First ever video posted on YouTube It was co-founder Jawed Karim who made the dick joke. Jennifer Lopez’s famous green Versace dress was essentially what created Google Images.A picture from playboy It has been used for decades to test image processing tasks on computers. Sex essentially created the digital online world we know today in ways you might not know.this is the paper motherboard Senior Editor Samantha Cole’s debut, How Sex Changed the Internet and How the Internet Changed Sex.
It’s a history that continues to be written, but Cole’s book is a unique and comprehensive one. The book touches on core human issues and feelings such as consent and power, examining how the internet plays a role in sexuality – such as deepfakes used to superimpose one person’s head on another’s body. At times, sheer frankness is overwhelming and hard to read, especially when it comes to depictions of how the internet is used for sexual violence.But people feel it’s important to know what’s hidden (or not) behind the screen—Many of us haven’t even begun to comb the depths.For example, the woman playboy When working with images, Lena Sjööblom didn’t even know this was the case until years later, when she was invited to the 50th annual meeting of the Society for Imaging Science and Technology in 1997.
I spoke with Cole, whose book will be published on November 15 on topics such as sex and the internet, technological advances, censorship and upcoming internet trends.
How did you get involved in reporting on sexuality and gender issues?
I had a fairly secluded upbringing. For me and those who may know me, I now make a living reporting on this stuff, which is a surprise to me. I started journalism right out of college and then did a lot of feature writing and profile stuff and talking to people about their very human experiences. Then from there, I moved to New York and started writing about science and space. I’ve really shifted gears over the past six years. I just focus on things like platforms and moderation and how the internet works and how people specifically use it because most of our lives are on the internet right now. There is no real life. What happens on the internet is really our life. The reporting I’ve been doing about sex and sex work and gender has been the most interesting part of my career. That’s why I stick with it.
In the book you talk about a lot of these techniques progress, such as message boards, Further development due to desire for sex and love. What do you think this says about human nature and how we connect?
I think it illustrates how fragile and sweet the way we just want to be seen and known [and] The way we want to define. In these old text-based systems and chat rooms, you can describe how you used to be, and it may be quite different from how you looked in real life. You can play around online and see, you know, who it appeals to and how it makes you feel to embody the other person you want to be online. I think we do that to an extent, just in our interactions in real life. When you’re talking to colleagues or in a professional setting or something like that, nobody really likes, totally, totally yourself; you’re projecting what you want people to see. I think people did this to an extreme degree when the web was first formed. People do it on Twitter now; on Twitter, no one is really who they really are.
I think it shows that people just want to be heard and understood on a very basic level, which is enabled by the internet in a way that we are still grappling with and still dealing with how to get through this technology.
There’s a scene in your book about sexual assault in the chat room. Essentially, players in the virtual room could enter what they were doing, but hackers took over other people’s accounts and made them enter that they were doing graphic actions related to sexual violence. When I read that part, I realized how scary it really is for people who are online in that chat room. Can you talk more about your views on consent in these chat rooms?
This certainly speaks to how people feel about life in a chat room. Like, it’s very much an extension of their real life: that’s their circle of friends, their social circle. I’m not saying it’s the only thing they do. They have lives outside of life, but in that space they live in it in a very real way. In a chat room like this, it’s hard to tell what’s an attack from what’s not. I think we’re still having that conversation in a lot of ways. You can now talk about sexual harassment in VR, like VR headsets and the metaverse. You can take off your headphones, but are you harassed in that situation? So I don’t know, I don’t think there is an easy answer to what is and isn’t considered “bad enough” in such a virtual space. But I think you have to listen to people’s stories, listen to their experiences, how they felt and what it was like to go from there.
When it comes to sex on the internet, what trends do you think will emerge in the next five years or so, for better or worse?
The pessimistic view is that things will only continue to get more sanitized and censored. It’s hard not to look at it that way. Because now the reality is that things have not become more free and welcoming, they have become more hostile. More and more platforms are saying, “We don’t welcome any form of sexuality.” So, I try to resist that view because I don’t think it’s entirely helpful. And I also think we have a say in how it goes; in a way, we’re building this thing. If people are passionate about things, they can change the course of things, so that gives me hope. Things can get better. We just have to talk about it very loudly.
we’ve seen the review, As you mentioned in the book, a long time. You can go back to the erotic novels of the 1700s.What do you think is a straight line between Those pornographic novels and current censorship?
You have to really go back to the Puritans to understand the way sex and any remote sex is censored online. Because it’s a standard, like you said, from these old texts; banned books have always been a thing because books are not biblical books. It comes down to conservative Christianity where the whole movement really becomes the dominant force, saying what is moral and moral and then deciding on behavior and what you can and cannot do in your personal life. I think all of this reflects what we’re seeing right now, which is a big push from conservative right-wing Christian theocracy types who want porn and sex and nudity and everything on every platform on the internet. They are drawing on a long history of examining these kinds of things from all areas of life. The main area of our lives now is the Internet.
You mentioned SESTA and FOSTA (Stop Supporting Sex Traffickers Act and Allow States and Victims to Combat Online Sex Trafficking Act) are very harmful to sex workers. But you also mentioned the 2019 House Intelligence Committee hearing on deepfakes, Fake porn that has been used to make people. What role do you think the government or law enforcement can play in sex-related online issues?
FOSTA/SESTA is designed as a sex trafficking prevention measure. Preventing sex trafficking is a good thing, no one in the sex industry is going to say, “yes, more trafficking” and many people in the industry are victims or survivors of human trafficking. So they are all intertwined. But the bills don’t talk to those people, and they don’t take into account the views of those currently working in the industry. Those people must have made their opinions public. They went to Capitol Hill and lobbied against it; they still lobbied against it, and they still lobbied against it. I think this is the main problem there. So if there is to be any government help, oversight for these industries, it needs to include those people, not just those who want to see it abolished. If you want to stop human trafficking, you should start with housing and income and many other very basic things that are harder to solve than wiping sex workers off the internet.
Like you just did, like you did in the book, you seem to take a position that looks like an activist, do you agree with that classification?
This is the question I think a lot of journalists ask themselves, where is the line between activism and journalism? I think a lot of activism is also journalism. There is no fair news. You see these things happening, you don’t necessarily have to take sides, but you know, you see what’s happening in these communities, and you want to tell the truth. And the truth may not be to one’s liking. So I don’t consider myself a full-time activist, although I think journalism has a lot to do. We all choose which way to frame the story, but you have to decide which is best for the situation. With things like FOSTA/SESTA, it’s clear that the reality of the situation is that people are hurting. That’s not what lawmakers said. That’s not the story they’re going to tell. They said the exact opposite.