I was completely captivated by the Week 7 lecture presented by Nick Keys addressing the future of love through the retrospect of pop culture and music.
During the lecture, Nick proposed the idea of a post-romantic reality, that “see’s love as mostly an affair between the brain and the genitals”. Expanding on this hedonistic and sexually decadent future, Nick introduced the concept of commoditised sex, deeming Rihanna, among others, as a libidinal economist, exploiting and “weaponising emotions for power”.
With this sensually dissolute future in mind, or as Nick described it “messy complexity”, I couldn’t help but scrutinise this commoditised eroticism as separating the act of loving and the act of sex. It seems to me that the age-old decree of sex intrinsically bound to love, established by Western society and religion is becoming actively abolished as a shift in cultural acceptance has forged a bisexual explosion upon the heterosexual norm.
A new open structure of sexuality and eroticism is conceived within this “messy complexity”, autonomous from love, but rather derived from desire.
Lust, longing, lechery and lewdness are all “L” words that would suggest the act of making love, but are no more than aspects of desire which advocate a post-romantic form of love, or perhaps just sex – “a weird place between freedom and commitment” as phrased by Nick.
It is within this “weird place between freedom and commitment” that sex is divorced from love, and in a primitive sense, transitions into a fundamental characteristic of life, like eating, sleeping, or love for that matter.
I would like to clarify that I’m not implying that sex was never a fundamental aspect of human nature, but rather that western society has established a union between sex and love and hence amounted an ostracising demand on people to obtain the two, but not one distant from the other.
In this context, technology has the potential to completely commoditise sex and become the eventual libidinal economist. Futurist Eric Garland believes ‘sex in the 2020’s and beyond will offer an astonishing array of choices, facilitated by more-sophisticated communications and sensory technologies and less influence from organised religion’. (2004, page 41)
Supporting this statement is philosopher Blay Whitby of the University of Sussex, who believes not even human sexual intercourse is immune from potential technological obsolescence. “In some ways, a robotic lover may come to be viewed no differently from other service-oriented robots, such as caregivers for the elderly or playmates for children”. (2012, page 40)
This proposition of a service-oriented robotic lover suggests a future coherent in the commoditised erotic desires of humans, however love, by human standards could not be emulated on the behalf of the artificial intelligence. It is therefore that this materialised form of human sexuality is a direct response to the hedonistic desires of society, implying that sex can and will continue to exist without an establishment of love. Ideally this insinuates that sex in the future will no longer be considered as ‘making love’, but rather a fundamental human expression, detached from love.
Garland, E. 2004, “Reinventing Sex: New Technologies and Changing Attitudes”, The Futurist, vol. 38, no. 6, pp. 41-46.
Empel, E. & Wagner, C.G. 2012, “The Future of the Commercial Sex Industry”, The Futurist, vol. 46, no. 3, pp. 36-40.
Week 7 Lecture – Nick Keys.