Tech

8 Times Porn Changed All of Our Lives

Because porn is more helpful than you realize.
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The adult entertainment industry and technology may seem strange bedfellows at first but the relationship between them goes far and deep, even if there’s an initial disconnect between the erotic and the electronic. 

The porn industry has been an unlikely driver for the adoption of various technologies for decades. Porn companies didn’t create these technologies on their own, but they were usually the first to try it out for their own use. Without the industry’s bold and hard push, some of these technologies and innovations may have been lost forever, and modern life may have been less interesting without them. Here’s a few of the adult entertainment industry’s contributions to the adoption of technology that worked its way its way to the mainstream.

Home Video

Back in the day, the only way to watch a porn movie was in a cinema full of other strange and sweaty people. It wasn’t exactly an ideal setup if you wanted some privacy. The VCR changed how movies were consumed and it transformed home entertainment. Adult films became available for two competing platforms: Betamax and VHS. Watching a pornographic movie became as easy as popping a cassette in a VCR. Although there’s little evidence to prove that VHS won over Betamax because more porn films were released for the format—it was likely more because VHS had a longer running time and the machines were cheaper than Betamax—VCRs slowly became an indispensable home appliance in the late ‘70s partly because people wanted to watch Deep Throat or Debbie Does Dallas in locked rooms.

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DVD

With the transition of home video to digital, DVDs became the next preferred home video format because of its compact size compared to expensive 12-inch LaserDiscs. The video quality also took a leap from the inferior VCD format. DVDs seemed to be tailor-fit for porn since it could conveniently split scenes into chapters and even allowed additional content such as deleted scenes and multiple camera angles. This introduced an unprecedented degree of interactivity for fans of adult entertainment.

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Streaming Video

A Dutch porn company by the name of Red Light District pioneered online video streaming in 1994. This was a time when the average household connection was through dial-up modem. Rather than require their users to have faster connections, the company worked with the bandwidth limitations and used Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) compression format to create one of the earliest video streaming service which worked on a regular browser and didn’t even require a plug-in or dedicated player. It would take five years for the mainstream to catch up with the streaming webcast of the Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show in 1999.

 

Online Payments

The name Richard J. Gordon (no relation to the Philippine politician) may not ring a bell, but through the efforts of Electronics Card Systems, a company he founded in the early ‘90s, online payments took off in a big way. The company acted as an online credit card processor for several websites. Gordon made arrangements with several porn companies for the online distribution of their content and introduced an online payment system using credit cards. It would take a few years for e-commerce pioneers such as Amazon and eBay to come up with a similar payment system for online transactions.

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Web Analytics

With porn sites starting to make money from online traffic and web-based ads, a problem arose. There was no credible system for tracking web traffic. This was very important because the sites were starting to introduce affiliate systems which were becoming much more complicated to track. In 1996, the XXX Counter was developed by Cybererotica as an independent web analysis tool which kept track of where users were coming from, what browser they were using, and even their screen resolution. Using third-party metrics, advertisers had more reliable statistics and the website operators were able to gain more insight on customer behavior.

 

Faster Broadband

Almost of all online porn-related activities such as video chat, live shows, and video-on-demand were unavoidably bandwidth heavy. Customer demand for faster internet were in part driven by the desire for faster access to digital pornography. Even during early days where the common connection was a 56K dial-up, there were adult sites that had content optimized for faster ADSL and broadband connections. By mid 2000s, high-definition adult videos were available online further increasing demand for broadband internet.

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Virtual Reality 

Last year, Pornhub introduced a virtual reality porn section. According to the site, there were over 38 million searches for VR porn videos. The Philippines even landed on the number four spot for countries searching for VR porn. Virtual reality allows users to experience porn from a first-person perspective. This opens up several possibilities because users can now assume different roles. VR blurs the line between being a passive voyeur and a participant in the act. The technology today is still experiencing growing pains and the porn industry seems to be more than eager to fully embrace it.

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Sex Robots

Previously just the stuff of science fiction and Japanese manga and anime, robotic sex dolls are now a reality. The Realbotix Doll is made by Abyss Creations, the makers of the infamous RealDoll line of anatomically-accurate silicone sex dolls. Scheduled for release later this year, the sexbots will come with customizable and swappable animatronic heads which are capable of a range of facial expressions and head movements. It can also talk by syncing its mouth to an internal speaker. The robotic head works with a smartphone via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and will have artificial intelligence built in so it can learn and evolve over time. Yes, it sounds like something straight out of Black Mirror.

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Ed Geronia Jr.
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