I've started writing this post three times. Initially it was a rant on Apple’s new text message filtering patent. I was angered, and rightfully so, about the 1984 reality that Apple is heading towards. Each time I would get 500-600 words in and I would stop because I ran out of steam. I started out so angry, “grrr… evil Steve Jobs is evil” and would eventually dissolve into a tired, pathetic anti-Apple/pro-open source rant. I couldn’t figure out why. So I stepped away for a while, in an attempt to gather my thoughts. What I realized, through deep contemplation (and by deep contemplation I mean drinking more beer and pounding on my keyboard furiously) is that I am not angry with Apple, I’m angry with the state of technological sexuality.
Sex and tech are inextricably linked. The more technology we get the more we will adapt it to get us off. Porn has always been on the forefront of media distribution and is still identified as the reason DVD & VHS both took off. I don’t know one vibrator manufacturer that wouldn’t kill for a solar or hybrid power source small and efficient enough for a vibrator. Nor do I know one prostitute that did not love having Craig’s List as a marketplace for selling their services. This being true, I wonder what is the cause of sex and technology’s chaffing, un-lubricated relationship.
Right now there is no bigger forefront for technological progression than the smartphone. Right now there is no bigger innovator than Apple, no bigger up and comer than Google, no bigger underdog than Microsoft, and no bigger loser than Palm. However, all of them seem to have a vendetta against not only porn but sex in general.
Being the techy that I am, I’ve read all of the developer agreements for Apple’s iOS, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, & Palm’s webOS and all of them strictly forbid anything they deem to be objectionable. Of course these all being very different companies with very different ideals, they restrict different things.
One thing they all agree on is sex… as in there is to be none. Of course there are exceptions to every rule as Playboy has apps in all these stores and, Sports Illustrated publishes their annual swimsuit issue in each platform’s respective applications; which tells us that if you’ve got the power and finances of Conde Nast or the resilience and reputation of Playboy then you are entitled to a free pass. This also tells us that if you’re not excited by the thought of cookie cutter women parading their photoshopped bodies then you don’t deserve to be served nor represented.
Technology is such a wonderful thing. I believe in technology and its ability to do things far beyond anybody’s imagination. However, technology can only be as good as the society that creates it. When creating new technologies we must remember to translate all the social lessons we have learned. We mustn’t allow ourselves begin to roll back the progress we’ve made, especially not in a medium that will prove to be so influential.
People would like to simplify this complex and layered issue to an elementary level. Focusing on their fears that others will misuse the privilege. I’ll be honest, all some people want to do is ride the F train watching a Ghetto Gaggers/MILF Hunter medley on their iPads. However, the same population who would sync that downloaded content to their devices would stream it through a native app. For the great majority of people they just want to be free to have the choice. Sexuality for most people is not watered down to the lowest common denominator, even though that seems to get the lion’s share of popular attention. In every population, there will always be social outliers. Those people exist because they need to. It is foolish for the majority to willing give up their freedoms as they cower in fear of a real or imagined threat of such a minute minority.
The biggest problem in the sex v. technology struggle is the digital monarchy; King Steve Jobs de Pomme, Eric Schmidt Prince de Googleshire and Duke of the Soft that is Micro Steven Balmer II. All of these men have a tremendous amount of power to shape the social sphere and as expected they are egotistically doing so in their image. That image is of the blandest starchiest 50+ year old buttoned up white man imaginable. We have the same struggles with government, our financial system and any other socially sustaining system; these representatives are not representative of the populations they supposedly represent. As a result, instead of moving culture forward they are simply reinforcing the (sex) negativity that plagues society as a whole.
The sex v. technology conflict is not simply an issue of having access to porn everywhere. It is an issue of the new social architecture being bombarded by the baggage of its creators. It is an issue of current culture poisoning the possibility for any social progression because of their current prejudices. It is an issue of unrepresentative representatives spoon feeding us their wants and us partaking so fervently. This is an issue of foggy foresight and a lack of proper leadership. Most of all this is an issue of me being able to watch “Cum Guzzling Co-eds 47” whenever and wherever I want! You don’t give me 720p in a 4.3in screen and expect me not to see what porn looks like on the thing.