In the movie Burn After Reading from the Coen Brothers the character of George Clooney is building something. He mysteriously buys all kind of stuff and is building something in his basement. As a viewer you suspect he is planning murder, but it turns out te be a Dildo Chair.

George is not the only one. He is part of a long tradition of  homespun inventors.  Timothy Archibald made a book about it. After contacting an active but intensely private Internet community of sex machine inventors, he eventually won their trust and was invited into workshops and homes. The resulting book is a powerful document that is by turns thought provoking, humorous, and always fascinating.

Archibald covers the broad spectrum of the makers—from the elusive creator of the Sybian, the forefather of sex machines, to lesser-known inventors like Paul Gaertner, who, laid off from his job in the high-tech industry, founded a new business by transforming a thrift store pasta maker into a high-powered sexual appliance. After receiving an apocalyptic vision of a future without men, Louis Walker constructs a sex machine prototype for the women survivors. Eric Reynolds credits his apparatus for saving his marriage, and Jon Traven uses his sex device as a form of Christian-based marriage counseling.


Trevor Paglen (website) asked a computer program to create porn. First the program was shown a lot of pornographic images and then the program (General Adversarial Networks) creates its own images. It is basically the same technique that is used for facial recognizition only Trevor asks the computer to learn from the images and make a pornographic image. The result is somewhat pornographic.

Of course Trevor can do better, he just has to feed the computer program more images. But that is not the idea. The idea is to show that AI tries to find out patterns in pictures without having any idea of the context.

Which of course is a reassuring thought.