic Engine: How Pornography has Powered Mass Communication  from Gutenberg to Google.”

Other areas where porn is on the frontier include computer  controlled sex toys called “teledildonics,” Internet cash transactions, virtual  worlds and lobbying for anti-piracy legislation, he said.

Some adult entertainment executives are even experimenting with haptic  technologies so they can add another sense, touch, to the porn viewing  experience. For example, the product RealTouch uses a high-tech orifice with  heaters and servomotors to recreate the sensations of a porn scene. Products  like RealTouch push the technology to find an initial market, which then shifts  the public mindset and makes it easier for other products using the technology  to find mainstream use, Barss said.

An example of a non-porn product captivating this porn driven technology can  be seen in the oddest places – overactive parents preparing for child birth.

The diaper maker Huggies recently come out with a “pregnancy belt” that uses  haptic technology to allow an expecting father to experience the feeling of the  baby kicking in the mother’s womb. Products like the Huggies belt are possible  because porn pushed the technology in its early stages, Barss said. While  computerizing orgasms might seem like science fiction, driving technological  adaption and innovation is not a new phenomenon for the adult industry.

While the military created the Internet, it would not have found a solid  consumer base without porn. Not only did the adult industry find enough early  consumers to keep the Internet around, but it then pioneered streaming video,  tracking devices and online credit card transactions. The concept of ecommerce,  which is now a major part of the world economy, owes much of its early existence  to porn.logo_playboy

“The industry has convincingly demonstrated that consumers are willing to  shop online and are willing to use credit cards to make purchases,” said  Frederick Lane in “Obscene Profits: The Entrepreneurs of Pornography in the  Cyber Age.” “In the process, the porn industry has served as a model for a  variety of online sales mechanisms, including monthly site fees, the provision  of extensive free material as a lure to site visitors, and the concept of  upselling (selling related services to people once they have joined a site). In  myriad ways, large and small, the porn industry has blazed a commercial path  that other industries are hastening to follow.”

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On top of that, porn drove the demand for bandwidth since it dominated the  flow of images and video on the Internet, Barss said.

“Because there was a perpetual demand for more, different and better  pornographic products, bandwidth needed to grow,” he said.

That’s why bandwidth growth might be porn’s greatest contribution to the  Internet since it allowed more material to move around the world at a much  quicker rate. Think of the military as the inventor and creator of a product and  porn as the entrepreneur who brings the product to the masses.

Porn also shaped other technologies such as library card cataloging systems  and the home video market due to its large role during the VCR and Betamax  battles. There’s even evidence that erotica helped popularize early printing  presses. Even technologies like Snapchat, a mobile app that allows you to send  an image that self-destructs after a few seconds, are partially adopted and  driven by a desire to send sexy pictures to one another.

It shouldn’t be surprising then that researchers like Barss suggest that any  business model for new communications technologies should venture into the porn  market during its early days. Even if Google bans  it.

Thank you, TiA


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This entry was posted on July 7, 2013 by in HOLLYWOOD, INNOVATION and tagged , , , , , , , .

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