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4146cuHZENL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Strange as it may be to say this, but the film San Andreas made me reflect on the nature of particular service sector professions, and their future, recently. It was typical for its genre. Very little plot or characterization (less than a week out I’m still vague on these aspects), and a lot of CGI. A lot. Dwayne Johnson plays the father of Alexandra Daddario, with Carla Gugino plausibly cast as the mother. In fact, Daddario resembles Gugino enough that you might wonder about the possibility of genomic imprinting. But the real star was the CGI.

Alexandra_Daddario_April_2015 And the effects overwhelmed the acting so much that it made wonder again when actors will become totally dispensable. The “comic book movie” genre is already known for being driven more by special effects and the characters than the actors who play them (with the notable exception of Robert Downey Jr.). Which brings me to porn. Recently a controversial documentary came out, Hot Girls Wanted, about a group of young women living a house and trying to break into the industry (the controversy is not the porn, but rather how the women and the industry were depicted). One event in the film is that one of the actresses quits because of family pressure. It has to be admitted that In relation to porn many men are quite happy for it to be around, but would be aghast if any women in their personal social network participated in the industry. So perhaps CGI the answer to this tension? Once you have CGI good enough to simulate real actors, it would be pretty easy to apply to pornography. And porn has some major downsides which would be obviated by CGI “performers.”

But it wouldn’t be so easy, and that is because demand for flesh & blood performers will always be there. In How Pleasure Works Paul Bloom teases out the implications of the latest cognitive psychology in this domain, making extensive recourse to concepts such as “aliefs.” The easiest way for me to illustrate what an alief is is to give an example. Imagine that you see someone use the raw ingredients of fudge brownies to construct the simulacrum of feces. You know for a fact that the faux-feces are not feces, and in fact are delicious fudge brownies…which happen to look like feces. Your beliefs about this are informed by copious facts at hand. But many individuals would nevertheless exhibit difficulty and aversion in consuming these faux-feces. Deep in your bones are concepts and ideas about entities which inform how you react to them. In simple “objective” hedonic units of sensory qualia a $200 dollar wine may not be superior to a $10 wine, but the knowledge that the $200 wine is expensive, rare, and from France (as opposed to California or Australia for the $10 wine), can actually impact how you experience the taste.

414IU4oOQnL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Paul Bloom asserts that we are all born essentialists (see Descartes’ Baby). And this fact about human nature is probably why we pay so much for “artisanal.” Artisanal isn’t necessarily better in a reductionist sense that Jeremy Bentham would recognize. But people appreciate the products better because of their history of production, and who made them. In short, a service isn’t just about what, it’s about who. Which brings me back to porn. At some point in the very near future software will get good enough to mass produce pornography where the performers are virtual. Likely these performers will be produced “on the fly” by consumer preferences (e.g., there almost certainly is someone out there who prefers blonde Asian females with small breasts and large buttocks). In terms of raw dimensions, and flawlessness of skin, they will blow real actresses out of the water. But one of the appeals of “amateur porn” for many consumers is who the performers are. That means there will be a demand for “real” porn by “real” women. Artisanally produced porn, not the faceless (in a metaphorical sense) output from a well tuned algorithm. Of course the CGI can simulate the more rough and natural “artisinal” look, so there will be authenticating agencies or firms so that consumers know that these girls are actually “real amateurs.”

This line of argument could apply to many service sector activities. In the near to medium term future it seems plausible that the bottom 90% of the population will be employed in occupations which serve the demand of the top 10% for “authentic” human servility and handcrafts.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Porn 
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  1. jb says:

    I found myself rather annoyed by the use of CGI in the Walk of Shame in the season finale of Game of Thrones. I know the scene wasn’t meant to be erotic, but still, I didn’t want to see Lena Headey’s face superimposed on the body of some random actress, I wanted to see Lena Headey herself (even though the random actress probably had a better body).

    I have pretty much the same reaction to more conventional body doubles — if they have to use one, I’d just as soon they omit the scene entirely. At least for me, much of the impact of sex and nudity on screen has to do with it being real, so the idea of CGI porn doesn’t do much for me.

  2. Yeah, the psychological need for “reality” will almost certainly keep organic porn performers around.Indeed, the same logic applies to sex-bots and “real dolls.” Regardless of how real they seem, many consumers will feel a need for the real thing, actual people.Hence, human prostitutes don’t really have to worry about artificial competition.

    RE: San Andreas,

    Some interesting HBD-sociological aspects to the film:

    Age appropriate love interest:

    Carla Gugino ( born August 29, 1971)

    Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972)

    Lots of feminists have been complaining about how Hollywood routinely pairs up older men with younger women*.The Gugino-Johnson onscreen pairing, though, marks an interesting departure.On the other hand, casting Daddario (born March 16, 1986) as their daughter does pose certain chronological difficulties….

    Parents looking like their kids:

    This is always a problem in film.However, as you note, Gugino as Daddario’s mother is excellent casting in terms of physical plausibility.I am, though, curious about Johnson as the father.Johnson is from a mixed racial background. His mother is Samoan and his father is, based on photos**, a mixture of European and Sub-Saharan African.It is, of course, possible that a hypothetical child produced by the coupling of Gugino and Johnson could look as West Eurasian/Caucasoid as Daddario, but it would be rather counter-intuitive in terms of social expectations.

    *http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/06/02/emma_stone_jennifer_lawrence_and_scarlett_johansson_have_an_older_man_problem.html

    **https://www.google.com/search?q=rocky+johnson&biw=1372&bih=839&tbm=isch&source=lnms&sa=X&ei=0wCIVcgl0bTIBNDLmpAM&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&dpr=1

    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "It is, of course, possible that a hypothetical child produced by the coupling of Gugino and Johnson could look as West Eurasian/Caucasoid as Daddario, but it would be rather counter-intuitive in terms of social expectations."

    It is very believable that a light skin Black man like Dwayne Johnson can produce a White looking child like with a White woman. Now if The Rock looked like Wesley Snipes, than I would have a extremely hard time believing he could produce a White looking child no matter how Nordic blond the mother would be.

    Didn't Razib Khan say he has a White looking child? And he is even darker than Dwayne Johnson.
  3. I think CGI porn is far from having success because of the Uncanny Valley and because of high cost. The amount of amateur porn and nude photos that have become common in the last few years point to a great number of exhibitionists that are willing to make porn for little or no money while quality CGI remains difficult to make and expensive enough that even high production value GoT had recently problems with it.

    • Replies: @ohwilleke
    I agree. The predominant form of CGI porn now is Hentai which is successful in large part because it avoids the Uncanny Valley by deliberately not trying to be too realistic.

    To escape the Uncanny Valley, the CGI has to be basically perfect, which is particularly expensive relative to the real thing, which is quite cheap, especially as the cost of high quality video cameras has fallen from ca. $100,000 each in the 1990s to more like $5,000 for a comparable quality camera today. Increased tolerance for what would once have been considered far more taboo participation in the sex trade as a porn actor/actress, and increased competition due to the Internet, drive down two of the main costs of producing porn dramatically. The total production cost for a short porn film of sufficient quality to be marketable is probably something on the order of the low five figures to the low four figures.

    In contrast, CGI has not gotten cheaper to the same extent in the same time frame. The job market for CGI professionals has boomed and the labor market is struggling to keep up with adequately skilled people, so jobs like CGI porn artist that don't look good on your resume have to pay particularly high rates. Top of the drawer CGI segments in feature films cost as much as $1,000,000 per minute, and one probably has to spend at least $100,000 per minute to cross the Uncanny Valley barrier with CGI. Per minute, high quality CGI porn probably costs 100 times as much as comparable quality conventional porn to make.

    The one area where the cost-benefit analysis is different is child pornography. Laws banning child pornography were mostly passed because its production by definition includes child rape. Many child pornography statutes are written in a way that a CGI depiction that can be proven to not involve actual children are legal, rather than subject to stiff criminal penalties (although some statutes have sought to ban both since the imitation feeds the market for the real thing and makes enforcement more complex). In this area, people whose pornography tastes are pedophillic may prefer documented CGI porn since it doesn't expose them to incarceration and might be willing to pay the premium price and ignore Uncanny Valley vibes in order to have a safe alternative way to indulge their forbidden tastes. Some legal opinions reviewing child pornography convictions suggest that this issue is already more than mere conjecture.
  4. “Imagine that you see someone use the raw ingredients of fudge brownies to construct the simulacrum of feces. You know for a fact that the faux-feces are not feces, and in fact are delicious fudge brownies…which happen to look like feces.”

    Damn, that would have made a great frat house prank when I was in college. The closest we ever got was the pledges lacing some brownies with Ex-Lax as a prank, and then enocuraging the memebrs of the house they did not like to dig in.

  5. Part of the fun of sex and eroticism is the beauty of fantasy but another part is the feeling/illusion that you’re actually getting to know someone. Hard to imagine CGI artists being able to create onscreen creatures who are as piquant as real people can be. Though, come to think of it, dramatists have written great characters with intriguing hidden personality-pockets, so why shouldn’t CGI artists be able to equal those creations?

    Hey, another fun part of erotic experience is something that seldom gets mentioned today, which is the *contrast* between the fantasy factor and reality. Personally I find Photoshopped perfection incredibly anti-erotic — skin without pores, flawlessness generally. It’s plastic, it’s vinyl and it’s about as alluring to me as contemplating an air mattress. What’s hot is when the fantasies get set off AND the reality (sweat, pubic hair, smoothness and curves but also pores, bulges and creases) is also present. Mixed up right, fantasy and reality can swirl around each other and heighten the general hotness of the moment ‘way beyond what pure fantasy can do, IMHO.

    Tip of the hat to Razib for Best Sentence (OK, Semi-Sentence) Du Jour: “Which brings me to porn.”

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Personally I find Photoshopped perfection incredibly anti-erotic — skin without pores, flawlessness generally.
     
    That's another good point,flaws and imperfections as a source of erotic attraction. I was watching Joe Dante's The Howling (1981) a few days ago as part of a planned werewolf film festival (current plan for the film list: Werewolf of London, the 1941 Wolfman, The Curse of the Werewolf, The Howling, An American Werewolf in London).Now The Howling is not a porn film (although it does offer a few minutes of werewolf-on-werewolf sex....), but I was struck by the erotic appeal of the film's late '70s-early '80s aesthetic.The film's female stars (Belinda Balaski, Dee Wallace, Elisabeth Brooks) are all gloriously real looking.Balaski, in particular, just exudes the kind of naturalistic sex-appeal that cinema has pretty much discarded these days.
  6. @Paleo Retiree
    Part of the fun of sex and eroticism is the beauty of fantasy but another part is the feeling/illusion that you're actually getting to know someone. Hard to imagine CGI artists being able to create onscreen creatures who are as piquant as real people can be. Though, come to think of it, dramatists have written great characters with intriguing hidden personality-pockets, so why shouldn't CGI artists be able to equal those creations?

    Hey, another fun part of erotic experience is something that seldom gets mentioned today, which is the *contrast* between the fantasy factor and reality. Personally I find Photoshopped perfection incredibly anti-erotic -- skin without pores, flawlessness generally. It's plastic, it's vinyl and it's about as alluring to me as contemplating an air mattress. What's hot is when the fantasies get set off AND the reality (sweat, pubic hair, smoothness and curves but also pores, bulges and creases) is also present. Mixed up right, fantasy and reality can swirl around each other and heighten the general hotness of the moment 'way beyond what pure fantasy can do, IMHO.

    Tip of the hat to Razib for Best Sentence (OK, Semi-Sentence) Du Jour: "Which brings me to porn."

    Personally I find Photoshopped perfection incredibly anti-erotic — skin without pores, flawlessness generally.

    That’s another good point,flaws and imperfections as a source of erotic attraction. I was watching Joe Dante’s The Howling (1981) a few days ago as part of a planned werewolf film festival (current plan for the film list: Werewolf of London, the 1941 Wolfman, The Curse of the Werewolf, The Howling, An American Werewolf in London).Now The Howling is not a porn film (although it does offer a few minutes of werewolf-on-werewolf sex….), but I was struck by the erotic appeal of the film’s late ’70s-early ’80s aesthetic.The film’s female stars (Belinda Balaski, Dee Wallace, Elisabeth Brooks) are all gloriously real looking.Balaski, in particular, just exudes the kind of naturalistic sex-appeal that cinema has pretty much discarded these days.

  7. In the near to medium term future it seems plausible that the bottom 90% of the population will be employed in occupations which serve the demand of the top 10% for “authentic” human servility and handcrafts.

    But what fraction of that 10% are not afflicted with the “authenticity” meme?

  8. I suspect CGI porn will become the majority of porn about a hundred years from now. CGI is always getting better, and I expect its real costs to decline.

  9. Rare that I have a contribution to make here, but this:

    “(e.g., there almost certainly is someone out there who prefers blonde Asian females with small breasts and large buttocks). ”

    reminds me of the 1990s sitcom “Wings”. Two brothers running a small Nantucket airline. Responsible one who owns the business, washed up astronaut one who now flies for him and is more or less interest in nothing but women.

    Latter brother walks into the office and says, “I just met my dreamgirl!”

    Responsible brother deadpans, “You found a six-foot tall, red-haired Oriental woman?”

    So, yes, there will be a market for everything. Then again, the CGI sector may find competition in the robotics industry and increasingly effective or perhaps reversible cosmetic body and hair modification. There may be a gap period in which CGI dominates, but one never knows.

  10. A bit disturbing, but it does shed some light:
    Over a decade ago, there was a big stink about CGI pedophile porn. The pedos argued that it wasn’t real, and therefore was harmless. The counter was that it encouraged interest in the real thing. CGI at the time was rudimentary at best, but apparently the pedos were consuming it voraciously. Being that the real thing was dangerous to obtain (one would hope), the artificial stuff was a hot commodity. But I just don’t ever see that being the case for real adult porn.
    _______

    RE: the beauty of imperfections
    When I was young, those slim, flawless, airbrushed beauties seemed like goddesses. But now I’m over fifty and I want to see some dimples on that fat ass. Porn is meant to augment fantasy, and it’s more effective when it more closely resembles what you know reality to be like.

    • Replies: @Anthony
    Porn is meant to augment fantasy, and it’s more effective when it more closely resembles what you know reality to be like.

    I think there's also some need for plausibility. People watching porn want to be able to imagine that if their life had been a little different that they could be having sex with the performer. A really perfect body would be out of even most people's fantasies' reach.

    On the other hand, porn producers know this, and it won't take much more for CGI porn of not-quite-perfect bodies to be available. The studios could even make "personalities" for their various simulacra; the only people who would be terribly disappointed would be the customers who go to the AVN Awards to meet their favorite performers. The real question is whether it will ever be cheaper than hiring real exhibitionists.
    , @Anonymous

    RE: the beauty of imperfections
    When I was young, those slim, flawless, airbrushed beauties seemed like goddesses. But now I’m over fifty and I want to see some dimples on that fat ass. Porn is meant to augment fantasy, and it’s more effective when it more closely resembles what you know reality to be like.
     
    Yeah, me too. Weird how that works. I'm a married male in my 40's and rarely find women under 40 appealing/attractive. I desire the real woman and she seems to get older as I do (NB: just looking, never cheated or come close to doing so). Then I think there's something wrong with me because I see all the politicians, celebrities, rich guys with young women. Not sure how to square it.
  11. they will blow real actresses out of the water.

    Nothing sucks like an electrolux.

    I don’t know about cgi ever dominating the market. If it is cheaper to pay for cement mixing by hand on site then delivering ready mixed is not going to be become very common. When porn started in the 70’s any woman under 40 willing to do it on camera could get work. Now there are a lot more willing young and fairly attractive girls available, but they don’t make money until they have a following.

    The girls have to build a fan base before they can make real money. The actually going rates very massively depending on the performers popularity, Stoya recently wrote about how she asked for and got 10 times more than the going rate for a name performer for doing a scene. How the girls become popular has to do with looks, but their authenticity (for want of a better word) is a big part of it too.

  12. Affordable, believable consumer VR headsets by the two biggest players in the (nascent) VR industry are set to be launched Q4 2015 and Q1 2016 with costs below $500, assuming you already own a decent PC.

    The popularization of these devices is going to change porn in a big way.

    Right now there is VR porn with real actresses which is basically a 3d spherical video. You can look any direction you like, and see depth, but can’t move your perspective.

    With a CGI render you can move your perspective, not to mention dictate the action, not to mention whatever haptic feedback will be available to contribute sensation.

    I foresee CGI being the way of the future, mostly because it’s easy to make a render of everything occurring in a room while capturing it all on video is impossible or at least difficult. There will be licensed renders of pornstars likenesses, with motion capture etc.

  13. @syonredux
    Yeah, the psychological need for "reality" will almost certainly keep organic porn performers around.Indeed, the same logic applies to sex-bots and "real dolls." Regardless of how real they seem, many consumers will feel a need for the real thing, actual people.Hence, human prostitutes don't really have to worry about artificial competition.

    RE: San Andreas,

    Some interesting HBD-sociological aspects to the film:

    Age appropriate love interest:

    Carla Gugino ( born August 29, 1971)

    Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972)

    Lots of feminists have been complaining about how Hollywood routinely pairs up older men with younger women*.The Gugino-Johnson onscreen pairing, though, marks an interesting departure.On the other hand, casting Daddario (born March 16, 1986) as their daughter does pose certain chronological difficulties....


    Parents looking like their kids:

    This is always a problem in film.However, as you note, Gugino as Daddario's mother is excellent casting in terms of physical plausibility.I am, though, curious about Johnson as the father.Johnson is from a mixed racial background. His mother is Samoan and his father is, based on photos**, a mixture of European and Sub-Saharan African.It is, of course, possible that a hypothetical child produced by the coupling of Gugino and Johnson could look as West Eurasian/Caucasoid as Daddario, but it would be rather counter-intuitive in terms of social expectations.




    *http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/06/02/emma_stone_jennifer_lawrence_and_scarlett_johansson_have_an_older_man_problem.html


    **https://www.google.com/search?q=rocky+johnson&biw=1372&bih=839&tbm=isch&source=lnms&sa=X&ei=0wCIVcgl0bTIBNDLmpAM&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&dpr=1

    “It is, of course, possible that a hypothetical child produced by the coupling of Gugino and Johnson could look as West Eurasian/Caucasoid as Daddario, but it would be rather counter-intuitive in terms of social expectations.”

    It is very believable that a light skin Black man like Dwayne Johnson can produce a White looking child like with a White woman. Now if The Rock looked like Wesley Snipes, than I would have a extremely hard time believing he could produce a White looking child no matter how Nordic blond the mother would be.

    Didn’t Razib Khan say he has a White looking child? And he is even darker than Dwayne Johnson.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    It is very believable that a light skin Black man like Dwayne Johnson
     
    Johnson's ancestry:

    Mother: Samoan

    Father: mixture of Sub-Saharan African and European (since his father is from Nova Scotia, I'm guessing that the Euro ancestry comes from the Northwest)

    Physically, Johnson looks more Samoan/Polynesian than anything else, which made his Scorpion King role a bit odd.How many Polynesians were wandering around North Africa and West Asia circa 3,000 BC? Of course, that series did feature Kelly Hu as an ancient Greek named Cassandra, so one assumes that historical plausibility wasn't a key concern.

    can produce a White looking child like with a White woman. Now if The Rock looked like Wesley Snipes, than I would have a extremely hard time believing he could produce a White looking child no matter how Nordic blond the mother would be.
     
    There's more to racial typology than just coloration.There's also facial morphology, hair type, etc.So, even if Snipes had a kid who was within the European complexion range, the facial features/hair type could still be SSA.

    Didn’t Razib Khan say he has a White looking child? And he is even darker than Dwayne Johnson.
     
    I think that you are focusing a little too much on complexion.As I noted above, that's not all there is to racial typology.

    Anyway, as I noted in my earlier posting, it's not impossible that Gugino and Johnson could produce a child that looks like Daddario.It simply goes against common perceptions/ folk wisdom.Of course, folk wisdom (which thinks in terms of melding and blending) is quite wrong when it comes to genetics, so maybe the film-makers were striking a blow for science.
  14. I do not believe CGI porn will ever become common or the norm because it simply is not real. How many guys do you know watch cartoon porn? Plus, there is just a desire among some people to do porn. Like someone above said, go online and you can find countless websites where women post nude photos or couples share video or pics of themselves in the act. All for no more payment then other web posters compliments or the thrill of being seen.

  15. In terms of raw dimensions, and flawlessness of skin, they will blow real actresses out of the water.

    I read somewhere (can’t recall now) that, while we human beings find symmetry on people attractive, we apparently find perfect (computer generated) symmetry disturbing and off-putting. I guess we have some sort of an inborn “authenticity meter” that allows us to appreciate slight imperfection as genuine beauty and finds perfection on a human face and body repellent or at least artificial.

  16. @Jefferson
    "It is, of course, possible that a hypothetical child produced by the coupling of Gugino and Johnson could look as West Eurasian/Caucasoid as Daddario, but it would be rather counter-intuitive in terms of social expectations."

    It is very believable that a light skin Black man like Dwayne Johnson can produce a White looking child like with a White woman. Now if The Rock looked like Wesley Snipes, than I would have a extremely hard time believing he could produce a White looking child no matter how Nordic blond the mother would be.

    Didn't Razib Khan say he has a White looking child? And he is even darker than Dwayne Johnson.

    It is very believable that a light skin Black man like Dwayne Johnson

    Johnson’s ancestry:

    Mother: Samoan

    Father: mixture of Sub-Saharan African and European (since his father is from Nova Scotia, I’m guessing that the Euro ancestry comes from the Northwest)

    Physically, Johnson looks more Samoan/Polynesian than anything else, which made his Scorpion King role a bit odd.How many Polynesians were wandering around North Africa and West Asia circa 3,000 BC? Of course, that series did feature Kelly Hu as an ancient Greek named Cassandra, so one assumes that historical plausibility wasn’t a key concern.

    can produce a White looking child like with a White woman. Now if The Rock looked like Wesley Snipes, than I would have a extremely hard time believing he could produce a White looking child no matter how Nordic blond the mother would be.

    There’s more to racial typology than just coloration.There’s also facial morphology, hair type, etc.So, even if Snipes had a kid who was within the European complexion range, the facial features/hair type could still be SSA.

    Didn’t Razib Khan say he has a White looking child? And he is even darker than Dwayne Johnson.

    I think that you are focusing a little too much on complexion.As I noted above, that’s not all there is to racial typology.

    Anyway, as I noted in my earlier posting, it’s not impossible that Gugino and Johnson could produce a child that looks like Daddario.It simply goes against common perceptions/ folk wisdom.Of course, folk wisdom (which thinks in terms of melding and blending) is quite wrong when it comes to genetics, so maybe the film-makers were striking a blow for science.

    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "Anyway, as I noted in my earlier posting, it’s not impossible that Gugino and Johnson could produce a child that looks like Daddario.It simply goes against common perceptions/ folk wisdom.Of course, folk wisdom (which thinks in terms of melding and blending) is quite wrong when it comes to genetics, so maybe the film-makers were striking a blow for science."

    Folk wisdom also says that people who look like Eartha Kitt can only produce Black looking off springs. Yet Eartha Kitt was able to produce a White looking daughter, and the African ancestry in Eartha Kitt's phenotype is even more visible than it is in Dwayne Johnson who looks like he came straight out of Hawaii or Tonga.

    , @Jefferson
    "Physically, Johnson looks more Samoan/Polynesian than anything else, which made his Scorpion King role a bit odd.How many Polynesians were wandering around North Africa and West Asia circa 3,000 BC? Of course, that series did feature Kelly Hu as an ancient Greek named Cassandra, so one assumes that historical plausibility wasn’t a key concern."

    Casting Kelly Hu as Greek was very strange indeed, because Greece is not like Iceland where you have Bjork types who look Asian. All Greek people have big round Caucasoid eyes.

    In The Rundown they cast a Filipino guy named Ernie Reyes to play a Brazilian Amerindian from the Amazon, but that makes more sense because a lot of Brazilian Amerindians have smaller almond shaped Mongoloid eyes.
  17. @syonredux

    It is very believable that a light skin Black man like Dwayne Johnson
     
    Johnson's ancestry:

    Mother: Samoan

    Father: mixture of Sub-Saharan African and European (since his father is from Nova Scotia, I'm guessing that the Euro ancestry comes from the Northwest)

    Physically, Johnson looks more Samoan/Polynesian than anything else, which made his Scorpion King role a bit odd.How many Polynesians were wandering around North Africa and West Asia circa 3,000 BC? Of course, that series did feature Kelly Hu as an ancient Greek named Cassandra, so one assumes that historical plausibility wasn't a key concern.

    can produce a White looking child like with a White woman. Now if The Rock looked like Wesley Snipes, than I would have a extremely hard time believing he could produce a White looking child no matter how Nordic blond the mother would be.
     
    There's more to racial typology than just coloration.There's also facial morphology, hair type, etc.So, even if Snipes had a kid who was within the European complexion range, the facial features/hair type could still be SSA.

    Didn’t Razib Khan say he has a White looking child? And he is even darker than Dwayne Johnson.
     
    I think that you are focusing a little too much on complexion.As I noted above, that's not all there is to racial typology.

    Anyway, as I noted in my earlier posting, it's not impossible that Gugino and Johnson could produce a child that looks like Daddario.It simply goes against common perceptions/ folk wisdom.Of course, folk wisdom (which thinks in terms of melding and blending) is quite wrong when it comes to genetics, so maybe the film-makers were striking a blow for science.

    “Anyway, as I noted in my earlier posting, it’s not impossible that Gugino and Johnson could produce a child that looks like Daddario.It simply goes against common perceptions/ folk wisdom.Of course, folk wisdom (which thinks in terms of melding and blending) is quite wrong when it comes to genetics, so maybe the film-makers were striking a blow for science.”

    Folk wisdom also says that people who look like Eartha Kitt can only produce Black looking off springs. Yet Eartha Kitt was able to produce a White looking daughter, and the African ancestry in Eartha Kitt’s phenotype is even more visible than it is in Dwayne Johnson who looks like he came straight out of Hawaii or Tonga.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    That's why I'm mocking folk-wisdom when it comes to genetics.Sometimes our intuitive understanding is wrong.
  18. @syonredux

    It is very believable that a light skin Black man like Dwayne Johnson
     
    Johnson's ancestry:

    Mother: Samoan

    Father: mixture of Sub-Saharan African and European (since his father is from Nova Scotia, I'm guessing that the Euro ancestry comes from the Northwest)

    Physically, Johnson looks more Samoan/Polynesian than anything else, which made his Scorpion King role a bit odd.How many Polynesians were wandering around North Africa and West Asia circa 3,000 BC? Of course, that series did feature Kelly Hu as an ancient Greek named Cassandra, so one assumes that historical plausibility wasn't a key concern.

    can produce a White looking child like with a White woman. Now if The Rock looked like Wesley Snipes, than I would have a extremely hard time believing he could produce a White looking child no matter how Nordic blond the mother would be.
     
    There's more to racial typology than just coloration.There's also facial morphology, hair type, etc.So, even if Snipes had a kid who was within the European complexion range, the facial features/hair type could still be SSA.

    Didn’t Razib Khan say he has a White looking child? And he is even darker than Dwayne Johnson.
     
    I think that you are focusing a little too much on complexion.As I noted above, that's not all there is to racial typology.

    Anyway, as I noted in my earlier posting, it's not impossible that Gugino and Johnson could produce a child that looks like Daddario.It simply goes against common perceptions/ folk wisdom.Of course, folk wisdom (which thinks in terms of melding and blending) is quite wrong when it comes to genetics, so maybe the film-makers were striking a blow for science.

    “Physically, Johnson looks more Samoan/Polynesian than anything else, which made his Scorpion King role a bit odd.How many Polynesians were wandering around North Africa and West Asia circa 3,000 BC? Of course, that series did feature Kelly Hu as an ancient Greek named Cassandra, so one assumes that historical plausibility wasn’t a key concern.”

    Casting Kelly Hu as Greek was very strange indeed, because Greece is not like Iceland where you have Bjork types who look Asian. All Greek people have big round Caucasoid eyes.

    In The Rundown they cast a Filipino guy named Ernie Reyes to play a Brazilian Amerindian from the Amazon, but that makes more sense because a lot of Brazilian Amerindians have smaller almond shaped Mongoloid eyes.

    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    *the scorpion king* was fantasy ;-)
  19. In the near to medium term future it seems plausible that the bottom 90% of the population will be employed in occupations which serve the demand of the top 10% for “authentic” human servility and handcrafts.

    That is very likely to happen, and there will be a lot of people for whom only various forms of prostitution will make them marketable at a good rate of pay.

    But I think the real money in porn will always lie in product with an attractive actual human female, professionally make up,who is filmed at the most flattering angles doing scenes with a reasonable simulation of sincerity, and her own little quirks (like Sunny Leone apparently for her own reasons reminding the guy ‘squeeze my hips’). Although after they retire the story often changes quite a bit, while still active in porn the women always say in interviews that they sometimes climax doing scenes. You can always kid yourself that you saw something genuine in the performance, and buy that star’s titles again. No matter how perfect the CGI knowing there was no-one there would make it lose that major aspect of the appeal, and make it pall very quickly.

  20. Artisanally produced porn.

    Hey all you Brooklyn hipsters: have we got a niche business opportunity for you!

  21. @Ozymandias
    A bit disturbing, but it does shed some light:
    Over a decade ago, there was a big stink about CGI pedophile porn. The pedos argued that it wasn't real, and therefore was harmless. The counter was that it encouraged interest in the real thing. CGI at the time was rudimentary at best, but apparently the pedos were consuming it voraciously. Being that the real thing was dangerous to obtain (one would hope), the artificial stuff was a hot commodity. But I just don't ever see that being the case for real adult porn.
    _______

    RE: the beauty of imperfections
    When I was young, those slim, flawless, airbrushed beauties seemed like goddesses. But now I'm over fifty and I want to see some dimples on that fat ass. Porn is meant to augment fantasy, and it's more effective when it more closely resembles what you know reality to be like.

    Porn is meant to augment fantasy, and it’s more effective when it more closely resembles what you know reality to be like.

    I think there’s also some need for plausibility. People watching porn want to be able to imagine that if their life had been a little different that they could be having sex with the performer. A really perfect body would be out of even most people’s fantasies’ reach.

    On the other hand, porn producers know this, and it won’t take much more for CGI porn of not-quite-perfect bodies to be available. The studios could even make “personalities” for their various simulacra; the only people who would be terribly disappointed would be the customers who go to the AVN Awards to meet their favorite performers. The real question is whether it will ever be cheaper than hiring real exhibitionists.

  22. @Jefferson
    "Anyway, as I noted in my earlier posting, it’s not impossible that Gugino and Johnson could produce a child that looks like Daddario.It simply goes against common perceptions/ folk wisdom.Of course, folk wisdom (which thinks in terms of melding and blending) is quite wrong when it comes to genetics, so maybe the film-makers were striking a blow for science."

    Folk wisdom also says that people who look like Eartha Kitt can only produce Black looking off springs. Yet Eartha Kitt was able to produce a White looking daughter, and the African ancestry in Eartha Kitt's phenotype is even more visible than it is in Dwayne Johnson who looks like he came straight out of Hawaii or Tonga.

    That’s why I’m mocking folk-wisdom when it comes to genetics.Sometimes our intuitive understanding is wrong.

    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "That’s why I’m mocking folk-wisdom when it comes to genetics.Sometimes our intuitive understanding is wrong."

    Although this is not as obviously noticeable as Nonwhite people being cast to play the parent of a White off spring but when Hollywood makes a television show or a film that features a White family, sometimes they will cast two light eyed people to play the parents of a brown eyed child. Examples of this include Boy Meets World and Boyhood just to name a few.
  23. @syonredux
    That's why I'm mocking folk-wisdom when it comes to genetics.Sometimes our intuitive understanding is wrong.

    “That’s why I’m mocking folk-wisdom when it comes to genetics.Sometimes our intuitive understanding is wrong.”

    Although this is not as obviously noticeable as Nonwhite people being cast to play the parent of a White off spring but when Hollywood makes a television show or a film that features a White family, sometimes they will cast two light eyed people to play the parents of a brown eyed child. Examples of this include Boy Meets World and Boyhood just to name a few.

  24. @Jefferson
    "Physically, Johnson looks more Samoan/Polynesian than anything else, which made his Scorpion King role a bit odd.How many Polynesians were wandering around North Africa and West Asia circa 3,000 BC? Of course, that series did feature Kelly Hu as an ancient Greek named Cassandra, so one assumes that historical plausibility wasn’t a key concern."

    Casting Kelly Hu as Greek was very strange indeed, because Greece is not like Iceland where you have Bjork types who look Asian. All Greek people have big round Caucasoid eyes.

    In The Rundown they cast a Filipino guy named Ernie Reyes to play a Brazilian Amerindian from the Amazon, but that makes more sense because a lot of Brazilian Amerindians have smaller almond shaped Mongoloid eyes.

    *the scorpion king* was fantasy 😉

  25. Referring to them as “actresses” implies they have some talent in the art of stagecraft, which they don’t. The term “porn star” would be more appropiate because a “star” is merely one who is well known.

    • Replies: @Karl
    >> The term “porn star” would be more appropiate because a “star” is merely one who is well known



    Almost none of them last more than a few months. A very large percentage only do 1-2 scenes.


    Becoming a porn performer is a good way for a female to experience what men grow up with - we are (in society's eyes) disposable.


    PS: actors/actresses need "stagecraft" the way that boy bands need musicianship - they don't. Studio Post-Production is what makes it happen. Not for nothing did Alfred Hitchcock say: "actresses are cattle".
  26. Hm, I disagree in some ways; sex isn’t an undifferentiated product. Yes, CGI porn will never fully eliminate the demand for authenticity. There’ll be cachet for more biological experiences; they’ll command a higher price, and bestow some status, like porn never will. Still, I think male desire is pretty easy to service—don’t underestimate the potential for complete immersiveness, in something like the Oculus Rift, to combine with innovations in materials technology to give something really tactile (heh). How many men will find virtual sex with a parade of beautiful women better than going steady with their average one?
    How it will drive the dynamics of the sexual marketplace will be very interesting. Those literate know men and women have big gender differences on the suitability of porn; women more often inveigh against it, probably because they are equipped with an innate psychology to monitor competition. As the new porn becomes ever better competition for men’s attention, it will lower the price for sexual acts—not really different from previously, with ever-wider circulating media having driven it down for oral and anal sex. Something to note is that even if CGI porn satisfies only the most marginal men, the quality of the sexual service bundle—bigger, better, more adventurous—that the average man will be able to demand should increase. I wonder how that will play out socially—one of the most interesting things I read recently was this, where J. Marczyk details a study on moral confounding. The experimental condition was subjecting participants to information portraying prostitution as more safe than the control condition received; while men went in the expected direction you might think, increasing their support, women went opposite—they became more opposed to safe prostitution. As harm-based arguments don’t really holdup now, I predict we’ll see further innovations on the morals front (“the culture of pornography devaluing women”, despite their making 4x male income in it).

  27. @Pseudonymic Handle
    I think CGI porn is far from having success because of the Uncanny Valley and because of high cost. The amount of amateur porn and nude photos that have become common in the last few years point to a great number of exhibitionists that are willing to make porn for little or no money while quality CGI remains difficult to make and expensive enough that even high production value GoT had recently problems with it.

    I agree. The predominant form of CGI porn now is Hentai which is successful in large part because it avoids the Uncanny Valley by deliberately not trying to be too realistic.

    To escape the Uncanny Valley, the CGI has to be basically perfect, which is particularly expensive relative to the real thing, which is quite cheap, especially as the cost of high quality video cameras has fallen from ca. $100,000 each in the 1990s to more like $5,000 for a comparable quality camera today. Increased tolerance for what would once have been considered far more taboo participation in the sex trade as a porn actor/actress, and increased competition due to the Internet, drive down two of the main costs of producing porn dramatically. The total production cost for a short porn film of sufficient quality to be marketable is probably something on the order of the low five figures to the low four figures.

    In contrast, CGI has not gotten cheaper to the same extent in the same time frame. The job market for CGI professionals has boomed and the labor market is struggling to keep up with adequately skilled people, so jobs like CGI porn artist that don’t look good on your resume have to pay particularly high rates. Top of the drawer CGI segments in feature films cost as much as $1,000,000 per minute, and one probably has to spend at least $100,000 per minute to cross the Uncanny Valley barrier with CGI. Per minute, high quality CGI porn probably costs 100 times as much as comparable quality conventional porn to make.

    The one area where the cost-benefit analysis is different is child pornography. Laws banning child pornography were mostly passed because its production by definition includes child rape. Many child pornography statutes are written in a way that a CGI depiction that can be proven to not involve actual children are legal, rather than subject to stiff criminal penalties (although some statutes have sought to ban both since the imitation feeds the market for the real thing and makes enforcement more complex). In this area, people whose pornography tastes are pedophillic may prefer documented CGI porn since it doesn’t expose them to incarceration and might be willing to pay the premium price and ignore Uncanny Valley vibes in order to have a safe alternative way to indulge their forbidden tastes. Some legal opinions reviewing child pornography convictions suggest that this issue is already more than mere conjecture.

    • Replies: @Sean
    Wrong, image simulation of all that stuff is totally illegal, the laws are enforced throughout the western world and at the very least anyone caught with it can expect is to be outed as a danger to children and put on a sex offender's register.
  28. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Ozymandias
    A bit disturbing, but it does shed some light:
    Over a decade ago, there was a big stink about CGI pedophile porn. The pedos argued that it wasn't real, and therefore was harmless. The counter was that it encouraged interest in the real thing. CGI at the time was rudimentary at best, but apparently the pedos were consuming it voraciously. Being that the real thing was dangerous to obtain (one would hope), the artificial stuff was a hot commodity. But I just don't ever see that being the case for real adult porn.
    _______

    RE: the beauty of imperfections
    When I was young, those slim, flawless, airbrushed beauties seemed like goddesses. But now I'm over fifty and I want to see some dimples on that fat ass. Porn is meant to augment fantasy, and it's more effective when it more closely resembles what you know reality to be like.

    RE: the beauty of imperfections
    When I was young, those slim, flawless, airbrushed beauties seemed like goddesses. But now I’m over fifty and I want to see some dimples on that fat ass. Porn is meant to augment fantasy, and it’s more effective when it more closely resembles what you know reality to be like.

    Yeah, me too. Weird how that works. I’m a married male in my 40’s and rarely find women under 40 appealing/attractive. I desire the real woman and she seems to get older as I do (NB: just looking, never cheated or come close to doing so). Then I think there’s something wrong with me because I see all the politicians, celebrities, rich guys with young women. Not sure how to square it.

    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "Yeah, me too. Weird how that works. I’m a married male in my 40′s and rarely find women under 40 appealing/attractive. I desire the real woman and she seems to get older as I do (NB: just looking, never cheated or come close to doing so). Then I think there’s something wrong with me because I see all the politicians, celebrities, rich guys with young women. Not sure how to square it."

    Hugh Hefner married a woman who is 60 years younger than he is. He is only romantically interested in women who are young enough to be his granddaughter, because women who could be his daughter are still too old for him.
  29. @ohwilleke
    I agree. The predominant form of CGI porn now is Hentai which is successful in large part because it avoids the Uncanny Valley by deliberately not trying to be too realistic.

    To escape the Uncanny Valley, the CGI has to be basically perfect, which is particularly expensive relative to the real thing, which is quite cheap, especially as the cost of high quality video cameras has fallen from ca. $100,000 each in the 1990s to more like $5,000 for a comparable quality camera today. Increased tolerance for what would once have been considered far more taboo participation in the sex trade as a porn actor/actress, and increased competition due to the Internet, drive down two of the main costs of producing porn dramatically. The total production cost for a short porn film of sufficient quality to be marketable is probably something on the order of the low five figures to the low four figures.

    In contrast, CGI has not gotten cheaper to the same extent in the same time frame. The job market for CGI professionals has boomed and the labor market is struggling to keep up with adequately skilled people, so jobs like CGI porn artist that don't look good on your resume have to pay particularly high rates. Top of the drawer CGI segments in feature films cost as much as $1,000,000 per minute, and one probably has to spend at least $100,000 per minute to cross the Uncanny Valley barrier with CGI. Per minute, high quality CGI porn probably costs 100 times as much as comparable quality conventional porn to make.

    The one area where the cost-benefit analysis is different is child pornography. Laws banning child pornography were mostly passed because its production by definition includes child rape. Many child pornography statutes are written in a way that a CGI depiction that can be proven to not involve actual children are legal, rather than subject to stiff criminal penalties (although some statutes have sought to ban both since the imitation feeds the market for the real thing and makes enforcement more complex). In this area, people whose pornography tastes are pedophillic may prefer documented CGI porn since it doesn't expose them to incarceration and might be willing to pay the premium price and ignore Uncanny Valley vibes in order to have a safe alternative way to indulge their forbidden tastes. Some legal opinions reviewing child pornography convictions suggest that this issue is already more than mere conjecture.

    Wrong, image simulation of all that stuff is totally illegal, the laws are enforced throughout the western world and at the very least anyone caught with it can expect is to be outed as a danger to children and put on a sex offender’s register.

    • Replies: @ohwilleke
    It may be that image simulation is totally illegal now, it isn't an area of the law that I follow very closely. There was certainly a window of time when it wasn't under U.S. law after criminal sanctions for child porn were elevated to ridiculous levels, and the courts were grappling with the issue in the U.S. (I'm certainly not familiar with non-U.S. law on the subject). I certainly wouldn't describe it as something that someone should try at home and risk.

    It is also not an area of law, now at something like a high water mark, that I expect to stay stable. Federal judges are very unhappy with the way that the current law is working out. Sooner or later, somebody is Congress is going to wake up and say that people who passively watch the stuff without making it, should not be incarcerated for terms longer than actual child rapists and mass murderers at immense public expense and waste of private lives, even if their conduct should still involve some kind of criminal sanction or legal supervision.

    Also, cynically speaking, it is pretty hard to make a case for a restitution award to a stimulated image, even if the fines and incarceration sentences remain unchanged.
  30. @Sean
    Wrong, image simulation of all that stuff is totally illegal, the laws are enforced throughout the western world and at the very least anyone caught with it can expect is to be outed as a danger to children and put on a sex offender's register.

    It may be that image simulation is totally illegal now, it isn’t an area of the law that I follow very closely. There was certainly a window of time when it wasn’t under U.S. law after criminal sanctions for child porn were elevated to ridiculous levels, and the courts were grappling with the issue in the U.S. (I’m certainly not familiar with non-U.S. law on the subject). I certainly wouldn’t describe it as something that someone should try at home and risk.

    It is also not an area of law, now at something like a high water mark, that I expect to stay stable. Federal judges are very unhappy with the way that the current law is working out. Sooner or later, somebody is Congress is going to wake up and say that people who passively watch the stuff without making it, should not be incarcerated for terms longer than actual child rapists and mass murderers at immense public expense and waste of private lives, even if their conduct should still involve some kind of criminal sanction or legal supervision.

    Also, cynically speaking, it is pretty hard to make a case for a restitution award to a stimulated image, even if the fines and incarceration sentences remain unchanged.

  31. Yes, the 1% could have robot gladiators – even life-like ones with blood dispensers – but they’ll want actual people and real blood.

  32. But one of the appeals of “amateur porn” for many consumers is who the performers are

    Such as literally the Girl Next Door, or your high school crush? Only CGI can deliver that kind of reality, neatly leapfrogging the but-it-is-not-real objection precisely by getting to the bottom of the appeal of amateur porn.

    Visualize that future, if you will, and you may get an inkling of what will really put the brake on the all-CGI porn future. The law. Do you think a society as dominated by what females want as yours will allow the technology to turn every woman’s Facebook profile picture into 3D interactive live-action porn, no perversion barred? Hell, no.

  33. @Anonymous

    RE: the beauty of imperfections
    When I was young, those slim, flawless, airbrushed beauties seemed like goddesses. But now I’m over fifty and I want to see some dimples on that fat ass. Porn is meant to augment fantasy, and it’s more effective when it more closely resembles what you know reality to be like.
     
    Yeah, me too. Weird how that works. I'm a married male in my 40's and rarely find women under 40 appealing/attractive. I desire the real woman and she seems to get older as I do (NB: just looking, never cheated or come close to doing so). Then I think there's something wrong with me because I see all the politicians, celebrities, rich guys with young women. Not sure how to square it.

    “Yeah, me too. Weird how that works. I’m a married male in my 40′s and rarely find women under 40 appealing/attractive. I desire the real woman and she seems to get older as I do (NB: just looking, never cheated or come close to doing so). Then I think there’s something wrong with me because I see all the politicians, celebrities, rich guys with young women. Not sure how to square it.”

    Hugh Hefner married a woman who is 60 years younger than he is. He is only romantically interested in women who are young enough to be his granddaughter, because women who could be his daughter are still too old for him.

  34. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    On this side, the womb is barren and the marriages cold. There dwell an accursed people, full of pride and lust. There when a young man takes a maiden in marriage, they do not lie together, but each lies with a cunningly fashioned image of the other, made to move and to be warm by devilish arts, for real flesh will not please them, they are so dainty (delicati) in their dreams of lust. Their real children they fabricate by vile arts in a secret place.

    — “That Hideous Strength”, C. S. Lewis (1945)

  35. @Hippopotamusdrome
    Referring to them as "actresses" implies they have some talent in the art of stagecraft, which they don't. The term "porn star" would be more appropiate because a "star" is merely one who is well known.

    >> The term “porn star” would be more appropiate because a “star” is merely one who is well known

    Almost none of them last more than a few months. A very large percentage only do 1-2 scenes.

    Becoming a porn performer is a good way for a female to experience what men grow up with – we are (in society’s eyes) disposable.

    PS: actors/actresses need “stagecraft” the way that boy bands need musicianship – they don’t. Studio Post-Production is what makes it happen. Not for nothing did Alfred Hitchcock say: “actresses are cattle”.

  36. Your final sentence makes a point I’ve been making for years: the future of employment lies in the fact that it’s just unsatisfying to lord it over a robot, no matter how realistic the android. Servility will save us from the servomechanisms!

  37. […] pondering the future of porn, Razib Khan paints a jarring picture of the future economy where automation can do most of what […]

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