ACCELER8OR

Jul 29 2012

From Psychedelic Magazine With A Tech Gloss To Tech Magazine With A Psychedelic Gloss (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #23)

Another segment from the rough draft of Use Your Hallucinations: Mondo 2000 in the 20th Century Cyberculture.  Note that “the total fucking transmutation of everything” is established as a conceit early in the narrative, thus its use here reflects on a major theme.

…Meanwhile, we made a rash decision.  Despite High Frontiers relatively successful rise within the ‘zine scene (where 15,000 in sales was a pretty big deal), we decided to change the name of the magazine itself to Reality Hackers. 

It was my idea.

We’d been hipped to cyberpunk SF and I’d read Gibson’s Neuromancer and Sterling’s Mirrorshades collection.  His famous introduction for that book, describing what cyberpunk was doing in fiction — seemed to express precisely what a truly contemporary transmutational magazine should be about. Here are some parts of it:

The term, (cyberpunk) captures something crucial to the work of these writers, something crucial to the decade as a whole: a new kind of integration. The overlapping of worlds that were formerly separate: the realm of high tech, and the modern pop underground.

This integration has become our decade’s crucial source of cultural energy. The work of the cyberpunks is paralleled throughout the Eighties pop culture: in rock video; in the hacker underground; in the jarring street tech of hip hop and scratch music; in the synthesizer rock of London and Tokyo. This phenomenon, this dynamic, has a global range; cyberpunk is its literary incarnation… 

An unholy alliance of the technical world and the world of organized dissent — the underground world of pop culture, visionary fluidity, and street-level anarchy… 

For the cyberpunks… technology is visceral. It is not the bottled genie of remote Big Science boffins; it is pervasive, utterly intimate. Not outside us, but next to us. Under our skin; often, inside our minds.

Certain central themes spring up repeatedly in cyberpunk. The theme of body invasion: prosthetic limbs, implanted circuitry, cosmetic surgery, genetic alteration. The even more powerful theme of mind invasion: brain-computer interfaces, artificial intelligence, neurochemistry — techniques radically redefining — the nature of humanity, the nature of the self.

The Eighties are an era of reassessment, of integration, of hybridized influences, of old notions shaken loose and reinterpreted with a new sophistication 

Cyberpunk favors “crammed” loose: rapid, dizzying bursts of novel information, sensory overIoad that submerges the reader in the literary equivalent of the hard-rock “wall of sound.”  

Well, then…

Also, Jaron Lanier was hanging around some, sharing his lofty goals for virtual reality; and Eric Gullichsen, who was teaming up to do some writing with Timothy Leary — with whom he shared a mutual fascination with drugs, extreme technology and Aleister Crowley — was already even a bit deeper in the mix, while dreaming his own VR schemes.  Various hackers like Bill Me Later and John Draper (Captain Crunch) were popping up with increasing frequency.  Hanging in hacker circles, we were also befriended by John Morgenthaler, who was getting very serious about the exploration of smart drugs.  Something was starting to surface.  Several small subcultures were drifting together, and some of these, at times, esoteric groupings included men (yes, men) who were creating the next economy.  Clearly, we were positioned to become the magazine of a slow baking gestalt.

Other factors played into this change.  While a strutting, pop-intellectual, irreverent psychedelic magazine (in other words, High Frontiers) could surely build an audience somewhat larger than 15,000, we probably weren’t all that far from our optimum, unless we wanted to stifle our Gonzo-meets-Camp writerly excesses and dumb ourselves down to something more like a High Times for psychedelic drugs.  Also, acid dealers didn’t advertise.  The number of potential advertisers for a magazine that revolved primarily around psychedelics was limited, particularly in this “just say no” period. Hell, dope friendly humor was even voluntarily eliminated by Saturday Night Live, the once-hip show inspired by a Lorne Michaels mescaline trip.    And then, admittedly, by emphasizing technology, we could, in theory, put a bit of a buffer zone between ourselves and “the man” — throw him off our druggy tracks while sneaking sideways into the center of the oncoming digital establishment, all the better to affect the total fucking transmutation of everything (bwahaha)… or maybe even make a livelihood!

Lastly, it had really been my intention from the start to create a magazine that (to slightly detourne the original subhead of High Frontiers) was balanced between psychedelics, science, technology, outrageousness and postmodern pop culture.  The psychedelic impulse had gloriously taken center stage for the first four years.  Now it was time to push into new territory.

To consolidate my thoughts about the Reality Hackers, I wrote a small manifesto (a list, really) titled:

What Are The Reality Hackers Doing

1: Using high technology for a life beyond limits

2: Expanding the effectiveness and enjoyment of the human brain, mind, nervous system and senses

3: Blurring the distinction between science fiction and reality

4: Making big bureaucracy impossible

5: Entertaining any notion — using what works

6: Infusing new energy into postmodern culture

7: Using hardcore anthropology to understand human evolution

8: Using media to send out mutational memes (thought viruses)

9: Blurring the distinctions between high technology and magic

10: Replacing nerd mythology with sexy, healthy, aesthetic, & artful techno-magicians of both genders.

With this, I was also aligning the magazine ideologically with a transhumanist agenda.  I’d attended meetings of a nanotechnology interest group hosted by Christine Peterson and, sometimes, Eric Drexler.  I started to see the actual dim outlines of a plausible “total fucking transmutation of everything;” with molecular technology giving us total productive control over matter for unlimited wealth; biotechnology giving us the potential for positive mutations in the human organism; and neurotechnology theoretically allowing us to maximize our intelligence — not too mention cleaner, better highs with no downside.

Of course, we were maybe throwing away four years building a brand but, if we were anything, we were impulsive.

Ken Jopp: Reality Hackers was, to me, inelegantly titled. Still, the cyberpunk thing was revving up.  The weekly tabloid in my town ran a cover story on hackers: teenagers who lugged computers into phone booths, and then, when nobody was looking, they made long-distance calls for free! This was subversive stuff. Off the Establishment! I bought the issue of Reality Hackers and adopted it and its kin as a cultural security blanket.  These proto-Mondo publications, arriving during the Dark Ages of President Ronald Wilson Reagan (666), were a source of what later would become hollowed out to form a tinhorn. I mean, Hope and Change?

Lord Nose: I think it kept getting more and more mainstream in hopes of getting on to the newsstand and getting advertisers. It was being slowly made more palatable — or seemingly palatable — for the corporate interests that had no taste. I mean, it was so different. High Frontiers had a very different thrust.

Jeff Mark: Those of us serious about psychedelic exploration continued. Indeed, there was considerable activity, particularly around Tim Leary and Terence McKenna, but the momentum was spent. People started worrying about making a living.  High Frontiers/Reality Hackers had to get their shit together. 

 

Previous MONDO History Entries

Psychedelic Transpersonal Photography, High Frontiers & MONDO 2000: an Interview with Marc Franklin

Gibson & Leary Audio (MONDO 2000 History Project)

Pariahs Made Me Do It: The Leary-Wilson-Warhol-Dali Influence (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #3)

Robert Anton Wilson Talks To Reality Hackers Forum (1988 — Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #4)

Smart Drugs & Nutrients In 1991 (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #5)

LSD, The CIA, & The Counterculture Of The 1960s: Martin Lee (1986, Audio. Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #6)

William Burroughs For R.U. Sirius’ New World Disorder (1990, Mondo 2000 History Project Entry # 7)

New Edge & Mondo: A Personal Perspective – Part 1 (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #8)

New Edge & Mondo: A Personal Perspective – Part 2 (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #8)

The Glorious Cyberpunk Handbook Tour (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #9)

Did The CIA Kill JFK Over LSD?, Reproduced Authentic, & Two Heads Talking: David Byrne In Conversation With Timothy Leary (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #10)

Memory & Identity In Relentlessly Fast Forward & Memetically Crowded Times (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #11)

The First Virtual War & Other Smart Bombshells (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #12)

Swashbuckling Around The World With Marvin Minsky In How To Mutate & Take Over The World (MONDO 2000 History Project #13)

FAIL! Debbie Does MONDO (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #14)

Paradise Is Santa Cruz: First Ecstasy (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #15)

William Gibson On MONDO 2000 & 90s Cyberculture (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #16)

Ted Nelson & John Perry Barlow For MONDO 2000 (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #17)

R.U. A Cyberpunk? Well, Punk? R.U.? (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry # 18

The New Edge At The New Age Convention (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #19)

The Belladonna Shaman (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #20)

NeoPsychedelia & High Frontiers: Memes Leading To MONDO 2000 (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #21)

“I’d Never Met A Libertarian Before” (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #22)

 

Jul 01 2012

Another Leap Towards True VR

It’s small, and according to its makers, it could be even smaller, and yet, it’s probably going to be one of the biggest “disruptive technologies” for the computer this year. It’s called the “Leap”, and it will change nearly everything about how you interact with your computer.

In a 2010 article for H+ I talked about the prototype for the Kinect, and how it was a step towards “Good Enough VR”. Then, I showed ways the Kinect has been used in a variety of fields. Despite this, the Kinect hasn’t really become an “every day” computer interface because it’s not terribly precise; it isn’t easy to connect to a computer instead of your Xbox, and has thus been relegated to the realm of “super geeks” for anything outside of the rather limited “intended use” for the average person.

The Leap will change that.

Why? Think about it for a second. Think about why you don’t currently have a touchscreen computer monitor. As nice as touch screen is on your smart phone or tablet is, don’t you hate wiping off all those fingerprints? As wonderful as the intuitive “multitouch” interface is, aren’t those screens just way too expensive to make in sizes closer to what your monitor likely is? Oh, and isn’t there that concern that the “Rare Earths” needed to make them are limited, and mainly supplied by China?

Now, think about the fact that the Leap will enable any computer to act as if it had a touchscreen.

Without, you know, actually needing a touchscreen.

Then think about it a little more. At millimeter accuracy, it can not only read your fingertips, but tell if you are using a pen. So not only can it be used like a touchscreen; it can also be used like a digitizing table. It could track your fingers on a table top to allow you to type without a keyboard, or move your cursor without a mouse. Unlike the makers of Leap, I won’t say it will eliminate these devices, but I will point out that you could cut the cords off of both of them and still retain all the functionality. And you wouldn’t even need to keep batteries in your wireless versions.

In other words, it will turn them into props. Don’t actually have a mouse? Pick up anything mouse sized and it becomes one. Want a “real gun” for your first person shooter? Pick up a Nerf gun and bang, you suddenly don’t need an expensive “Virtual gun” like those for the Move or Wii. Need to draw in an art program? Why bother buying an expensive Wacom tablet when a twig will serve just as well. I’m sure that they will try like hell to maintain a market share, but let’s face it, the days of Logitech, Wacom, and any other “computer interface device” manufacturers are numbered.

But that’s nowhere near the end of the uses that the Leap will enable — because the secret to the Leap is not the hardware. That little device is actually made from really cheap components. The real disruptive tech is the algorithms that power that hardware, because it can be incorporated into smaller devices, as well as use different kinds of sensors — and as we develop new sensors, it will enable us to use them as well. All of this means that the “touchscreen” industry just received it’s death notice as well. Give it a year, and we will likely see “touchscreen” devices that are cheaper, tougher, and don’t require us to actually touch the screen.

And beyond that, since the Leap “maps” space in a “field,” instead of a two dimensional plane like the Kinect, it will enable the first stages of the “self aware world” I’ve described in a previous Acceler8or piece  as being a necessary part of omnipresent VR. Imagine walking into your Walmart and using any of those “advertisement screens” to pull up a help screen that can tell you where the item you are looking for is. Imagine a store window display that you can use through the glass.

And that just barely begins to “touch” on the myriad uses for the Leap. So yeah, have fun thinking about how you could use one, because even if you don’t buy one the day it hits the shelves, you won’t be able to avoid one for long. And in a few years, you will probably wonder how we ever survived without it.

May 20 2012

William Gibson On MONDO 2000 & 90s Cyberculture (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #16)

 

“Cyberpunk today is mainly like a Pantone chip in the Pantone culture-wheel. ‘Those pants are sort of cyberpunk.’ ‘That video has a sort of retro-cyberpunk feel.'”

We were honored that William Gibson agreed to talk to us for the upcoming MONDO 2000 History Project book about MONDO… and about the ‘90s cyberculture in general and how it looks today.  The interview was conducted by Simone Lackerbauer (with my kibitzing).  These are a few fragments.

Gibson was incorporated into the first “cyberpunk” edition of the magazine via a somewhat devious route, as discussed here.

 

ABOUT CYBERPUNK, MONDO & UNDERGROUND MAGAZINES

Underground magazines had been very important to me. I started with Mad and Cracked, which may not have been formally underground, but were, initially and in terms of context, decidedly off-center, and I remember buying the issue of The Realist with the pornographic faux-Disney centerfold. MONDO 2000 was clearly an underground magazine, and as such I was definitely glad it was there.

I had never thought that the “cyberpunk” label was particularly a good thing, but it obviously wasn’t going away too quickly, so I’d generally shrug and go along with it. I doubted the immortality hackers were going to live forever, the idea of smart drugs didn’t do anything for me, but the attitude was fun. Just the fact that the thing existed, and popped up on fairly normal magazine stands, was cheering.

I’d say it was arguably the representative underground magazine of its pre-Web day. It was completely outside what commercial magazines were assumed to be about, but there it was, beside the commercial magazines. Could that even happen, today?

Posterity, looking at this, should also consider MONDO 2000 as a focus of something that was happening, rather than  exclusively as a broadcast-point. It was a brave magazine, but it was also a magazine of its day. Stuff was happening all over, with no Internet to pass it instantly around.

 

MONDO & TIME

I wasn’t surprised by the rise of Mondo. Something was clearly afoot, memewise. I wondered about the thing’s durability. Winding up on the cover of Time — what does that do? How alternative is something that makes the cover of Time? Of course, that was when Time was still Time, sort of, but I also wondered, after that, how seriously one should take Time? It wasn’t as though I ever read it, ordinarily.

 

MONDO & WIRED

Wired never felt like Mondo, to me. It never felt like an underground magazine, but neither did it occur to me that it was MONDO 2000 tuned down for straight people. I’d assume the difference had more to do with the business model. They definitely had one.

 

90S CYBERCULTURE

I think that whole scene in the 90s  was in some ways the cultural equivalent of all the glorious hype of the Space Age. The iconic babe in the VR goggles and gloves! Iconics, heroics… The difference would be that the end result was somehow akin to the invention of habitable space!

 

TIMOTHY LEARY

We’d bump into one another on the VR rubber chicken circuit. Barcelona, Linz, Venice…  He was really great to have at your table. Kept the evening in flux. And people would come up to him and give him drugs, which he’d give to someone else, usually a perfect stranger, as soon as the gifter was gone. He said that this was a win-win proposition, as the first person could now say that he’d given drugs to Timothy Leary, and the second person that Timothy Leary had given him drugs. I never saw him look to see what was in the envelope.

 

THE VR & SMART DRUGS HYPE

Evidently we didn’t need either one, at least not as we (sub)culturally imagined them then. We do, in fact, now constantly inhabit a sort of blended VR, but we now assume that we don’t need the goggles as long as whatever’s on the screen is sufficiently engrossing. And the distinction between real and virtual continues to blur. The virtual is colonizing the real, but generally in ways we don’t notice. VR was predicated on a notion of  real/virtual that now seems very last-century. Our grandchildren won’t be able to readily imagine where we were at, with that one!

Smart drugs were something I read about. After my time. Had I ever encountered anyone who struck me as 20 IQ points up from where they ordinarily were, I’d have paid it very close attention. (It’s difficult to imagine what that would even look like.) But if it was just a sort of temporary cognitive fine tuning, I didn’t find it that intriguing.

 

ON WRITING THE NEW “CYBER” SF

Whatever I did emerged from the need to find a way to write SF that I could stand to write, that I could live with. That led me to replace outer space with cyberspace, and everything I’ve done since has grown out of that. But I had the advantage of almost accidentally having latched on to the most powerfully emergent technology of my day as a subject.

 

REGARDING THE ’90S UTOPIANISM

I never though that cyborgs and virtual worlds were particularly utopian, so I’ve never been disappointed. The world is always more interesting than some futurist’s vision. If you think it’s not, you’re not really looking.

 

THE SINGULARITY

The Singularity has always sounded to me like a secular version of the Rapture. It seems to fit very neatly into that same God-shaped hole. We’re been there before. I like us better when we aren’t.

 

NOT A FUTURIST

I don’t have thoughts about the future. I probably have fewer than the average person. I’m not a fortune-teller. I construct very large, highly inaccurate models in my head, built from memory and random junk, and run them. Sometimes they seem to have predicted things, in some very vague way, that happen later, but I don’t think of that as prediction. It’s closer to augury, and I can’t do it without, so to speak, pulling the entrails from a real bird. Otherwise, the last thing I am is someone who walks around knowing what the future’s going to be.

 

CYBERPUNK TODAY

Cyberpunk today is mainly like a Pantone chip in the Pantone culture-wheel. “Those pants are sort of cyberpunk.” “That video has a sort of retro-cyberpunk feel.” We know what that means. If someone says “her attitude is very cyberpunk”, I don’t think we’re as certain of what’s meant. I’m not sure what this means, but I do think it indicates something. In a cyberworld, there’s no need for the suffix, and ours is a cyberworld. In a cyberworld, cyberpunk is punk. But it’s not punk if you call it “cyberpunk”.

 

WHO WE ARE

Who we are is largely who we meet. Cities are machines that randomize contact. The Internet is a meta-city, meta-randomizing contact. I now “know” more people than I would ever have imagined possible, because of that. It changes who I am and what I can do.

 

Previous MONDO History Entries

Psychedelic Transpersonal Photography, High Frontiers & MONDO 2000: an Interview with Marc Franklin

Gibson & Leary Audio (MONDO 2000 History Project)

Pariahs Made Me Do It: The Leary-Wilson-Warhol-Dali Influence (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #3)

Robert Anton Wilson Talks To Reality Hackers Forum (1988 — Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #4)

Smart Drugs & Nutrients In 1991 (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #5)

LSD, The CIA, & The Counterculture Of The 1960s: Martin Lee (1986, Audio. Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #6)

William Burroughs For R.U. Sirius’ New World Disorder (1990, Mondo 2000 History Project Entry # 7)

New Edge & Mondo: A Personal Perspective – Part 1 (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #8)

New Edge & Mondo: A Personal Perspective – Part 2 (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #8)

The Glorious Cyberpunk Handbook Tour (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #9)

Did The CIA Kill JFK Over LSD?, Reproduced Authentic, & Two Heads Talking: David Byrne In Conversation With Timothy Leary (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #10)

Memory & Identity In Relentlessly Fast Forward & Memetically Crowded Times (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #11)

The First Virtual War & Other Smart Bombshells (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #12)

Swashbuckling Around The World With Marvin Minsky In How To Mutate & Take Over The World (MONDO 2000 History Project #13)

FAIL! Debbie Does MONDO (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #14)

Paradise Is Santa Cruz: First Ecstasy (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #15)

Jan 22 2012

Le Future According To Val Part 2: Consequences

If you recall in my last section, I discussed how I see the human race as being driven by instincts that cause us to form societies and then compete within those societies for “sex rights” by the creation of pecking orders. I also discussed how many of the technologies I have covered over the last few years are tied up in the “status game” and are being developed precisely because they appeal to the instincts we have as humans to seek ways to improve our personal status. I also ended by pointing out that those desires make these technologies so irresistible that we as a species are pursuing them heedless of the consequences.

Wait, did I just say consequences? Aren’t I supposed to be this hedonistic amoral optimist wearing rose colored glasses about the future? I keep telling people I’m a cynic, and people keep refusing to believe me. But yes, there are consequences. I discuss some of them in my article on “VR Integration Will Require Total Transparency.”  To be blunt, everything comes at a price. The only question is whether the prize is worth the cost.

So let me ask you this. What is it worth to you to never have to worry about whether you will be able to eat today? How much are you willing to pay to never have to worry about having a home to live in? What would give to be healthy and young for as long as you chose to live? What sacrifice would you offer to ensure that you would never be the victim of violence or crime? What’s the price you’d give to have your every question answered or to be the one who finds the answer?

Would you be willing to give up Tyranny? How about Human Suffering? I’m willing to bet you’d think Death would be something you’re willing to do without, no? Disease, physical handicaps, starvation, poverty… those would likely be things you’d want to give up too, right?

Because that is the price we, as a species, will have to pay for following our instincts. No matter what you might think about any of the uses for technology I have discussed, it’s meaningless, because you, as an individual, have no control over the pecking order. In truth, as individuals, there is little any of us can do except stay out of the way of the evolutionary forces that are currently reshaping our world. This is a war of giants, a battle between two profoundly different systems of economic organization. We will get every one of these technologies because both sides in this war demand them. As the conspiracy theorist loves to scream, they are Bread and Circuses. We’re just lucky that they are also so very much more.

Martin Ford discussed how the economy is likely to develop over the next decade in his book Lights in the Tunnel. In short, the era of cheap overseas labor is ending. Greater awareness of the exploitation that has been occurring — as well as demands by those exploited for higher wages — is making it more and more expensive to maintain human labor, while automation has become ever cheaper. 3d printers are largely automated, and as I discussed in “Watson’s Descendants Will Make You Obsolete” enormous numbers of “high skill” jobs that required college educations and are considered “high status” like lawyers, doctors, and financial consultants will soon be replaceable by automation. As CEOs and stockholders demand ever higher profits, the “job situation” will grow progressively worse. More and more of the low tier “wealthy” will find their wealth sucked up by those higher up the pecking order as they continue to try and preserve their own wealth. As more and more people are laid off and replaced by software, the “Market” will become more and more divided, with fewer and fewer actors able to participate as “consumers.” In order to be able to sell any products at all, manufacturers will have little choice but to find means to make products cheaper, and in an effort to concentrate on smaller demographics in “The Long Tail” they will have to produce goods capable of being far more customizable to the individual. This will require major investments in 3d printing, resulting in a gradual abandonment of production lines as “product generations” become ever shorter. Between this pressure to make products cheaper, faster, and ever more customizable, and the continuing escalation of the “class divide” by the highest social tiers resulting in ever greater numbers of people removed as “consumers” with large amounts of available assets, companies which do not switch to 3d manufacturing methods and automation will likely flounder and go bankrupt.

This isn’t going to happen all at once, nor evenly, as there are likely to be areas in the world where the economy experiences massive growth. because the “Long Tail” has numerous “open markets” that are exploitable. The shift to automation and 3d printing will make this much easier to exploit, so don’t think that any given nation is “an exception” to this process. Due to the massive “divide” between the top and bottom, this inequality of “developed markets” will provide many opportunities for creative exploitation. But remember that since these markets have little “available assets” they will increase the pressure to produce goods via automation in order to make the products inexpensively and thus accelerate the cannibalism of the “low tier wealthy” in the developed markets. Short term “Booms” can’t make up for the overall trends of “unemployment” accelerating as the industrial processes are more fully automated.

Now, what do you suppose this ever-growing group of “formerly wealthy” is likely to do as their fortunes are systematically removed by the higher tiers? I mean, seriously, when in all of history has the “rabble” simply sat and starved to death quietly? OWS and the “Arab Spring” should illustrate exactly what will occur, which will encourage the “Powers that Be” to look for ways to keep the masses distracted, divided and unorganized. Cheap electronic entertainment devices, VR, sexbots, all the good little “opiates” intended to keep many people happy and contented will be tried. As I’ve had countless conspiracy theorists and “Privacy Advocates” point out, many of the technologies I’ve discussed have a very strong potential for authoritarians.  They’re just screaming for some “power group” to grab hold and try to use it to enforce a dictatorship on the masses. And they are absolutely right.

Based on current trends, we have to face the reality that many of the world’s democracies are facing a crisis of epic proportions. We are developing hundreds of ways to know every single thing about an individual that anyone — especially someone seeking power or a means to exploit — can use to attempt to control the masses. I’ve discussed the surveillance war many times. Even VR, which I view as a major factor in the coming decade, will require the building of a sensor grid that will make it impossible for an individual to remain “anonymous.” But as I’ve pointed out, that same technology also makes it increasingly hard for the top tiers of the pecking order to remain blank ciphers as well. In addition, we are simultaneously developing technologies that will make it ever easier to record and analyze all of that data coming from all those sensors. We have to face the reality that soon, privacy, as we know it, will come to an end. And to be blunt, this is not actually a bad thing, at least not in the long run.

So, let me ask you if you’ve noticed that two entirely separate forces are at work here?

The direction of future business is the “Long Tail” and ever-greater customization, and individuation in order to maximize profits, while the direction of future government is likely to be a push for greater authoritarianism. One force leans towards “freedom” while the other leans towards “tyranny.” This is because you have two different “elites” at work here, and even that is a simplification of the reality of hundreds of different “elites” all working for completely different ends. However, to keep the overall groups separate, I will classify them as “The Old Guard” and “The New Guard.”

“The Old Guard” is essentially those whose fortunes have been based on material goods. This covers nearly every sort of long established business model that’s more than a few decades old. These are the “Old Money,” the success stories of the Industrial Revolution — the descendants of the “Robber Barons” and the “Giants of Industry.” These are the people who already “have it made” and are desperate to ensure that their gravy train is not derailed. In fact, if they had their way, nothing would change ever, because progress is threatening to their continued dominance of the pecking order.

The problem is that their “cash cow” is dying. They are becoming victims not of failure but of overwhelming success. The entire drive of the industrial revolution was to overcome scarcity, and it has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams of avarice. With the aid of government, they created centralized distribution systems, centralized factory systems, and centralized marketing systems. They built production lines that crank out ten million items a day; supply systems that can feed billions of factories raw materials; stores that sell billions of dollars of merchandise a year. And they succeeded so well that now they are facing a crisis that they will not survive. Why? Think about that long and hard. Think about a factory that creates ten million items a day, every day, for years. Then ask yourself what happens if you only sell five million of those items a day? What about if you only sell five million a week?

And there you run into the conundrum of the centralized industrial system. It’s designed to run at maximum no matter what the market demand is.  It’s a fixed system of supply, with no way of matching that supply to demand quickly. Now, there are ways to compensate, such as advertising, opening up new markets, planned obsolescence, etc, but on the whole, the system has few ways to keep supply and demand balanced. Once a demand has been met you either have to find a means to create new demand or you have to face bankruptcy. That’s because the entire system is based on scarcity. If demand is high but the supply is rare, then the product has “value.”  But if the demand is low, and the supply is high, that product has little to no “value.” Prior to the Industrial revolution, almost every product was scarce relative to demand. Now, there is almost no product that is not available in the millions — if not billions — of units. Every industrialized nation in the world is a “saturated” market for these “Old Guard” industries and those whose wealth is based on them. The only reason the rest of the world isn’t saturated as well is because they lack the same centralized systems of distribution and manufacture — and control — of the industrialized nations.

These “elites” are entirely dependent on these systems for their wealth, power and influence.  The fact that these systems have effectively eradicated scarcity within the context of the societies within which they have reached the top of the “Pecking Order” is causing their “wealth” to lose “value.” In desperation, they are seeking every possible means to maintain their “Status” by cannibalizing those below them in the pecking order, as well as seeking ways to try and use the government to “stop time” by attempting to create laws to support their business models, or by diverting government resources into propping up their falling “profits.” And this is only possible if they can establish a system of control that is inherently dictatorial and tyrannical. As such, they desire to use government totalitarianism to enforce their continued “status” as the “top dogs.”

Arrayed against the “Old Guard” we find a group of “upstarts” that have earned their “wealth” through “Non-material” goods. These are the industries whose “products” cannot be picked up and handled because they literally have no physical existence. Can you measure a pound of WINDOWS 7? Can you pour me a gallon of FACEBOOK? Can you pass me a can of GOOGLE? These are products that work in the exact opposite manner of material goods. Their value is minimal if they are scarce. What value is a copy of Windows if it had only been installed on one single computer? Only the fact that Windows is the single most common computer operating system on the planet makes it worth billions. It’s “Value” increases the more abundant it is. And while you can indeed make a case for there being a material component to such “abundance dependent” products as computer processors, and electronics, their “material component” is a tiny fraction of the value of their “non-material” components — the designs of the circuits, and the patents protecting them. And these companies are killing the Old Guard, because they are the driving forces behind the evolution of an entirely new economic system based on massive abundance. And the best way to promote their interests is to create a market of infinite diversity to maximize the number of demographics they can sell too. As such, individuality, and as a side bonus, Liberty, are primary drivers for the “New Guard.” After all, it’s hard to sell something unless someone is free to have a demand for it.

And if you want an example, just look at the recent events that played out over SOPA — a bill intended to give tyrannical levels of control to business interests based on material products that was universally opposed by businesses which offer nonmaterial products. Don’t fool yourself thinking the mass protests by the giant corporations against this bill were because they supported individual rights, or that the “grassroots” protests had any influence at all. This was all about money, and the “Old Guard” trying to prevent the “New Guard” from being able to make it by using the government as a shackle around their ankles. SOPA was all about protecting an obsolete and no longer profitable set of business models from competition by new models promoting nonmaterial value.

These two systems are diametrically opposing methods of creating a pecking order, and rely on fundamentally different “markers” to determine status within those pecking orders, yet they also currently share many “common interests”. These “shared” interests are being pursued for different reasons by both sides because they serve very specific needs for both sides, and are seen as absolute necessities in order to reach their goals. The really funny thing is that the deck is stacked entirely in the “New Guards” favor. There is literally no way for the “Old Guard” to win in the long run, and many of these short term “shared interests” are extremely detrimental to their long term survival, no matter how much it might appear otherwise.

So let’s take another look at that “vicious cycle” I described above, involving increasing automation. More and more automation will occur as “Old Guard” businesses attempt to cut costs in order to increase profits, eliminating workers in ever higher status tiers, as continuing advancements in electronics enable more sophisticated “software workers” while continued advances in 3d printing make it cheaper to manufacture a greater variety of goods and those goods begin to incorporate more and more electronic “intelligence.” Eliminating “high cost” employees in favor of “low cost” automation will ensure “increased profits,” but at the same time that it’s removing the middle tier players of the market. As such, automation is a short term “Win” for the “Old Guard,” but because of the cannibalization of the workforce — it removes “Consumers” from the market — so it’s a long term loss.  The “high end” market is already saturated, and as it grows smaller, that saturation level will simply increase. Their “system” for creating wealth is “mass production,” and that system demands billions of consumers to work. A few million “ultra wealthy” is too miniscule a market to sustain it, however many “liquid assets” there might be available.

So, as the high end market becomes increasingly smaller, more and more focus will be put on the low end… the “long tail” of individuation, customization and upgradability. This will also force manufacturers to focus on making those products using new materials that require less “material” per product. They will also need to be more “intelligent” in how those materials are used. By increasing automation and moving from Industrial Era “production line based” mass production to “printer based” mass production, manufacturers can not only limit production runs to actual demand, but switch products with a simple file change. That not only eliminates the “saturation effect” of production lines, but also eliminates “backstock,” since any conceivable part could be made on demand. Auto manufacturers are already looking at 3d printing as a means to provide parts for every make and model of car ever made for restorations. If you understand anything about economics, then it should be obvious that 3d printers allow for goods to behave as if they were nonmaterial. All you need is a single item and you can make an infinite number of copies. Yes, it will be several years before we begin approaching that level of capability, but this is the inevitable end result. And as 3d manufacturing becomes the normal way to make something and units move out of the factories and stores and into the homes, this ability to treat “Material goods” in the same manner we do computer files will be eradicating the “value” of those goods in the status game. Since many of these goods are human needs  like food and shelter, this sudden “infinite supply” will eliminate their value as hostages in the status game (as well as the ability of the “elites” to use them as means to enforce control). It should be obvious that such “abundance” could  eliminate many causes of human suffering by removing basic human needs from the market as commodities by making them nearly free.

At the same time, as the demographic divide increases, more and more political pressure will come to bear on government from all sides to “do something.” The “Old Guard” will likely seek ever more authoritarian measures to try and keep control while the “New Guard” will fight back against any measures that are directed at preventing their market invasion — doing more and more to promote individuality and “uniqueness” in order to capitalize on nearly every single niche market it can create. As technologies such as VR and 3d printing mature, they both will be seeking to utilize and promote their use at all levels of society to try and give themselves an “edge” against the other.

In addition, as “software workers” and 3d printers increase in capability while decreasing in price, more and more of the “disenfranchised” from the “knowledge worker” tiers that are being replaced by automation will be able to acquire the “means of production” and enter the market as competitors instead of as consumers. This increase of competition will accelerate the vicious cycle, giving greater and greater resources to the “New Guard” who will eventually gain a much larger share of the government’s attention, and gradually eliminate all the “special protections” won by the “Old Guard” in favor of laws and regulations favoring their new economic system. As new technologies continue to develop and can be applied to “the market;” most of the “markers” in the current “Status Game” will have their value eliminated in favor of new markers who’s value will be determined by how quickly they become widespread enough to be “commonplace.” This isn’t going to happen overnight, and I rather strongly suspect that “terrorism” is going to be wide spread due to various groups who will resist this eradication of the status markers. And rest assured, both sides will use that resistance to promote the adoption of technologies that they see as vital to their goals.

And yes, some of those technologies have long-term effects that will be very difficult for many to cope with. The most obvious of these is, of course, surveillance and sensor technology, which both the Old and the New Guard will be avidly pursuing as part of the “Surveillance Arms Race” I have talked about previously. The Old Guard wants cameras and sensors everywhere because they desire control. The New Guard wants it because the more they know about you; the better able they are to target a given product to you. Neither one of them gives a damn about what you think about it. Your privacy is meaningless to them, though they will both seek to give you an illusion of it. But as I have said before, increased ability to spy upon is an increased ability to be spied upon. The Old Guard will want to spy on the New Guard. The New Guard will want to spy on the Old. They both will want to spy on the government. And the government will be spying right back, right alongside the media, paparazzi, bloggers, and who knows how many other “interested parties” — all eager as can be to share what they see with “the public” as a way to “score points” in the “status game.” And this will continue until no place on the planet is immune to surveillance and likely no-where else, either. And once everyone, everywhere, at every tier of society, is “on camera,” it becomes possible to restore “accountability”, as I discussed in “How Transparency will End Tyranny.”

The same goes with medical technology, because the Old Guard doesn’t want to die or get sick, and will spend billions to find ways to prevent it and the New Guard is just as interested, because it’s something that will universally sell. No matter how hard the Old Guard tries to prevent access to rejuvenation technology, the New Guard will want to give universal access because the “Old Guard” is just far too small a demographic and far too tiny a profit. As for the more “outrageous” abilities I’ve described, such as full body reconstruction? The Old Guard will want it but they will claim to oppose it because they will be trying to use it as a means to keep the “masses” divided and in conflict, while the “New Guard” will want it because people will want to pay for it.  The same goes for VR, BCI, robots, 3d printers and many other technologies. Both sides of this paradigm shift between economic models will have uses for them and will promote their development and adoption — with these entirely different goals in mind. And because of the difference in how these technologies affect these very different economic models, the long term result will be the continued shrinking of the “Old Guard” and the continued growth of the “New Guard” until only the “New Guard” is left.

But that’s not the only card stacked in the “New Guard’s” favor. Because unlike the “Old Guard,” the “New Guard” is not reliant on over a hundred years worth of physical infrastructure designed to promote centralized management of resources. This means that they are far more flexible, and their “distribution” systems are far more decentralized. Like I discussed in Building the True Decentralized Net, physical infrastructure takes time and massive resources to construct. As more and more “New Guard” rise to join the “upper tier,” they will likely do so from places in which such infrastructure is nonexistent — and because they have bypassed such systems in favor of far more robust, decentralized and upgradable systems which capitalize on matching supply to demand, instead of trying to force demand to match supplies.

And as the “New Guard” eliminates the “Old,” that massive increase in competition that has occurred as this paradigm shift proceeded will make it untenable for the current “Corporate Model” of massive multinationals to continue as a dominant form. The “Giants” of the “New Guard” won’t survive either. Like the “Old Guard,” they too rely on an economy of scarcity to feed their voracious appetites, and in a world of micro markets they will eventually starve.

There are many other factors that will come into play as well, but these are the ones I believe are central to the overall outcome. To summarize; the economy will not likely recover in the manner most people wish for because it is in a collapse mode due to the evolution and replacement of the underlying systems of determining “value” and the shifting of the paradigm from a “Scarcity Model” to an “Abundance Model.” And this collapse is being accelerated on the part of the “Old Guard” by the continued elimination of human “labor” and increasing “automation,” while simultaneously being accelerated by the “New Guard” through the technological innovation making it possible for the “Old Guard” to continue to “profit” as it self-cannibalizes. This will result in both efforts to impose totalitarian control by the “Old Guard” as means to try and prevent the erosion of their “profits” and prevent unrest by the increasing number of disenfranchised; and counter efforts by the “New Guard” to promote democratic measures in an effort to prevent such “blocking tactics” by the “Old Guard” and promote their own interests as they pursue greater profits by promoting “individuality and customization” as they seek to enter ever smaller demographics of “The Long Tail”.

Because of this “War of the Giants,” there will be some very dramatic and chaotic effects on the social organization of the human race, and the instinct driven “Status Game” that it plays. The paradigm shift from “Scarcity” to “Abundance” will necessarily eliminate almost every marker currently used to determine status, such as material wealth, physical traits/abilities, and access to physical resources needed to survive.  It will also likely cause traumatic disruption to many, if not all, belief systems currently used to divide individuals into cliques within the “Pecking Order.” This social “disruption” could range from fairly mild to severe, and unfortunately, will likely cause an unknown number of casualties as some “cliques” will attempt to desperately cling to the obsolete markers and the increasingly defunct pecking order they supported. The transition period between these two paradigms will be neither pleasant, nor peaceful, but the end results will be the elimination of most forms of human suffering due to lack of the material necessities of food, shelter, education, medical care, and security, and remove many of the current causes of war, crime, and misery. Because of the changes caused by the reorganization of the “pecking order” into a “Status Game” based on non-material resources, and the removal of “material resources” from that game, as well as the return of accountability to the whole of human society due to the final results of the “Surveillance Arms Race” — that new “Pecking Order” will be far more level than the current one, and the lowest tiers will not lack for physical needs nor “social mobility” due to denial of same by the highest tiers.

And that, my friends, is the future I see, and which determines what technologies I cover and the “optimism” I am so often accused of. Believe what you wish, but I’m neither an advocate nor an optimist. I see this as a straight forward exercise of logic based on a rational analysis of the current situation extrapolated to a logical conclusion. The “Singularity,” if it ever actually occurs, will follow many years after these developments.

But yes, we are indeed facing the beginning of the end of the world… as we know it. Le Roi is Mort. Vive Le Roi.

Jan 16 2012

Le Future According To Val, Part One: When Technologies Meet, Interact, and Things Go Boom.

So here we are in the year 2012, which far too many people predict will be the year the world ends. Some believe in cosmic disaster; some believe aliens will make contact; some believe “God” will “return” and magically wipe away everyone who doesn’t believe “the right things”. All of them share a single common problem — a complete lack of evidence of any sort.

Yet even among those who dismiss these “doomsdagry predictions,” you find those who proclaim dooms of a different sort, such as claims that we are fast approaching the “death of innovation” or even the “death of advanced civilization.” Even these predictions are hindered by a lack of any provable evidence, and joined by a single common theme — fear of the future.

There is a reason for this. The future is a very scary place. Not because we have reached an ending, which in reality, we certainly have, but because so few people can see beyond that ending to the birth that will follow. This isn’t a unique situation, as we’ve been through similar processes previously, most notably following the invention of the printing press that lead to the end of the Catholic Church’s monolithic existence by sparking the protestant revolution; made reading a common skill and enabled the Renaissance. More recently, we experienced the industrial revolution that has lead to our current world. It’s this “world” that is reaching its end. But this is neither doom, nor a disaster, even though it will most certainly be chaotic and sadly cost far too many lives as we make a transition from our present reality into an entirely new and different one.

It’s this new and different reality that I see coming that underlies everything I have written, and that has caused some to call me all sorts of names — from wild eyed optimist to certified lunatic. The names are pretty meaningless, because they simply reflect the inability of many to grasp the connections and implications of the various technologies I report on. For this, I must apologize, since there are so many interconnections that it is hard to give a complete picture. That is, however, the purpose of this two part article — to give a brief overview of the connections and describe how those connections interact to produce the end result that I perceive.

To begin, I view the human animal as driven primarily by two instincts, which in combination produce the overwhelming majority of the complex behaviors of the human race. The first instinct is survival. We are genetically programmed to survive. And as part of this instinct, we form collectives, because collectives are a mechanism that promotes our survival. The second instinct is reproduction. We are genetically programmed to compete for sex. Note I specifically say sex because for the majority of history, mankind has been seeking ways to get more sex without the reproductive aspect coming into play. Sex is the universal drive. Actual reproduction is secondary.

It is the interplay of these two drives that leads us to form collectives to promote our common survival, and then to compete within those collectives for sex, which leads to the creation of Pecking Orders. I discuss this far more fully in my blog post, On Government, which also discusses the interplay of these instincts to create the “Status Game” that underlies much of human activity. The “Status Game” is one of the primary drivers that I look at for analyzing any given technology. In essence, I ask myself “how will this technology be used to increase or decrease an individual’s status, and how will this affect the pecking order.” Almost any technology will have an effect on the pecking order, though that effect is not always immediately apparent. There are many other aspects I examine as well, many of them I covered in my H+ article, “A Peek into the Demoness’s Mind,” but my primary focus is always “how will this affect the status quo” Why? Because it’s the social aspects of technology that truly dictate how a technology will be used, how it will spread through society, and ultimately determine what impact that technology has on our world.

And it’s that social impact that primarily determines what technologies I report on, because certain technologies have the long term effect of being what I call “Great Levelers” in that, regardless what of their immediate short term effects are, in the long term they all show the extreme likelihood of “leveling the field” and effectively removing many of the “Pillars” that support the near vertical pecking order of our current era, and will cause that pecking order to essentially collapse into a nearly horizontal one in the not too distant future, which will directly result in a world in which the overwhelming majority of causes of human suffering, war, crime, and injustice will no longer exist.

So with that clarified, let’s see where it all goes, shall we?

In my initial articles on H+, I opened up with a discussion on VR, and how we have arrived at the stage of “good enough VR,” then proceeded to discuss the “Metaverse” — the combined worldspace of augmented reality, virtual reality and the mirror reality. And then, I finished discussing how I saw VR as the “Gateway” to the “Big Three” of Genetics, Nanotech, and Robotics.) Since then I’ve written on the numerous advances in graphene, 3D printers, and the possibility of extreme body modification. Looked at singly, these each have extremely large potential for disruptive upheaval, which I discuss in the relevant article and their commentary, but their largest effects will happen at the intersection where all of these technologies will synergistically magnify their effects on the pecking order. In short, they meet, interact, and things go boom.

You are likely all aware of Moore’s Law and the exponential increase in computing power it has successfully predicted for decades. What you might not be aware of is that once we begin incorporating graphene and CNTs into advanced processors, that law is going to be obsolete because the rate of increasing computing power will likely leap several orders of magnitude almost overnight. That massive increase in computing power in and of itself may not seem that significant until you begin to realize many of the other potentials inherent in the use of graphene electronics, some of which I covered here in “Here Comes Film Computing.” Graphene is not merely useful for making processors, but displays, cameras, lidars, solar cells, and basically nearly every single form of electronic device we currently have figured out how to make. But beyond its uses in electronics, graphene has amazing structural properties. A sheet the thinness of cellophane would be strong enough to support the weight of an elephant while still retaining near perfect optical transparency. As such, it has the potential to replace nearly every material we currently use to construct almost every manufactured product from knick-knacks to skyscrapers. When you combine both of these uses, you might begin grasping some of the massive impact graphene will begin having in the very near future as we begin manufacturing massive quantities of it. Carbon is only the single most abundant element in the world and roll-to-roll manufacturing of massive sheets of graphene has already been accomplished.

So to truly understand the impact that graphene will have requires looking at it from several directions at once, most of which many people find brain bending in the extreme. Imagine a world in which nearly every single manufactured product is not only constructed from graphene, but incorporates graphene electronics, and in which nearly every single visual characteristic is controllable, and likely many non-visual ones as well. Imagine a toothbrush that has bristles you can make soft or stiff as you please, clothes that change their fit and appearance depending on whether you are at work or at the bar. Imagine a world in which all these things are available for minimal cost because they are all made from carbon; and produced on demand using fractions of ounces of actual material. A world in which everything is programmable, customizable, and interactive. Imagine cars that you have to place weights in to keep from blowing away in a strong wind, but which can bounce like rubber when you somehow manage to crash head on into another car, absorbing almost all of the force of impact without harming the passenger while taking no damage from impact. A world in which nothing ever needs a repair because if something malfunctions, you toss it into the recycler and print out a new one. A world in which no product of a material nature has any value at all because it can be instantly reproduced, copied endlessly, and improved upon by anyone, where any product manufactured out of iron or wood or stone is considered junk because it is such an inferior, clunky, and unintelligent material to build from.

Then I would like you to consider the next layer. Add to this world of ultracheap carbon based products, a “Mirror” of reality, a cyber universe that merges the virtual and the real, in which the very world you move through is an interactive computer interface. A world where every person you look at, talk to, or interact with is just as programmable, customizable and interactive as the scenery around you. Where your “personal space” is as malleable as a dreamscape. Imagine a world in which a combination of prosthetics, bioprinters, and even mere virtual costumes could make it possible for every single person in the world to be their own personal “perfect” self, regardless of what that self might be, or even if that self changes from day to day. Imagine a world in which you record your every moment of existence to enable you to possess perfect recall; where even the very sensations you experience could be recorded and replayed whenever you desire. Visualize a world wherein the entirety of all human knowledge is available; in which everyone from adult to child has access to the finest professors of every subject at a mere inquiry. Visualize a world in which science itself is no longer the play-toy of a few; where knowledge is no longer a commodity available to only those who can pay; but free for every single human being on the planet to pursue to their hearts content. Think about a world in which every single desire and fantasy can be fulfilled, in which all the darkest, most secret fantasies you ever masturbated to could be simulated.

That last one probably threw you for a loop, didn’t it? But it really shouldn’t have, because I did say at the beginning of this article that sex is one of the primary drivers of human behavior. Seriously, I am a succubus precisely because that fact. I assure you, sex will be a major factor at play in the creation of “perfect selves,” regardless of if that self is merely a perfected version of your basic appearance or if you choose such a radically different appearance such as myself. And this is where the social aspects of all of this technology really begin that synergistic mixing that leads to boom.

Consider a reality in which everyone is Superman. One in which everyone is a “hottie;” in which every single person in the world looks like a porno model, regardless of race sex or species. Because with the combination of graphene processors, 3d printed carbon based “smart materials”, VR, and biomodification via stemcells, that is the inevitable direction I see things progressing.

If you are like many people, you are probably screaming no at the top of your lungs; certain that a world so very radically different than the one you are used to will ever be possible. The problem here is that you don’t truly understand how the “status game” works.  The pecking order exists to enable our DNA to merge “the best” (itself) with “the best” (a mate with superior DNA).  How this drive manifests itself differs in each gender, as well as in how strongly it manifests from person to person, but that is meaningless to the “pecking order,” which is how we decide “superior” from “inferior.” We compete to determine who is “better.” Wealth, power, good looks, and a thousand other “markers” have been created merely to allow our DNA to find and merge with the best other human DNA it can find. That’s it. Everything else is complications we’ve invented as smart apes to hide from each other the fact that all we really want to do is get into each other’s pants. Even us geeks want our chosen mates to desire us for our “big brains” so that we can bump uglies as often as we can. You might want to deny this fact, but I’ll lay you odds that the reason why you want to deny it will be because you will be afraid admitting this truth could lead to less nookie.

So, now that you are suitably outraged, let me direct your attention to an H+ article by my friend Hank Pellissier on Sexbots.

I particularly recommend reading all of the comments, and yes, I am aware it is a very long read since there are a lot of them, because they cover an enormous set of issues, not the least of which is the depth to which people will lie to themselves about sex and gender roles. However, to save time for those of you doing the tl;dr thing, I will quote the original point I made in response, which is far down the page.

“Sex is everywhere. No-one in our culture can avoid being exposed to it. But at the same time, we deny it constantly. Its okay for a kid to watch the cold blooded killing of a hundred people in an action movie, but heaven’s forbid he watches Debbie Does Dallas. Go online, and well, as everyone knows, the internet is for porn.

And even that isn’t the craziest thing we do. Our teens are raised to view dating as a war between a girl trying to stay a virgin, and the boys trying to get her to put out by any means possible. Any girl who fails to stay a virgin is a slut, and any boy who fails to get laid is a faggot.

We worship action heroes who treat the opposite sex as momentary pleasures, and who’s ability to get between their co-stars legs is taken for granted. We tell our kids in every single way possible SEX IS GOOD, while hypocritically trying to tell them it’s bad.

Second Life is often times ridiculed as a “pornoverse” but to be brutally honest about things, SL has sex poses, fetish gear, and everything else you can think of to appeal to the pervert in you for one reason, and one reason alone.

PEOPLE WANTED IT THAT WAY.

Released from the restraints of public hypocrisy people want to release their pent up libidos.

And now we are going to be entering the age of VR. As Joe Quirk said in the latest issue of H+, we’re looking at a future where clothes are going to be a joke. Between those sext messages you sent on your phone, scanning technology that will map your body to the nanometer of accuracy for 3d modeling, and AR that can put those two together to create an “X-ray” app, your modesty will cease to exist.

Sexbots? As controversial as they may sound now. we probably won’t even notice them growing more popular. To many VR people like me will be busy breaking down social taboos and inhibitions to make sexbots seem like much of anything.

And when those sexbots can act as surrogates? XDDDDDD

Needless to say, every last bit of tech applied to sexbots will also end up as a cybernetic enhancement option as well. Can we say the end of erectile dysfunction and the death of K-Y?

So, as a succubus, you could just say I’m simply preparing for the inevitable, and definitely highly sexual, future.”

I am making this point because the ability of all of this emerging technology to create such a “leveling” effect as I discussed earlier is tied into this basic driver of the “Status Game.” Personal appearance is a marker because it determines “sexiness” on one level and “genetic superiority” on another. Wealth is a marker because it is another sign of “genetic superiority”. At every level, the higher up the “pecking order” you are, the more our genetically driven instincts make us want to have sex with you. Additionally, the higher up the pecking order you are, the greater the demands you make for tribute as a reward for being “superior” and the greater the number of people you find to be undeserving “inferior” beings. We are programmed to desire greater status and instinctively embrace anything we perceive as granting it. It’s a pied piper we have chased for all our existence, equaled by only one other desire… immortality.

And it’s the lure that will pull us inevitably towards faster computers, better VR, greater ability to manipulate our own bodies, and better sex. And that is where the consequences come in.

To be continued.