Sex robot image from ETO

Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto

People are afraid. It is a fact of life, all of us are are afraid of something and often we are afraid of many things. I am not immune to this and frankly anyone who claims they are afraid of nothing is a lunatic.

It is interesting (to me anyway) the things that people are afraid of, and how that fear drives their behavior, often in very strange ways. For some of us fear can be very erotic I, for example, use fear to touch Molly’s hidden fantasies. But for many others fear causes them to act out in other ways, to speak out publicly against something that touches that fear and desire in ways that they just can’t handle. Homophobia is an excellent example. How many times has it come to light that someone who has spent their life decrying the “Homosexual Lifestyle” only to find that their off hours are filled with drug fueled same sex romps? It is fear of their own desires that drive them to this dichotomous behavior.

This brings me to a specific fear that I have encountered recently. It is a cousin of the fear “My wife/partner/girlfriend will replace me with a sex toy.” Or, “My partner/husband/boyfriend is addicted to porn.” Now, I am no stranger to jealousy, but it does not extend to inanimate objects and frankly if I can be replace by a sex toy or porn I may have been the wrong person for my partner in the first place. Today’s precise and exact fear is, wait for it, are you ready? Sitting on the edge of your seat?

NoSexRobots

@RobotCampaign

Campaign Against Sex Robots, is a non-profit group against the development of robotic technologies shaped by inequalities & objectification of women & children

I did a lot of research and reading after having this thrust onto my Twitter Timeline enough times that I figured I’d better see what all the fuss was about. My disclaimer to start with. I am pro #sextech. Without advances in technology I would have never known that Molly existed. I think that the explosion in sexual technologies has improved peoples happiness and that porn has a place in our sexual lives. These thing along with the rise of gender equality and multiple gender identities beyond the binary has started us all on a path to a better place.

I went and read around the website, I will not link because, well, I really don’t want too. But I didn’t stop there I went digging to find more about the prime mover behind the site. I wanted to get a fuller picture of the person behind this campaign and what her motivations might be. I even found a video presentation online.

Fear of men and robotsThe above image links to the video

While much of what she has to say is somewhat true it is presented in a way to draw conclusions that at best are poorly supported

What I seem to be able to gather from all of this is that if there are sex robots two things will happen. Men will practice traditional male violence on sex robots (always female or children in form) and extend that violence and oppression to actual women and children because of the similarity of form and somehow because they won’t need women and children. And that because they will have had machines to be their ideal replacement for other people they will go mad, or at least that is what happened to the monkeys.

She seems to see sex robots as the fruit of a poison tree

As unequal and exploitative sexual practices (prostitution and pornography) provide the inspiration for sex robots, these sex robots continue to perpetuate and reinforce gender inequalities.

That the dark history of vibrators should serve as a warning

Vibrators were developed as tools for physicians in the 18th century who believed a cure for women’s depression was stimulation of their clitoris (basically sexual assault of women delivered by doctors). The physicians hands would become tired when delivering this ‘cure’ – so that’s why the vibrator was invented. Surveys indicate that woman’s primary use of vibrators is clitoral stimulation. The vibrator is called a vibrator because it VIBRATES. Vibrators are stimulatory objects, they may resemble a shape, as do other masturbatory sex toys.

And of course the twin evils of prostitution and pornography

Unfortunately, since the ancient Greeks, the male orgasm has been central to our understanding of sex. Pornography and prostitution both flourish in property owning societies (women seen as property along with children and slaves). The male orgasm at any cost has always been an act of coercion, as is pornography and prostitution. Moreover, the advocates of sex robots use prostitution as a reference point for thinking about their possible application. What pornography and prostitution tell us as a society is that it is permissible to view women and children as things/objects to gratify the personal needs of those with more money/power/resources (adult males).

While there is some truth in all of these statements to decide that this area of technology must be avoided based on this information alone is to ignore that there certainly has been value to the open and well discussed involvement of sex toys in a healthy sexual relationship. That there is some evidence that the wide spread availability of pornography may have led to a reduction in sexual abuse and harm. That an wider acceptance of non normative sexual and personal relationship have made us more comfortable with each others difference. We can’t afford to assume that this change (should we ever achieve it) won’t bring more joy, to more people.

There are valid points to be made about the ethical use of robots and especially sex robots but I don’t think that we are anywhere close to calling for a ban into research at least. We will have to be aware that if these devices ever achieve sentience that we might be building slaves, and while machines are meant to be subservient, thinking beings are not.

I know that many will disagree with some (or all) of the points I have raised and I welcome open and honest debate. But I think that Kathleen is afraid, and I would love to have a chat with her about her fears.

Me, I think they are unfounded. But maybe I could work them into a hot fantasy scene.

Michael

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3 thoughts on “Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto

  1. I would love a sex robot, one that looked like Jason Momoa. However, he’s v large, and I have children I wouldn’t really want to explain my sex robot to – I don’t know where I’d keep him.

    I have actually discussed the logistics of this with a friend of mine.

    As to this group, I would like the twist to be that they are sentient sexbots themselves. That’s how I’d write it.

  2. I actually had to google ‘sex robots’, because it seems I am living a sheltered life. I found this:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3634399/How-robots-soon-teens-virginity.html I just can’t believe that a teenager is more likely to lose their virginity to a £7000 toy than to a human being!

    But I digress, how are sex robots linked to the use of orgasm by doctors and other quacks for treatment of ‘hysteria’ in women in the 19th century? I wonder why everything has to be about oppression rather than about a person’s right to choose? I wouldn’t choose a sex robot but if someone wants to spend their hard earned cash on one, then good for them.

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