combined report: CES 2011 and Adult Entertainment Expo
you can download the CES + AVN trend report here: iGASM CES AVN 2011 Trend Report
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a passion for emerging technologies. I often exclaim that “emerging technology is orgasmic” so I thought it would be provocative to explore this… well…literally. That said, while in Las Vegas, I attended two concurrent trade shows: The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and The Adult Entertainment Expo (more commonly known as “AVN” or “The Porn” show). Bellwethers for their respective economies.
AVN was actually born from CES. “It came out of CES, about 12 years ago,” explained AVN rep Sean Devlin. “There used to be an adult video section of CES… then those exhibitors said, ‘hey, we can do our own show.’ So they decided to put on their own show and AVN was born.”
My objective was to explore the two industries and their cultures and see if I could find fresh cultural insights from this juxtaposition. I also felt it would help make this CES emerging technology report a little more titillating.
To my surprise, I found that the tech and sex worlds are quite synergistic. As I watched geeky guys, called Otaku, mixing with Dominatrixes, I was reminded of the sultry intellectual sex appeal of Star Trek’s Spock. Today, the same incongruous naughty-nice/sex-tech undertones drive the popular TV show “The Big Bang Theory.”
Indeed, the key trends in the tech world are evident in the adult entertainment world, and vice versa. Without a doubt tech culture and sex culture merge in pop culture.
tech porn: nerdgasm alert
Erotic science fiction – books, art and films – often provide a peek into the future of the tech-sex fusion. For example, today the Ex-Sex-ive Machine (below) in the film Barbarella (1968) and The Orgasmatron machine in the film Sleeper (1973) don’t look too far off.
And then there is “tech porn,” which like “food porn,” is defined by seductive images with the intent of invoking lust for a technology. Tech porn uses smooth pans across ultra-glossy exteriors, a sequence of parts moving in intricate and complex patterns, lingering close-ups of key components, or extremely detailed descriptions and diagrams how a device is put together. It’s common in TV commercials, print ads, animations, manga and sci-fi literature, where text goes into greater detail than necessary about the tech, such as describing at length the interlocking mechanisms of a watch, or highly detailed and elaborate technical diagrams. The result is called a nerdgasm.
driving tech: porn industry early adopters
Whenever there’s a new content delivery technology – papyrus, woodcuts, printing press, Polaroid cameras, Internet, etc. – it’s instantly adopted to deliver adult-entertainment. Eroticists have historically embraced the emerging technologies of their times to get their points across.
For example, the first public screening of a movie was held in 1895, and the first “adult” film was released less than two years later. Streaming video, chat rooms, online credit-card verification were all born from the desire to access erotic content and have virtual sex. Think about it, porn was one of the first profitable industries on the Internet, today generating more than $1 billion annually online. The adult entertainment industry pioneered pay-per-view video and popularized VCRs. Even video technology, like Flash, is a tech innovation with roots in sharing and selling adult content.
Today, the electronics and tech industries pursue, even design for, the adult entertainment industry… because porn companies have deep pockets and are largely immune to economic fluctuations (despite Larry Flint wryly asking for a bail-out last year). Historically, XXX-execs seek tech innovations because they know their clients have a healthy appetite for bigger, better, clearer, faster, etc.
As it turns out, one need only follow the trends of the adult entertainment industry to stay current on the latest tech trends. All of the key tech trends at CES 2011 were also being put to good (or rather, naughty) use at AVN 2011.
top 10 tech trends
My names for the Top 10 Trends are:
Click below to read the whole juicy trend report (download PDF).