food for thought

Even further back, at the Lifelike Computer Characters '95 conference - a fascinating and compelling speech by Bruce Sterling - including the following:

"[A virtual actor] is completely tireless and it will take absolutely any role that its owner offers it.

What is the true market niche for an actor with these qualities? The answer of course is pornography. All new media that survive always have a strong initial vogue for pornography. However, lifelike computer characters are so ideally suited to pornography that they may well dominate this niche completely.

Mooks of course are well-nigh perfect for phone sex applications. Even text recognition systems might have a certain niche for obscene MUD applications and hot chat. But 3-D virtual human bodies generated in real- time have enormous potential; they are blow-up sex dolls that can move.

True pornography devotees don't want people to have humanlike sex. Actual human sex tends to be full of tiring complications like commitment, affection and emotional engagement. Porn devotees want to witness sexual acts which are somewhat humanlike, but mostly they want sex to occur in a conceptual realm that is profoundly divorced from troubling realities, a realm that is the timeless, guilt-free, zipless realm of pornotopia. Artificial lifelike characters can offer live, 24-hour, real-time, interactive porn without any limits of metabolism or even physics. Someone's gonna make money there.

Please don't think that I'm trying to be judgemental when I point this out about your craft. I'm merely warning you about the likely fate of utterly stupid and fatally attractive images of human beings once they innocently wander out of the safe realm of Silicon Graphics and AT&T Bell Labs. There's porn in CD- ROMS, porn on BBSes, porn on the internet, and to me it seems entirely reasonable that lifelike artificial characters will become the apotheosis of digital porn. You should expect this to happen, and you should expect to deal with it, and you should expect trouble from it."