I once wrote about life-like dolls that functioned as companions for men. Now we seem to have taken this one or more steps further. These dolls are far more sophisticated than I ever dreamed they could be. They are very life-like and designed with custom features that duplicate women accurately – but appear to be the most subservient partner imaginable.
Is this what relationships have come to? Men are willing to shell out approximately $7000.00 or more to have a woman who is designed to answer most sexual whims and needs without emotion or communication? Is a hi-tech sex toy preferable to a sit-down and let’s-talk-it-out human, someone to have a heart-to-heart with or even to indulge in pillow talk?
In the near future, it is conceivable that even women as well may look to robots for sex and to fill emotional voids because the robot has the potential for programming it to be much more emotionally available than men may be generally thought to be. What is going on here?
David Levy wrote a book entitled, Love & Sex with Robots (The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships). Levy is an internationally recognized expert on artificial intelligence.
He said, “…we examine the reasons people pay for sex with women and men who ply this particular trade. From perspective of sex with robots, what is interesting about the most frequently proffered reasons is that they indicate desires, and not only the desires for the sex act themselves, that could be satisfied by a sophisticated robot just as well as by a human prostitute.
“This being the case, it seems inevitable that just as humans desirous of sex but lacking sufficient opportunity will pay a professional for it, so there will come a time – and that time is almost with us – when people will be paying for sex with robots, either by paying the robot for regular use at home or by renting one by the hour or day.”
I think the time has already arrived. Not very long ago at a trade show, Adult Entertainment Expo, a sexy robot (Roxxxy) was introduced. She had anatomy in the right places and was capable of changing personalities – most importantly – was sensitive to touch. The inventor, Douglas Hines, is convinced that there is a future for robotics.
I’m drawing up a list of what I consider to be advantages (somewhat tongue in cheek but not entirely): Doesn’t talk back, accepts commands, won’t balk at raunchy suggestions, will never cheat (unless you decide to share) and is cheaper than a wife in the long run. Obviously, there is no need for condoms unless one prefers to wear them (for the sake of reality) and no concerns about pregnancy. Auto-erotic sex for the robot never goes too far and there are no STD’s to worry about unless you lend or rent her – (I imagine one has to keep a store of antibacterial soap around in that case). All types of fetishes and even S & M (if you are so inclined) will be honored by a sexual robot – because she couldn’t care less.
The disadvantages: There’s no feedback, no conversation, no one to take a bubble bath with (can’t wet the components), she can’t drink champagne with you, can’t cook, can’t clean, and can’t dance (yet). For some men the challenge of pursuing a woman is gone – the triumph of winning the lass over is no more. Also, she can’t pick up the kids from school, go to PTA or teacher conferences or Google. Nor can she add a second income to the household budget – all of which are disadvantages.
On the other hand, in the future she might be programmed to become a robotic surgeon or even a statistician – both well-paying jobs. The gentlemen in possession of one might even consider retiring. If the mechanical damsel were to be really worthwhile then she would have vacuum cleaning components attached to her toes so that she could sweep the carpet as she moved about, and it wouldn’t be unthinkable that she could diagnose your illness, sing you to sleep or give a back massage. Why not embed a computer so you can Google from her abdomen.
She can be programmed to say things like, “You are wonderful, brilliant and a fabulous lover.” “Where have you been all my life, you masterful, handsome creature.” Ahh, the unconditional love we are all looking for. As for not being able to cook? It’s overrated anyway as you can always get take out. Now if they had all those functions with a male robot – I’m in. Maybe I’d call him Moxxxy instead of Roxxxy.
Now, we come to the most complicated part. What if you fall in love with your robot? What if you want to marry your robot? Whew. You might think about changing her name to Sylvia. Remember the play, Sylvia, where a man fell in love with a sheep and cheated on his wife with the animal?
In a Huff Post article entitled, Can Loving a Robot Lead to Divorce, on December 21, 2011, journalist, Vicki Larson writes about the subject and the possible legal ramifications.
Larson interviewed Sonya Ziaja, a San Francisco attorney who answered potential legal issues where a “sexbot” had the potential to fall prey to “heart balm torts” – which I interpret as alienation of affection laws. In a rather loose explanation, it is where a spouse sues someone whom they blame for the demise of their relationship. Only 8 states have this type of tort, but it seems according to Ziaja suggestion that in the states where the law no longer applies they “…can adapt to new technologies by reviving old torts.”
Based on that concept, let’s say a spouse has an affair with a robot and said spouse falls in love with the machine (David Levy suggests that marrying a robot might be common happenstance in 50 years). Now he wants to leave his wife. Do you sue the manufacturer? Ziaja proposes the possibility exists, and that designers and manufacturers need to be mindful of this. Today, this notion is quite humorous – tomorrow? Who knows?
That doesn’t deter me from yearning for the robot that can clean, fold the laundry, do my taxes, budget my money, remind me when I’m overspending, apprise me of the best buy in a car or appliance, do my filing, do my bookkeeping, choose the best rates for insurance policies, advise me of the best mutual funds to buy, wash my hair (very slowly) and rub my feet at night – as well as all the other “stuff.” As a matter of fact, forget the other stuff. The robot can be asexual as long as it performs the other mentioned tasks.