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Sex Without Meat: How Singularitarians View Sex at Arse Electronica ’09

R.U. Sirius, Editor in Chief, h+ Magazine I will be among the speakers this week at Arse Electronica 2009, a conference in San Francisco. The theme for 2009 is about "… Of intercourse and intracourse: Sexuality, Genetics, Biotech, Wetware, Body mods." The opening paragraph of the two paragraph statement from Conference organizer Johannes Grenzfurthner is worth quoting in full:"Scottish SF author Iain Banks created a fictitious group-civilisation called ‘Culture’ in his eponymous narrative. The vast majority of humanoid people in the ‘Culture’ are born with greatly altered glands housed within their central nervous systems, who secrete — on command — mood and sensory-appreciation-altering compounds into the person’s bloodstream. Additionally many inhabitants have subtly altered reproductive organs — and control over the associated nerves — to enhance sexual pleasure. Ovulation is at will in the female, and a fetus up to a certain stage may be re-absorbed, aborted, or held at a static point in its development; again, as willed. Also, a viral change from one sex into the other, is possible. And there is a convention that each person should give birth to one child in their lives. It may sound strange, but Banks states that a society in which it is so easy to change sex will rapidly find out if it is treating one gender better than the other. Pressure for change within society would presumably build up until some form of sexual equality and hence numerical parity will be established. Does this set-up sound too futuristic? Too utopian? Too bizarre?"

Annalee NewitzThe event runs from October 1 – October 4. Aside from moi, Annalee Newitz, editor of the only website that makes us jealous, io9, and sex blogger Violet Blue will be there on Saturday, October 3. My talk, "Sex Without Meat: How Singularitarians View Sex" will expand on the article "Sex & The Singularity" from the current issue of h+. Members of the h+ community at Facebook and here have given me great material to work with, so all I’ve got to do is stand and deliver (and quip. I’ve always been a quippie). Should be fun!

Arse Electronica 2009

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