Sexbots in the news

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Sexbots in the news

Post by rj3 on Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:12 pm

I'm interested to hear what people here about the increasing sophistication of sex robots. For a jumping-off point, see http://jezebel.com/are-sex-robots-unethical-or-just-unimaginative-as-hell-1769358748.

Will we ever get over the common trope of "sex toys are empowering when women use them but gross when men do"? And assuming they get out of the uncanny valley and become cheap enough to be readily available in homes or "brothels," do you think they will seriously disrupt the dating world? How so?

I'd like to think that readily available sex of comparable quality from a robot will cut down on booty calls to exes and lewd OLD messages, but won't replace good ol' fashion relationships. Perhaps it will strengthen relationships by making it easier for couples with different sex drives to keep everybody happy. The subset of perpetually dateless people who are miserable about it may be a little less miserable. Busy professionals who dip in and out of dating may just hold off on dating entirely until the next promotion. Nearly all the action will be on the margins.

Then again, small changes to the sex ratio result in massive changes in behavior - compare majority-male and majority-female college campuses and countries that have a lot of sex-selective abortions as examples. If a decent chunk of men (and it's men who will be the early adopters, I'm sure) drop out of the dating market because they consider sexbots an acceptable replacement, women may face more competition over a smaller group of men. Will women have to adapt to compete with robots? Will men?

Whatever happens, it's doubtful that it can be stopped if the technology keeps advancing.

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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by Wondering on Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:13 pm

rj3 wrote:If a decent chunk of men (and it's men who will be the early adopters, I'm sure) drop out of the dating market because they consider sexbots an acceptable replacement, women may face more competition over a smaller group of men. Will women have to adapt to compete with robots?

More competition for what? Long-term partners/husbands? Because I don't think guys who are only getting into an LTRs for sex are going to be viable candidates for that or marriage, honestly. That's all a sex robot offers: sex, not partnership. So I don't think think competition with robots is really a concern. I mean, if my husband were only into me for sex, I wouldn't have married him, you know? If a man is dropping out of the dating market in favor of a robot, he was never a potential mate for me anyway.

If you're talking the sorts of short-term, casual relationships that are only about sex, that might be something different.

However, I think it's absolutely unethical to make a robot that looks like another actual human being. That is gross and objectifying and creepy. Off the charts. And I hope the laws will catch up with this to make it illegal. I can only imagine how Scarlett Johanssen feels about this. Sad

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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by rj3 on Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:28 pm

Wondering wrote:
However, I think it's absolutely unethical to make a robot that looks like another actual human being. That is gross and objectifying and creepy. Off the charts. And I hope the laws will catch up with this to make it illegal. I can only imagine how Scarlett Johanssen feels about this. Sad

People already have rights to their images. That's why Kelloggs can't just put her face on a box of cereal without paying her. The fact that he isn't selling this robot on the market is the only reason he isn't being sued.

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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by Enail on Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:35 pm

I find this kind of thing very interesting!  I think we're (probably) still a long way from approaching genuine artificial intelligence, which would obviously make the whole concept of sexbots (as well as other kinds of robots) deeply unethical, but I don't think we're too far from AI that mimics sentience well enough that it would raise some pretty uncomfortable and challenging ethical questions of its own.

The things that strike me are not sexbot-specific so much as issues that would come up with any kind of robot that is intended to interact like a person. If someone is technically aware that this robot definitely does not have sentience (assuming such a thing can be proved), but it is programmed well enough that they feel like they're interacting with a sentient being, would it be okay to treat them as an object? It's an unsettling idea, whether it be sexbottery or factory work or elder care. If we go through our lives treating some of those who we experience as being people, as if they are in some ways not people, I have to wonder what that would do to our ability to form genuine connections, and to our sense of ethics, our respect for the autonomy of others...

Ethics aside, I suspect that sexbots wouldn't have a huge impact on the dating world overall. Some people would actively embrace them (Rimshot) either because they want sex without the social aspects/complications or because they have difficulty finding sex partners, and there would be a subset of people who have kinks that are difficult, unpleasant or physically impossible for most actual people to fulfill, so it certainly wouldn't be zero-impact.

But a pretty big chunk of people seem to want relationships of some sort with their sex partners; unless the AI was so advanced they were sentient or mimicking it well enough that my ethical discomfort would come up, they wouldn't make a great substitute for a life partner or a friend-with-benefits. And they wouldn't provide some of external benefits people tend to want from their sex partners, like the knowledge that someone desires them or the approval of their peers. Though, since they'd presumably be pretty expensive, they could get an alternate form of peer approval by being a luxury good they could show off, for people who value material success.
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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by eselle28 on Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:35 pm

I generally regard furor over "sexbots" as being either clickbait or an MRA talking point. There was a similar uproar when video pornography became more widely accessible. More exposure to pornography may have changed the ways that people have partnered sex, but I haven't noticed any change in men's demand for it or in women's competition for men who want partnered sex.

We're basically talking about masturbation toys, and there's already plenty of masturbation going on. There's also plenty of demand for partnered sex - for its unpredictability, for the emotional jolt that comes from feeling desired, for the non-sexual benefits that come from human relationships. I'm pretty confident that having better masturbation toys won't cancel out those benefits, and I suspect many people will enjoy and pursue both, just as they do now.

I also tend to roll my eyes at what seems like a perpetual and generally unquestioned assumption that this market will mostly cater to straight men. I realize that pornography tends to be made by and for men and that real dolls are also typically made for male consumer, but as you point out, the sex toy market is catered to women. I suspect that at the point when robotics are advanced enough to create something that can move and interact, there will be a pretty sizable increase in the number of women interested.
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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by Werel on Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:52 pm

I think the propaganda scare film from Futurama dominates my thoughts on this topic. Razz
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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by DazedAndConfused on Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:52 pm

eselle28 wrote:I generally regard furor over "sexbots" as being either clickbait or an MRA talking point. There was a similar uproar when video pornography became more widely accessible. More exposure to pornography may have changed the ways that people have partnered sex, but I haven't noticed any change in men's demand for it or in women's competition for men who want partnered sex.

Yeah. More readily available pornography hasn't stopped the demand for partnered sex because partnered sex is much more than simple physical sexual stimulation. There's the sensory connection, the emotional connection, the exploration of someone else's body and reactions, and so much more. Those are all things that porn can't give you, and that sex bots can't give you, unless they're going to invent a sex bot which looks, acts and thinks like a human being and that's still in the realm of science fiction for now.

We're basically talking about masturbation toys, and there's already plenty of masturbation going on. There's also plenty of demand for partnered sex - for its unpredictability, for the emotional jolt that comes from feeling desired, for the non-sexual benefits that come from human relationships. I'm pretty confident that having better masturbation toys won't cancel out those benefits, and I suspect many people will enjoy and pursue both, just as they do now.

Yep. I can see some competition between different kinds of masturbation toys and aids. Maybe if sex bots become more readily available some other masturbation toys and aids will go out of fashion. That's happened before, I think.

I also tend to roll my eyes at what seems like a perpetual and generally unquestioned assumption that this market will mostly cater to straight men. I realize that pornography tends to be made by and for men and that real dolls are also typically made for male consumer, but as you point out, the sex toy market is catered to women. I suspect that at the point when robotics are advanced enough to create something that can move and interact, there will be a pretty sizable increase in the number of women interested.

Not to mention LGBT people.

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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by waxingjaney on Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:08 pm

Meh. In another generation or three, Viagra will be a little blue capsule of nanobots programmed to induce autonomic orgasms.
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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by Wondering on Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:25 pm

rj3 wrote:
Wondering wrote:
However, I think it's absolutely unethical to make a robot that looks like another actual human being. That is gross and objectifying and creepy. Off the charts. And I hope the laws will catch up with this to make it illegal. I can only imagine how Scarlett Johanssen feels about this. Sad

People already have rights to their images. That's why Kelloggs can't just put her face on a box of cereal without paying her. The fact that he isn't selling this robot on the market is the only reason he isn't being sued.

Yes, my point is that I think what he's done should also be illegal, and I hope the laws update to make that the case.

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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:54 am

If you want a lesson in sexbot ethics, watch either the Futurama episode about the Lucy Liu-bot or watch Blade Runner.

I'll... uh, be keeping my opinion about sexbots to myself...

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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by Werel on Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:57 am

ALREADY SCOOPED YOUR JOKE, MIKEY. TRY AGAIN. Razz
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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 08, 2016 1:15 am

Werel wrote:ALREADY SCOOPED YOUR JOKE, MIKEY. TRY AGAIN. Razz

Nuuuuuuu!! D;

Okay, fine just watch Blade Runner instead. ;D

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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by Wondering on Fri Apr 08, 2016 1:19 am

Theatrical release, director's cut, or director's cut II? Wink

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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 08, 2016 1:26 am

Wondering wrote:Theatrical release, director's cut, or director's cut II? Wink

Nooo, not the theatrical release! Those voice overs were terrible. Wink But rather, watch the 25th Anniversary version/2007 Final Cut. Anyway! Back to the sexbots. Razz

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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by rj3 on Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:39 am

Wondering wrote:
rj3 wrote:
Wondering wrote:
However, I think it's absolutely unethical to make a robot that looks like another actual human being. That is gross and objectifying and creepy. Off the charts. And I hope the laws will catch up with this to make it illegal. I can only imagine how Scarlett Johanssen feels about this. Sad

People already have rights to their images. That's why Kelloggs can't just put her face on a box of cereal without paying her. The fact that he isn't selling this robot on the market is the only reason he isn't being sued.

Yes, my point is that I think what he's done should also be illegal, and I hope the laws update to make that the case.

I'm not sure if such a thing can be illegal, inasmuch as we're talking about someone taking a "blank" bot and 3D printing a face pulled from a magazine. Creepy, certainly, but not illegal. Actually, I think it would have been far creepier if it was an ex or some unsuspecting neighbor that he had been pining over.

If it doesn't enter the stream of commerce and the owner of the rights to the photo doesn't claim some sort of infringement, then what's the legal theory here?  There is no right not to be in someone's fantasy. It's neither illegal to masturbate to the original magazine picture nor to xerox it and then tape the copy on the face of a real doll. What's the real difference here besides quality?

"There oughta be a law" impulse is so so common, but it's not a fit for this situation.

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Re: Sexbots in the news

Post by reboot on Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:14 pm

This makes me think of Ghost in the Shell: Innocence. The sex droids were pretty scary

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