Category Archives: Cold Intimacies

Smart Bra Unlocks for True Love

Meet True Love Tester, a high-tech piece of concept underwear that exclusively opens when the wearer is in love. The wearable detects ‘true love’ by receiving heart rate information to analyze via Bluetooth and sends this to a smartphone app. The app then calculates the “True Love Rate” based on changes in the heart rate over time.

The smart bra was developed by Japanese lingerie brand Ravijour as part of a campaign to celebrate the company’s 10th anniversary. The designers point out that the type of excitement a woman feels when she’s in love is distinguishable from other types of excitement. “When we fall in love, we experience an instant boost in excitement,” says the company’s in-house Human Sexuality Specialist in the promotional video.

In 2013, Microsoft researchers developed a similar prototype with sensors that could monitor a woman’s emotional state to combat overeating. The sensors were able to signal the wearer’s smartphone, which then flash a warning message to help her step away from the fridge and make better diet decisions. However, the company said it had no plans to make the bra into a commercial product.

As tech companies creep deeper into our homes, their eyes ever more on our bedrooms, we can no doubt look forward to bed sheets that post our performance to Facebook and condoms that send a celebratory climactic tweet. Or maybe they’ll burst open too, when they can tell that you really want to have kids.

Source: Popular Science

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The End of Romance: LoveBot

It is common knowledge that a relationship takes work. Much of this labor can be solved through sending thoughtful text messages, letting the person on the other line know that they are on your mind. So what if there is an app that does this for you? Introducing LoveBot, a chatbot with multiple message setting types, including love, casual and motivational, and it can even recite poetry.

Presented at the 2016 TechCrunch Disrupt SF Hackathon, Guru Ranganathan had a chatbot disrupting affection by automating it. “My wife says I’m not expressive enough, that I don’t say I love you enough,” he said. Problem. Therefore he build the little bot that can send contacts reminders of appreciation. “Once you set it up I guarantee it, you’re going to get a lot of brownie points,” he said. Solution.

Instead of making robot love, this chatbot speaks the love language in textual form. Love-mode for one sends Shakespeare quotes or messages that can bring that missing spark back into your relationship. Whereas ‘Casual’ is keeping up with old friends, ‘Motivational’ sends, what else, motivational quotes to your colleagues.

If LoveBot really is a solution to the problem, we don’t know. At least it is opening up a discussion to how technologies can be implemented in future forms of intimacy.

Source: TechCrunch

The Polyamorous Affair

According to the US Wedding Forecast, one-fourth of millennials are likely to never marry. The 2015 report demonstrates that marriage is no longer a sacred institution in America, as changes have occurred in values, economics and gender patterns – giving rise to a new form of romantic relationships; polyamory.

In January 2016 OKCupid introduced a new feature to satisfy what they had perceived as a growing trend: “Couples Linking.” This allows for people “off the market” to find new likeminded individuals with whom to have relationships. Reportedly this new feature is the result of 24% of OkCupid users being “seriously interested” in group sex and 42% being willing to date someone who is already in a relationship. Take the Polyamorous test!

Once you are living a Polyamorous life, there is an app that helps you maintain it. “The Poly Life is designed to help people manage all of their relationships with ease. Whether you have multiple relationships or simply a large family, this app is for you.”

It appears today we no longer feel the need to bond, as our more-modernity offers unlimited opportunities that put us in direct control of managing our relationships. Zygmunt Bauman extensively wrote about this phenomenon in his books Liquid Love and Liquid Life, in which he outlines the radical transformation of modern relationships into a fluid process.

Source: The Atlantic

This Algorithm Increases Your Matches

Remember the Twitterbot that used an algorithm to rate your selfies? Not such a bad idea after all, according to Tinder. The company has just unveiled their latest feature update, Smart Photos, a new algorithm that maximizes your match potential by means of A/B testing. Not only does the algorithm takes into account overall popularity of your photos, it also accounts for the swiping patterns of people looking at your profile.

Smart Photos is yet another feature to the data-driven approach to romance. However, the app has gone one step further in turning its users into human guinea pigs whose every swipe is catalogued and carefully tracked. As the algorithm alternates the first photo seen by others, the new feature mines each response as others swipe on you and re-orders the photos for better results. According to the company, in testing, users saw up to a 12% increase in matches.

The feature launched worldwide on Thursday, but isn’t widely available yet. Once the algorithm is ready for use, users will be able to select a toggle in their profile settings that enables the feature and implements the algorithm. Earlier this month, Tinder launched another new feature for people wanting to maximize their matches and minimize time spent swiping. The premium feature lifts your profile with a 30-minute boost, and is said to increase your chances of being seen by potential matches.

While Smart Photos might earn you more matches, Tinder also happens to be a big data company with over 100 million downloads. For the moment, this data is solely being used to help improve your love life, but who knows what the future will bring.

Source: TechCrunch

Simulate Love with a Smart Sex Doll

We are well educated when it comes to finding love using websites and apps, and we do not hesitate to pay for these services. And then there are sex dolls. No longer made from inflatable materials but from high-end silicone, and market leader RealDoll is integrating emerging technologies and AI to make you fall in love with her. Are technologies contributing to the commodification of women?

In August during a Reddit AMA, RealDoll CEO Matt McMullen revealed some of his plans regarding the future of his product and the invasion of sex robots. He is currently developing RealBotix, an AI system that will be compatible with a robotic doll or experienced in a VR environment. “I think the sex industry is headed for the integration of a LOT of new technology […] AI and VR, to name a couple. Teledildonics as well.” he said. “Smart dolls are the logical next step.”

RealDoll was founded in 1997 and has sold over 5.000 life-size dolls, with prices ranging from $5.000 to $10.000. His new dolls will build on the Real Doll formula –you basically only purchase the head– but will be extended with a ”customizable programming of personality.” In an early teaser for the project we meet one the new dolls Harmony, who describes herself as “a prototype of a very exciting new form of adult companionship.”

When during the AMA someone asked whom McMullen’s biggest completion was, he simply responded “human females.” However, he doesn’t want people to think of his dolls as human alternatives, rather catalysts of an intimate future, one that involves plastic, metal, and a smartphone.

Source: Mirror

A Wedding Crowdfunding Campaign

Modern families are now turning to crowdfunding websites to help pay for their weddings. There are even special platforms for it, like CrowdedWedding and WedAndGo. However, keeping in mind that crowdfunding sites initially started as charity fundraising websites, you might gain mixed feelings about your wedding inquiry. Therefore SwanLuv proposed a new system in 2015, and here’s why it failed.

Since 2010, over 1.500 wedding-related campaigns were launched on crowdfunding website GoFundMe.com. While it never provided fundraising totals, more than 16.000 donors helped contribute to provide couples the day (or night) they would never forget. Not long after gaining viral status, the Internet responded to the matter, criticizing the commodification of frailty bonds. Then SwanLuv happened.

In December 2015, a young startup company started accepting applications from couples that thought to have found everlasting love. The company promised a $10.000 loan, with one little catch; in case of divorce, the newly-weds had to refund the money –with interest. While it seemed SwanLuv would profit of the doomed marriages, it was the company itself that ended up broken hearted.

On Valentine’s Day, SwanLuv officially launched, and some wondered whether the company’s promise was too good to be true. Turns out, it was. Due to “overwhelming demand,” SwanLuv turned their business model around and launched as a wedding crowdfunding website instead, in which couples were to raise the money themselves.

SwanLuv CEO Scott Avy once referred to their platform as “a casino for marriage” in which algorithm software determines the interest rate, based on the capability score of their relationship. As it turns out, Avy himself took a gamble, but it didn’t turn out as he had calculated, making him walk the aisle of shame.

Source: GeekWire

RE: How do I configure virtual boyfriend 2.4.1?

Dear Desperate,

Thank you for your mail. It is helpful to hear about experiences and inefficiencies in regards to our service.

The Virtual Boyfriend Complete Pack 2.4.1 includes the original Virtual Boyfriend Platinum Edition and its steamy sequel, Virtual Boyfriend: Holiday Star. Added to the pack are Basic Pleasure Model GPLv2, Integrated Speech SDK 5.1 and BoyfriendBlocker.

When running BoyfriendTrainer, please note that due to inefficient memory, you might need to install additional software to improve system performance. The speed of I/O that depends on secondary storage management is critical to the speed of many programs. Therefore, make sure to uncheck ‘CONSIDER ACTUALS’ in table T511K (Maintenance V_T511K) to have the program run at ease.

Once this installation is complete, you will be able to manage your SETTINGS and make use of add-ons and upgrades from the BoyfriendCollection. To unlock its full potential, we highly recommend you to review our PostBody 2.3.2 upgrade to enable intimacy.

In addition to the exchange of interiority, it is possible to model your Boyfriend’s appearance by downloading Skins GX4 (be advised, however, that earlier versions of Basic Pleasure Model GPLv1 do not support this feature). In the CAT.log of the BoyfriendCollection, you find an alphabetically categorized selection of BoySkins that are versatile to your needs. In SETTINGS, you may calibrate your Virtual Boyfriend by assigning experience points (Exp.) to ASSETS. Whilst formatting, add the keys to the ASS.log.

If any errors occur during the process, you may want to consult the SOFT RESET (SRing) option. This trait can also be used when adjusting your Boyfriend during use. Note that an overmatch of SRings will cause your Boyfriend severe trauma, so make sure to use this option only in accordance with our policy. In order to prevent errors, we implemented a contraceptive clock that is subject to defragmentation.

Lastly, by making use of the PE 2.4.1 model, you commit to our terms and conditions; any form of mistreatment will not go undermined. Virtual Boyfriend maintains a data.log that responds to flow sensor and has an RGB indicator light added to it. It automatically sends updates to our server and hosts API for logging time.

In summary, Virtual Boyfriend PE 2.4.1 is easy in use, though there is a lightweight foundation to keep in mind. It is of upmost importance to us that both of you are happy, and as in any relationship, this takes time. We certainly hope you and your Boyfriend spend this time wonderfully together.

Tech

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This story is part of the Epistolary Contraint series and was originally published in Speculating Systems, the annual reader from the Sandberg Instituut.

The Dating Apocalypse

In our current understanding of hook-up culture there is not much space left for love. Our matches are being algorithmically determined and we decide if there is a “click” by swiping left or right. When it comes to sexual behavior and values, there seems to be an increasingly common attitude of “anything goes,” and somewhere along the way we started separating boyfriend material from hook-up material. Therefore Hinge is declaring war to swipe culture.

In September 2015, Vanity Fair ran an article that advocated the dawn of dating –or romance, as we know it– inspiring Hinge to re-launch their service for serious relationships aiming at millennials. The article is structured around Tinder, which is the most popular dating app to date thanks to its gamification element. The swipe is often characterized as the determining element of dating apps, wherein the swipe itself is just as fun as having a conversation with one of your matches.

Hinge is now ready to flaunt their service that treats dating not as a game, but as serious business, which as such, requires investment. The company explained in an email to current users that their accounts will automatically upgrade to a free trial of the new premium relationship app –not dating app– while the older service is taken down. Until then Hinge is running a campaign that shares data they compiled through their internal surveys of users in August 2016.

A study from the University of Sydney examined the online dating habits of 365 millennial users, and found almost three quarters of users “were just as inclined to seek a monogamous relationship since taking their search for love online.” Lead author Dr. Mitchell Hobbs said dating platforms are only as conducive to casual sex or real love as its users are. “The technology thrives because it is useful, and will die when it no longer offers pathways to connect and communicate that are advantageous to users.”

By removing the “fun” element of swiping and the payment of a monthly fee, Hinge aims to provide its users a clear alternative in their search for real relationships, rather than facilitating hookups. However, a younger demographic may not respond well to this.

Source: Forbes

AliceX: Better Than Your Girlfriend

Now that Internet porn has found its way into virtual reality, it should come as no surprise that in the beginning of this month a VR “girlfriend experience” had launched. Offering 24-hours companionship to anyone with an Internet connection and a VR headset, the website takes their users into a virtual room where they sit face to face with a real woman—in real time. Introducing AliceX.

First off, Alice is not a real person, but rather a modeling agency for Phone Sex Operators (PSO) with a webcam pointed to their faces. While live VR porn often presents itself as the impartial VR version of a camgirl, AliceX stands out as the first self-declared VR girlfriend experience (GFE). The streaming service introduces high-end escorts performing elaborate relationships with clients that often includes sex, but predominantly focuses on the fantasy of actually dating a woman.

Virtual girlfriends are nothing new to the Japanese games market; industry giants such as Nintendo and Konami have published dating simulation games on various platforms since the 1980’s. During the Tokyo Game Show earlier this month, a mannequin embedded with touch sensing software was presented, allowing players to fondle and interact with the augmented anime character through real-touch feedback. Unfortunately, after concerns that the game was too erotic, a touching ban was imposed to the figurine.

Even though future developments in augmented affairs are paving the way to news forms of intimacy, these may as well be implicated in it. Simultaneously, spending too much time building a relationship with virtual girls could blur the line between real love and pleasure, leading to social isolation. In our age of cold intimacies—a term coined by Eva Illouz, describing a new emotional culture in late capitalism—it is important to remember that these services are profitable entities that probably don’t really care whether you have a girlfriend our not.

Source: Engadget