Based on the amount of interest in my previous article and conversations I’ve had or seen in the interim I thought it was necessary to go back to sex, robots and ethics. In writing about sex robots, seeing the release of Roxxxy by True Companion, LLC
and having several discussions with friends made me think more about the intrigue in AI sex robots. What is it about them that are so fascinating and keeps drawing me back in? What does this have to do with the ethical examination of the use of sex technology? Well, it has to do with how we treat these “tools” as I’ve read some refer to them as, what are the trends and what this says about our societal preferences? I realize that this topic seems cheap to discuss, people have problems with it and compared to global warming and the like it can be considered a trash throwaway topic compared to what my peers are addressing. However, the fact that it is on a carnal desire that, unless we completely move away from our sexuality see Ben Goertzel’sSexuality and Beyond, it is something that needs people to examine seriously.
However, they are intriguing and they seem to be elevated above the level of just your average toy. I can see where that discussion might not fit in here, but the release of a life-size doll, is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. After milling over it, it seems that the sticking point is in the face. There is something about the face that seems to completely change the game. We have created this doll in our image to satisfy our desires of sex and companionship. There is a lot in a face. This doll creates an ethical dilemma it seems that surrounds how to treat it and incorporate it in to the bedroom. I go back to the film AI: Artificial Intelligence and Jude Law’s character as a jigalo. Sure, we aren’t to the point where these sex robots can get up and walk out of our house, that is another issue. But we are now to the point where we can keep these types of robots in our homes if you’re willing to pay for them. Yet, it doesn’t seem that you would want to put them up on a shelf in your closet when they are not in use like your other sex toys does it? In my previous post there was a comment made of enslavement. That struck a chord with me.
They are created for our needs just like a vacuum cleaner, but they are more intimate than a vacuum cleaner. They look like us, sexier, but they look like us. They have no rights, but to please us and sit in our closet or on a chair. People are free to treat them as they like in the privacy of their own homes. But I ask, just because they are vacant behind their eyes, is that ok to just treat them as you like, as sex slaves? What are we teaching western society in accepting a robot in to their home that is not their equal and calling it nothing more than a tool? I know, I know! It has no feeling, no emotion, it is not a person. But we are creating it in our image and treating it like a soulless sex slave. So it has all the qualities of a woman we want to have sex with, besides the actual personhood. This just seems a bit, wrong in my opinion. Maybe this all stems from a childhood where I watched The Brave Little Toaster, The Christmas Toy, Toy Story and the like. I can get over the fact that my toaster doesn’t come to life at night and desire adventures to find me with my vacuum cleaner and desk lamp. There is no face to these objects, no way to see myself in their place. I can put on a lamp shade, but it doesn’t make me feel like a lamp. However, I can identify with this sex doll, she looks like someone, she acts like someone, she just isn’t someone. I think that going forward the use of robotics in the home that emulate us is going to bring up a lot of ethical issues that I look forward to discussing. It’s not cheap to talk about the sex dolls or irrelevant, they just happen to be the industry that got attention in the western world first. The porn industry gave us a choice on VCR over beta, now they gave us this. What are we going to do with it and how are we going to set the stage for the next better version of Blu-Ray sex dolls if you will? Just a thought.