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Robot Love December 26, 2007

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Culture, Dwight Furrow's Posts, Ethics.

Robotics enthusiast David Levy predicts that in the not too distant future we will routinely make love with robots.

“Love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans,” Levy writes, “while the number of sexual acts and lovemaking positions commonly practiced between humans will be extended, as robots teach us more than is in all of the world’s published sex manuals combined.”

Levy goes on to imagine a world of robot prostitutes, or “sexbots,” which would offer people a chance to practice their technique before entering a human relationship. “With a robot prostitute,” he writes, “the control of disease is implicit — simply remove the active parts and put them in the disinfecting machine.”

No doubt this possibility stimulates the imaginations of inflatable doll enthusiasts but I think most of us will carry on in the old fashioned way.

For one thing, if robots are to be attractive as sexual partners, then they would have to have most of the features of personhood. But if they will be so similar to persons, why would sex with them not be subject to taboos against prostitution, sexual exploitation, adultery, etc.?



1. Moriae - December 29, 2007

Let’s first come to terms with the principle reason why men might be attracted to robots. Isn’t is likely to be because there are many men so socially inept and awkward in so many noticeable ways that their chances of “winning” a ‘real’ woman’s approval are predictably negligible. And take note that I’m not even mentioning the physical qualities that people respond to well or badly, such as how women (for the most part) are not attracted to men shorter than they are.

I think the appeal to these men for these potential robots is mainly because they REALLY won’t approach verisimilitude, and that WILL be by design. I mean, look at what would happen if these robotic women even begin to exhibit qualities we attach to the real women we have now. Won’t one ‘robotic woman’ look down on another if a ‘lesser’ robotic woman acquiesced to show her favors to actual men that other “real women” and ‘better robotic women’ find contemptible? And if we end up creating “uppity” female robots, to whom would these ‘females’ appeal to? Will there be money-back guarantees? Will Costco take them back?

Obviously the very same men who find it awkward to woo and entice the women they have to pick from now will find it even less than flattering if they fail to tempt a creation from Mattel. So where would the rationale come from to make robots that would be picky about the partners they have?

Sounds like these men would eagerly go back to the air-filled varieties they now have (and make their conversations with their equals at bars more compelling), and I also have the feeling that the tastes these men do have will make economics rule out in every case.

Not being able to notice the values that bring ‘depth’ to a relationship is likely to be a prime reason why ‘natural women’ have already passed on such men. And let’s be honest, how much work would it really take to program a ‘feminine robot’ to notice the palpable faults of the louts that often pass for men these days? I’d think an average man might have difficulty even seducing a robot with the meager qualities of a Commodore 64.

You see the real aim of these robotic women, it seems to me, is plainly to create sexual outlets for men who have trouble (for whatever reasons there may be) finding sexual relations with the actual women available.

It doesn’t take a genius to notice that most men in prison haven’t had a good time with the females in their lives consistently. If these robots really became too sophisticated, then you’ll begin to find many instances where these robots will resist relations with the very men that ‘real’ women also resist (and for the same reasons). In these cases we might begin finding spurned men ‘killing’ female robots in alleys who had the temerity to think these ‘real men’ didn’t meet their minimal standards for sexual relations.

And it is at this point I can see a justified rationale for the creation of these robots. Men without regular sexual access to females are not pleasant creatures (as is the case in many species), and are also predictably violent. It just seems to me that it would be preferable for men of these sorts to take out their frustrations on creations from Mattel than on their biological models.

I also sense that men such as these would prefer to look at pictures (scan them?) of these feminine robots rather than possess them, just like they prefer to look at their air-headed brethern in Playboy. Men of these sorts have a weak imagination for what they’d do with someone when not having sex, and this lack of imagination dooms their every effort to alleviate their boring life. Never underestimate that if someone is deficient in one quality that they may also be deficient in many more. The real reason why some men are being passed over may simply be because many women (each with perhaps their own faults) have a keen eye for one fault and not others, but that in the aggregate in doesn’t take too many women to notice a variety of faults possessed by any given man.

How about ‘male robots’ for women? I think that was already turned down–they have them already.

P.S. Should it happen that the creation of these robots would soon be in the offering, should we begin selling shares of KY short, and buying into WD40 more?

2. Forrest Noble - December 30, 2007

Hey Moriae,

It’s KY short and WD40 long! A big money maker?

Funny subject and comments. Doesn’t sound appealing to me– might be a great novelty Christmas gift though for the guy who has everthing. He won’t use it himself, he’ll just wrap it up and give it to someone else the next Christmas. In this manner “she” might be passed around alot– something like the plight of some women.

Have a happy New Year!! your friend forrest

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