Social Technologies Forecasts Future of Love

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10 Forecasts for Cupid

Love's yearnings may be eternal, but how we act on them keeps changing, according to the futurists at the DC-based research and consulting firm Social Technologies. This Valentine's Day, they believe the future promises new ways to connect with that special someone--and suggest lovers are likely to try every technology that comes to hand in this timeless pursuit.

Consider these 10 forecasts for Cupid:

1.    Location-based dating--GPS plus dating services plus mobile phones means love may be just around the corner. Combining services such as the massively popular Adultfriendfinder.com family of sites--which includes channels directed at everyone from seniors to Filipinos--with mobiles will allow users to be alerted when someone who matches their profile is within kissing distance.

2.    The new infidelity--Or is it? When it comes to playing around in virtual worlds, society will work out the rules couple by couple for what constitutes acceptable behavior for a spouse or partner. What kinds of intimacy cross the line? Is it cheating if you develop a crush on a really cute orc in World of Warcraft?

3.    Together apart--For partners who really can't stand separation, new systems will signal what one's beloved is up to and what kind of mood he is in. Maps could update in real time to show changing location. Smart systems could convey emotional states based on the changing color of an orb on your desk or the actions of a robotic pet.

4.    Virtual therapy--Virtual spaces will increasingly be used for therapeutic treatment of people with relationship and sexual issues. They can provide a low-risk zone for patients to work out problems; for instance, people who are uncomfortable with the opposite sex could use online simulations to build their confidence, perhaps in dedicated therapeutic spaces.

5.    Scientific pairings--Relationship matching systems such as those being used by some dating sites will go to the next level: a real, scientific compatibility test between potential mates administered before the courtship even begins. Genetic tests will be applied--and perhaps even more often misapplied--to identify the ideal mate.

6.    Remote intimacy--Telerobotics will enable couples to have moments of intimacy via robots they control from another city, or the far side of the planet.

7.    Love potions--Science will illuminate the reality behind "chemistry," and enable its manipulation. The role of pheromones and even genetics in attraction will be increasingly clear. Someday, an unscrupulous lothario might be able to target his intended with a customized biochemical brew made specifically to attract her.

8.    Pleasure bots--Sex is an inevitable application of robotics. Artificially intelligent personal pleasure devices for women are already on the market. Technological improvements will be added to today's rudimentary sex dolls as fast as affordability allows.

9.    Brain sex--Why not cut out the "middle man"--the body? A lot of sex occurs in the brain, and future neurodevices may make it possible to induce a variety of experiences at will. A whole new level of remote or virtual interactions would be possible.

10.    People will be people--Many people will ignore the previous nine developments and keep doing things just has we've done them for that last 100,000 years or so. With nearly 7 billion of us, and counting, the system seems to be working pretty well.

Learn more
To talk to one of our analysts about the future of love--and other business / technology / consumer trends--contact Hope Gibbs, Social Technologies' Leader of Corporate Communications: hope.gibbs @ socialtechnologies.com.

About Social Technologies
Social Technologies is a global research and consulting firm specializing in the integration of foresight, strategy, and innovation. With offices in Washington DC, London, and Shanghai, Social Technologies serves the world's leading companies, government agencies, and nonprofits. A holistic, long-term perspective combined with actionable business solutions helps clients mitigate risk, make the most of opportunities, and enrich decision-making. For information visit http://www.socialtechnologies.com, our blog: http://changewaves.socialtechnologies.com, and our newsletter: http://www.socialtechnologies.com/changewaves.

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HOPE GIBBS

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