ft. Bryony Cole
The world’s relationship with technology is complex and ever-changing. Dating apps, the pill, and digital mass porn, to name only a few, are technological innovations that have radically impacted our sexual lives and how we relate to each other.
Technological innovations often inspire fear. Socrates worried about writing replacing oral culture. The hunter-gatherers probably moaned about the advent of agriculture. But who’s to say they weren’t right to moan?
In the 1850s, during the Industrial Revolution, transcendentalists warned how the advent of a mechanistic and technological age could impact humanity. Henry Thoreau wrote during the industrial revolution: “Our inventions are often an improved means to an unimproved end.” However ingenious an invention may seem, it will likely have unintended side effects and even shape who we are as people, in ways that are not always obvious or positive.
At the same time, technology has also greatly enhanced our freedoms and choices for our bodies. It’s given us the ability to have more orgasms, to have children, to not have children, and to connect outside our usual social circles. Increasingly, it’s assisting in improving how we educate people about sexuality and creating new ways of managing sexual assault prevention and reporting.
So, in light of this, how should we develop technologies that relate to human sexuality and intimacy? What social problems can be solved using technology? Why do technological solutions so often feel like a bandaid for deeper issues?
The challenges surrounding technology are often explored in black and white. This week Caroline has asked Bryony Cole to help analyse the grey areas.
Bryony Cole is the founder and host of the Future of Sex podcast, where she explores the intersection between sex and tech. Since the podcast's success over the last seven years, she’s founded Sextech School, a program helping new sextech businesses commercialise.
From interviewing owners of sex dolls to running sex tech hackathons, Bryony has been deeply involved in the sex tech industry since the early realisation of its potential value. She is a wealth of knowledge on how the relationship between technology and sex has developed, and how it continues to do so.
Check out Bryony’s work here.
Listen to The Future of Sex Podcast here.
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Creator & host: Caroline Moreau-Hammond
Editor & original music: Zoltan Fecso