It has been said the rate of technological advances is increasing. In fact, it has been suggested that, as a consequence, our “performance” (by whatever measure) in a range of sectors doubles every 18 months. Theoretically, therefore, as the rate of our advances accelerates, the future come faster than we expect – Glyn Taylor.

Wow – if that’s true, I feel compelled to ask whether technological advances are being made in the world of sex and, if so, how different will sex be in 10, 50 or 100 years?

Of course, technology has been affecting sex for ages – just think sex toys – seriously, women have been replacing men with sex aids such as vibrators for years. They are ubiquitous these days – even although in my Mum’s day they were kept beneath the sheets (literally!).

Now it seems men may have found the female equivalent – and, of course, men being men – they’ve gone bigger and better – this time with robots – or, in our context, “sexbots”.

Which got me thinking – will sexbots replace the real thing? Will they even replace porn?

Of course, as always, there are number of aspects to these sorts of big questions.

On the one hand, there is the sophisticated perspective on what sex might be look like in
100 years – for example, Daniel Wilson observed – “You never plan on living with a female android – it just sort of happens. At first it seems like the ultimate male fantasy: to live with a beautiful woman who is programmed to obey. It soon becomes obvious, however, that a fembot is stronger, smarter and sexier than any male counterpart. Don’t despair: Her superiority makes the fembot perfectly suited to act as your first line of defense when your neighborhood becomes a battle zone.” Yep, a real thinker.

Or perhaps this – “When you are thirteen, you spend all your time imagining what it would be like to live in a world where you could pay a robot for sex. And that sex would cost a dollar. And the only obstacle to getting that sex would be making sure you had four quarters.
Then you grow up and it turns out you do live in that kind of world. A world with coin-operated sexbots. And it’s not really as great as you thought it would be.” – Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.

On the other hand, there are the less cerebral views – you know, along the lines of – “I am definitely not a fucking toaster.” – Jim Chasely, Z14

But seriously, there is already a range of sexbots available – and getting better every day by all accounts.

True, some are no more than your average sex doll that Japan and China have been manufacturing and exporting for many years.
But now they are making more sophisticated models that mimic humans – not just in physical form but mentally and emotionally! For example, take one doll called “Roxxy” – apparently “she” (and I use the term reluctantly) is a robot that is sold on the basis of its “personality”. In fact, it is advertised as having “multiple personalities” that provide “human like companionship”.

Hmmm. Now, this is where it gets interesting – at least from my perspective.
But first a confession – I must say, as much as I am fond of my various vibrators, the thought of sex with a sexbot doesn’t really do it for me. Nor, I am relieved to say, does it do it for my partner with whom I have discussed the issue. In fact, I tought his recollection from Atlasby Ben Smith was a neat example – “‘Nice dress,’ Victoria said. ‘Thank you,’ Perpetua said. ‘Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?’
Victoria blinked. ‘Uh, what?’” Yeah, kinda  clinical, isn’t it – not far removed from porn, I guess!

Speaking of which – many of my followers will recall that I am very strong in my views about the pros and cons of pornography. And, of course, the main point I make repeatedly is that pornography – in particular Adult Films – should never be seen as reality – it is really important to remember that porn is acting – plain  and simple – nothing more and nothing less.

So, surely, sexbots should be viewed in the same way. After, all, they are all about silicon and metal – not about body and mind and soul – that are the hallmarks of a real, loving  relationship.

Let’s consider this a little further.

Moral concerns with sexbots and porn

In addition to the risk of contributing to the confusion between acting out physical sex on the one hand and true love-making on the other, pornography is often criticised for a number of reasons – the most common of which is that it encourages men to regard women as objects – to disrespect women. I don’t disagree with this concern.

Surely sexbots are precisely the same.

Another concern raised about pornography is that it encourages harmful sexual behaviour, including certain sexual practices such as violence.

A sexbot arguably has even less limits than human actors you can see engaging in sex for the camera. Therefore, presumably the argument would legitimately raise an even greater concern.

I tend to agree with these concerns because I do believe people copy what they see in the various media. 

So perhaps some form of regulation is in order. For example, a variation to Isaac Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics” which, as I recall went something like:
1: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm;

2: A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law;

3: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

As much as it pains me to support organised religion – any organised religion – maybe a 4th law along the lines of “do unto others (including robots) as you would have them do unto you” might be in order!

I guess a more poetic version is “Whether we are based on carbon or on silicon makes no fundamental difference; we should each be treated with appropriate respect.” Arthur C. Clarke, 2010: Odyssey Two

Ultimately, I think the problem with porn, sexbots and whatever non-human-interactive
sexual activity you might be into is reflected well in Alex Morritt’s Impromptu Scribe – “The more time we spend interconnected via a myriad of devices, the less time we have left to develop true friendships in the real world.

Guys, that’s right. Get out there (or stay in if you prefer) and be with your own kind!

And, of course, whenever we talk about this stuff, it’s always helpful to go back to that “other Good Book” – you know, the one by Douglas Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for all the answers we need –  “The Answer to the Great Question… Of Life, the Universe and Everything… Is… Forty-two,’ said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.

I just love the name “Deep Thought” for a computer  – don’t you?! Maybe it’s just my dirty mind! xxx

 

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