Valentines Day – 14.02.2017 // Walk-in: 4.00 PM. Start: 4:30 PM. End: 6:30 PM.
Address: FreedomLab Campus, Plantage Middenlaan 62, 1018 DH Amsterdam.
Reservations to lab@freedomlab.org, (free of entrance). 

Past summer Aaron Chervenak married his phone in a Las Vegas wedding chapel. At the wedding Chevernak stated that his smartphone in a sense has been his longest relationship. It has brought him solace, calms him down and puts him to sleep. Although the state of Nevada has not legally recognized this marriage between man and technology one could ask if technophilia in the future will become a socially acceptable phenomena.

Recent psychological research shows that approximately 21% of the Europeans regard their smartphone as equally important, or more important than their partner. Maybe because the smartphone, thanks to sexting, Tinder and an unlimited access to erotica, is indeed much more exiting than most relationships.

Due to the abundance of possibilities in our current digital society, and the speed and pressure it seems to bring with it, there seems to be less time for real intimacy within relationships. In Japan this has led to a phenomena named ‘Sekkusu seinai shokogun’:the celibacy syndrome. A recent study shows that over 45% of young women between age 16 and 24 “have no interest in” or “despise” real sex. 25 % of Japanese males of the same age state the same. Other figures show that the demand for ‘virtual intimacy’ seems to rise impressively (not only in Japan).

The advent of the smartphone has literally put technology into our pants. And we ain’t seen nothing yet. Several experts expect a big increase in the erotic application of intimate technologies over the coming 15 years. The rise of a sensual combination of social networks, dating apps, interactive 360 ° live video, AI, virtual- & augmented reality, games, tangible interfaces, sensors & actuators, brain-machine interfaces and robots for (re) mediating intimacy might lead to a true, as Marshall McLuhan called it, mechanical bride. This poses interesting fundamental philosophical questions about the future of human relationships and human nature.

On Valentine’s day, Creative Director at FreedomLab Jeroen van Mastrigt will explore these questions in a FreedomLab college talk. Using FreedomLabs research framework and philosophy of change he will investigate the drivers behind the landscape of emerging intimate technologies.

Jeroen van Mastrigt is creative director at FreedomLab and holds an honorary fellowship at HKU University of the Arts Utrecht.

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