Why you shouldn’t rush to get your auto-erotic implant

Paul Raven @ 02-01-2009

orgasmatron settings dialImagine, if you will, what it might be like to have a kind of switch wired into yourself that triggered tiny electrical shocks in your orbitofrontal cortex, giving you what would effectively be an “orgasm button”. Well, this isn’t science fiction any more. [image by bbaunach]

Transhumanist thinker George Dvorsky takes a look at the history of pleasure-centre brain-tweaking, and considers the implications of the technology becoming affordable and readily available:

So, should these devices be banned?

Yes and no.

Like the current prohibition on both soft and hard drugs, there’s a certain efficacy to a patriarchal imperative that works to protect citizens from themselves. Sex chip junkies wouldn’t be unlike other kinds of junkies. Highly addicted and dysfunctional persons would find themselves outside the social contract and completely dependent on the state.

But what about the pursuit of happiness and other freedoms? And our cognitive liberties? A strong case can be made that we all have a vested interest in the quality of our own minds and the nature of our subjective experiences. Ensuring access to these sorts of technologies may prove to be a very important part of struggle for psychological autonomy.

Is the best society the one that protects its citizens from all potential pitfalls, or the one that educates them as best it can and lets them take care of themselves?

Be Sociable, Share!

5 Responses to “Why you shouldn’t rush to get your auto-erotic implant”

  1. Evil Rocks says:

    Turns out that all of my peers who insist on hopping themselves up on adderall and other amphetamines masquerading as “performance enhancers” are making the same mistake, except in their case screwing with brain chemistry is a sure way to close your own personal doors to negligible senescence.

  2. Gadget Sleuth says:

    Something like this would be rife with abuse and should be managed carefully, if ever tested at all.

  3. Frank Glover says:

    I’m reminded of something George Carlin once said about how male dogs can turn far enough to, um, ‘lick themselves.’

    “Isn’t that great? If I could do that, I’d never leave the house!”

    Think of this as ‘2.0’ of that…

  4. Khannea Suntzu says:

    The problem is, I would, for sure.

    Life is an equation of pleasure and discomfort, effort and leisure, reward and punishment, supply and demand. Most people assume this social contract is fair across the board. It is not.

    The majority of people are average and will have an average life. In the rich nations this appears to be fairly acceptable, and compared to most of history, extremely luxurious. A small percentage of people are smarter, have better energy levels, are talented – and they make more money. In the US the small percentage of blessed make a LOT more.

    The downside is the small percentage of under-talented, those with less energy, those with deficiencies or those who are dimwitted. Typically these can do two things – they can become criminals – or can opt out. In the third world opting out more or less means suicide – in the rich nations opting out means being a bum, a junkie or a freeloader.

    It amazes me that the average of society regard this with a mixture of perplexity or anger. Middleclassers tend to loathe these freeloaders and the mix of ambition and relaxation in society is a hot topic for right wing populists who will use this dynamic as a stick to beat good voters into submission. They say wages should be low and people should work more.

    Those lose out in this game are subjected to scorn. Many say, “rightfully so” because they attribute losing as being a behavioral choice, such as stupity, laziness or immorality. From the perspective societal scorn for those who fail or refuse the socio-economic dance of chairs is regarded as proper and just.

    Nobody asks what it does to someone who fails to carve out a fair existence in the modern world. Nobody wonders much how demeaning societal exclusion and poverty is. Nobody wonders or worries to what degree this exclusion and the lack of opportunity does in fact boost crime figures. Nobody wonders to what degree the exclusion mechanism fosters depression, mental deficiency or substance abuse.

    Well, no more. The wireheading treatments are still brain surgery but they are seriously trickling down.

    I described to my classmates at school the idea of an “Iplant” as a device to create stimulation. One classmate was bewildered and extremely angry and she demanded such a technology would be “unfair” and “should be outlawed, whatever the cost”. I asked her why it would be unfair. She replied as she wouldn’t want such an invasive surgery, she assumed it would give those who would an unfair advantage that would never allow her to equitably compete. She assumed this would cost her a significant percentage of her income in the labor market.

    http://www.iplant.eu/

    So there you have it. The Iplant (or any DBS) *will* become accessible to more and more people. It will become affordable soon thereafter. Then we will have a slow crawling development of AI, about at the same time. The combination of a personalized AI and an Iplant will allow you to selfmotivate to levels of achievement that are like nothing we have seen before in human history. And even if it will not, the idea of Iplant will allow wireheading.

    Whatever you do – selfmotivate with targeted stimulation of the brain, or become the happiest junky in the world, this precious social contract will die. There will be a new measure of supply and demand – if opportunity is unadequate, if people experience just this little too much social exlusion, a percentage of those will opt for either Iplant or Wirehead. Opting out will become more rewarding than ever in history. The punishment leveled in return – “scorn” will no longer have any effect as the social torture intended by scorn will no longer hit home. The ritual of scorn will have less sting at screaming obscenities at a rock.

  5. Jim Fehlinger says:

    > So, should these devices be banned?

    There was an antidepressant on the market a few years ago,
    called amineptine (trade names Maneon, Survector),
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amineptine
    which was a selective dopamine reuptake inhibitor (of which there
    aren’t many, for reasons similar to those which led to this
    one being taken off the market).

    One of the interesting side effects of this drug was the
    occurrence of spontaneous orgasms at certain dosages (higher,
    usually, than the one it was normally prescribed at).

    The potential for abuse caused the pill to be
    banned in some countries, and the French manufacturer finally
    discontinued selling it.

    It’s a shame that the, uh, psychopharmacological palette, so to
    speak, has to be limited because some folks are always on the
    lookout for quick jollies, but there you have it.