aNewDomain.net — Some believe in a happy, robot-powered future. And they see sex and robots as necessary and important parts of their vision. Yes, sex — and yes, sex and robots. Although some people might find the idea of love with a machine repulsive, experts predict that as the technology advances and robots become more human-like, we will view our silicon cousins in a friendlier light. One possible future is where robots will fill roles as family caregivers, household servants and voice-enabled avatars that manage our driverless cars, automated homes, and entertainment systems.
The Western version of this robot-heavy future is different from the Japanese vision. And each country’s goals reflect the history of its individual development in the tech sphere and other innovations. The US takes robotic tech and focuses it on war based R&D.
Japan, conversely, views objects as having their own souls. And so its tech industry is about the humanization of electronics.
With the two diverse approaches to future tech, Japan and the USA each end up with a final product that potentially gives everyone a happy ending. Or close enough.
The US Vision
The futurist vision, as Michael Hauskeller describes it:
We will learn to control our sexual desires, turn them on or off, depending on how desirable we find being sexually aroused in certain situations, or redirect them to other objects. Lust and love are biochemical phenomena and as such are “amenable to manipulation.”
Essentially, more control will lead to greater happiness. As our reporter Lamont Wood wrote, “The rise of customization in consumer electronics may amount to a third industrial revolution.” That third revolution focuses on endless consumer choice, and how much happiness that choice elicits. Your happiness, then, can extend to the customization of and interaction with sex bots.
The futurists say that we are “genetically inclined to have multiple partners.” Therefore, they say, it is unnatural to suppress “our non-monogamous biological natures. (The fact that most people and cultures favor monogamy simply shows “the power of culture over nature”.) And so we should return to some modern version of polygamy — a form of open, acknowledged sexual sharing, as advocated by the trans-human group people. There’s that.
Sex Robots in Film
Elysium showed how a society in the future depends on robots for everything and what the pluses and minuses there are. But where was the sex bot? Check out this newly released concept art from Weta’s Aaron Beck. The artist was part of the Elysium design group in New Zealand.
Now, why exactly are those sex bots not in the film? Well, it was already rated R, so why not throw in some futuristic sex scenes? Though I figure love and lust are better left to humans, especially when and even if Hollywood is involved.
Yet, the world of Elysium is still very much a human society.
The plot revolves around class warfare, as the rich and well-to-do have used their considerable means to escape to a gigantic rotating space station. The station is filled with the most advanced medical technology, capable of reconstructing wounded appendages or curing cancer in less than a minute. In the fully fleshed out world of Elysium would only the upper class have access to these expensive, customizable sex bots? Would there be lower models for lower classes?
Another key viewpoint, at least in the media, about Sex Robots and the future is illustrated in HER, the film about an enhanced Siri-esque girlfriend.
The movie is about a man that falls in love with a Siri-to-the-ninth-degree digital assistant and stars Joaquin Phoenix and a disembodied Scarlett Johansson. I was interested to see an idealized, future vision of a digital assistant. There are three tricks that Samantha (the name of the digital assistant or “OS”) uses to provide technical value to Theodore (Mr Phoenix’s character). They can be seen in terms of the Enterprise Attention Management issues of filtering, notification, and agency.
For more click here. This film is a very romantic version of our tech life, and an excellent one at that. But it complicates the matter, as a disembodied robot seems to be as desirous as a physical one. I wonder if Scarlett Johansson will be the voice and future role model for droid girlfriends? The script just won a Golden Globe this week.
Love and Sex design for 2100
By the 22nd century, when we are facing indefinite life spans, tweaks to biological gender will become increasingly common — to stay in fashion, to improve our chances in life and love, and just out of simple curiosity. Sex will eventually have to transcend the body altogether, as the limits of the body become more futile.
But will love be still an emotion?
The futurists have spoken. But I wonder, is this image truly erotic?
“Body sex itself is likely to become a minor and infrequent aspect of our erotic experience. There are some short-term reasons and some long-term reasons for the declining use of the meat-puppet in romantic play.” (Just think about this choice of metaphor for a moment: the body as a “meat puppet”). Body sex is dangerous (sexually transmitted diseases), old people cannot do it, it is no longer necessary for reproduction, and last but not least virtual reality will soon provide alternatives that are far superior to the kind of body-dependent sex that we are used to. Doing the nasty in nano-neuro VR will be far more intimate than in the flesh. We will be able to morph our genders, species, ages and numbers in VR, and open ourselves up to forms of tactile and emotional sharing that are impossible in the flesh-to-flesh. We can hold an orgy on the moons of Jupiter, on lambskin rugs, with cherubim as an attentive audience.”
To read more, click here.
Is this what we wish for? Does it feel like a wet dream or a nightmare?
Either way, the foundation of this future is here and now in Japan 2014.
The Japanese Dream
The Japanese believe this progression is quite normal.
Japanese robotic engineering has a fundamentally different approach. While most of the world’s robotics development has been focused on creating largely impersonal machines, to work or kill on behalf of humans, robots in Japan are being specifically developed to be personable, sociable and endearing — to be friends rather than slaves. Kozaki and his friends obsessing over AI girlfriends may seem bizarre now. But if roboticists working in Japan have their way, these men may prove to be trendsetters. In the near future, as the line between humans and machines blurs, many of us may well develop affection for — or even fall in love with — robots. For more click here.
However you feel about the future, sex, LOVE and robotics, a healthy discussion of our possible worlds is a good idea. We wait on time and invention — until this future could become the reality.
For aNewDomain.net, I’m David Michaelis.
Based in Australia, David Michaelis is a world-renowned international journalist and founder of Link Tv. At aNewDomain.net, he covers the global beat, focusing on politics and other international topics of note for our readers in a variety of forums. Email him atDavidMc@aNewDomain.net.