How does sex drive new technology?


Reid Hoffman once said, social media do best when they tap into one of the seven deadly sins. FaceBook is ego; Zynga is sloth; Linkedin is greed. Then I wonder, who is in charge of lust and what if ALL IS FOR LUST?

Those seven capital vices caught the deepest human natures and among all of them, sexual desire is one of our most basic needs. The behaviour of a human being in sexual matters is often a prototype for his or her other modes of reaction in life. Therefor, sex might have a chance of driving the development in new technology.

The ultimate manifestation of privacy

While peeling off the dirty raincoat of the adults industry and look into its contribution towards communication, the top words that bump into my mind are privacy, convenience and anonymity. It seems monumentally awful before the Internet can provide pornography consumers a decent cover, the age that they need to go to cinema or borrow VCR with a cap on. The need of expressing affection towards both blondes and brunettes drives the development of on-line file sharing and viewing. Dinosaurs like Blockbusters are doomed to extinct, as no one wants their names listed under erotic films anymore. But how can this wonderful lunch be charged without others known? A self- proclaimed “geek with big breasts” pioneer named Danni Ashe pave the way for E-commerce as a solution in 1995. By 2001, Danni’s hard drive had turned 8 million dollars in annual profit by charging punters for soft-core porn. That is to say the first secured on-line purchase might just for a peek at cleavages in the 1990s, long before we even heard of PayPal and eBay. Lust might have opened the age of commercialization of the Internet, and now every second 3075.64 dollars is being spent on pornography.


Faster, clearer and more  

Technology is demand driving. Since pornography had been moved from public cinema to online world, the shame factor was killed. But, how many minutes of pornography can be stored in a 3.5-inch floppy disk with only 1.44MB storage? The answer is a pedestal shot from the forehead down to the chin. Like every woman thinks she needs to buy one more clothes, every man would like to download and store just one more clip for their collections. With 35% of all Internet downloads being pornographic, both main memory and storage of computers are rapidly and continually improved, under the challenge of video and images with even higher definition.

No one might predict the invention of Internet, which was driven by the fear of attack during cold war, is now expanding by the demand of sexual content by improving its fundamental infrastructures including routers, switches, replays and bandwidth. Faster and more reliable access towards Internet has also encouraged streaming video. In 1994,  porn company Red Light District developed the first Internet –based video streaming system and it was even before (1995) and YouTube (2005).

In the name of interaction

In a real life that sex is connected with taboos, virtual world do provides a nature shield, a chance of sticking your nose into somebody else’s business and a way of satisfying your darkest fantasies without being judged. In that sense, a chance of being satisfied in an interactive way or even using virtual reality technology sounds more exciting. 


Google banned porn on Google Glass

Sex-driven technology developers might have thought about interactive service online far before the mainstream follows. One of the examples can be seen in the invention of webcam, which was primarily used for live sex shows long before online business meeting. Online chat has always been put a tag of sexting since beginning and now Tinder and Snapchat have been rewriting the legendary. The success of tinder as a one-stop shop for young people who are looking for dates or no strings hook-up is often compared with auto-destroyed dirty images from Snapchat. With studies on snap-sex trend lining up with evidence, I couldn’t stop but wondering, if there should be a “sexualized potential” segment on business model canvas when developing any products in the future, or at least venture it into porn market in its incubation stage.

By Jialu Zhang