Pornography, Nanotech, and You

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How are the words in the title related? Am I being sensationalistic, or are they all connected?

When I began my career in Information Technology nearly 25 years ago, I never for a moment thought I would connect the dots between porn and nano. I bet a lot of you reading this still think they are unrelated, or at best loosely related. The truth is, what connects those two topics is, in fact, you.

We all, individually and collectively, connect those two topics. But what is pornography exactly? And what is nanotechnology, exactly? It may seem like they’re polar opposites, yet everyone reading this is a consumer of both on a fairly regular basis, perhaps without realizing it, but you are nonetheless.

Pornography is art, and nanotech is science.

I admit that’s perhaps an oversimplification of the terminology, but in essence that is what the terms represent. How artistic the pornography is translates to varying flavours of erotica, and how pure the nanotechnology is equates to how accurately we control atomic particles.

Pornography is in many ways the future of erotica. Nanotechnology is in many ways the future of technology.

How freely we are able to discuss, explore, learn about, and share those two topics depends on the public, each one of us, me and you.

The reason those two topics are so closely related is because in order to have one, we must have the other. If you’re reading this now, it’s because you received it either directly or indirectly thanks to the Internet. Between the website that you accessed it from and your computer are countless computer chips, each one with components built at the nanoscale.

Thinking about the future, whatever future that might be, ask yourself: Do you believe erotica will be a series of pictures of people smiling at one another? Do you believe the Internet will evolve to become tin cans with string connected between them? I wager you’d answer “no” to either of those questions.

The Internet as we know it today is barely a couple (two) decades old. Before that, the Internet was almost only text, and the occasional picture that each had to be painstakingly downloaded, one by one and several minutes for each, then viewed using a separate program. It was glorious at the time, but absolutely archaic by today’s standards.

If you love pornography, or erotica, or even simply art, then you must understand none of those things can exist without a technology to accommodate them. By the same token, if the technology exists then the corresponding art will exist in parallel: they are two sides of the same coin. Educating ourselves about one implies knowing the other must exist as well.

A painter must have paint with which to apply to a canvas. Each ink must be crafted, designed or manufactured, kept pure, safe or sealed. The paint can be toxic if ingested, can dry out, or become unusable, but if kept in good condition and cherished, can result in art that can last centuries, or millennia.

If we are unfree to explore one topic then we are unfree to explore the other. Knowledge is power, and we must be responsible about building our future to accommodate both. Or, it will be an unrelatable, meaningless future.

Visit a museum and gaze upon nude masterpieces. I guarantee you, without any doubt, many of those masterpieces caused absolute chaos when they were first revealed. Not because the artist intended the chaos, but rather because of the controversy of what the art meant, and how policymakers sought to control that meaning and its effect.

That is the plight of the artist, but especially the porn star. Each picture we publish, each video we create, can be scrutinised. The paint brand we chose, the canvas we smeared it on. Are you seeing the forest for the trees?

A picture is worth a thousand words, and with digital pictures and embedded meta data, a video recorded at 240fps is like an encyclopaedia. But in the end they’re just books. Books, in an ocean of many books, and more have been written than we can ever count and more will be written than we will ever know.

As we voyage further into outer space, with plans to revisit the Moon and a manned mission to Mars, what will keep us firmly planted on Earth? What will drive us to grow our society to support humanity across such great distances in space? Erotica will, and today pornography is what we call that vehicle.

Microwave ovens, smartphones, vaccines, artificial intelligence, these are all integral to the functioning of our world today. Without them, we can get by, struggle and be stubborn about it, but ultimately we would be doing ourselves a disservice to pretend those things don’t or can’t exist. Likewise, we are collectively stronger for understanding how those things can help us, how we can benefit from them.

Erotica is the same way. We don’t all need to be excited by the same things, we all have our favourites and preferences. Misusing art or science to incite hatred is a cowardly and soulless endeavour. In art there is science, and vice versa, and that’s why it’s primordial that, in the age of popular nanotechnologies, we remember the importance of embracing our passions for one another, and build a peaceful future where both porn and tech continue to coexist.

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