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Mitt Romney does not approve of this either
October 16, 2007 12:51 AM   Subscribe

"Darling, I have a headache, why not use your robot?"
posted by bicyclefish (107 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Ha, so what happens when 2 robots want to marry? Do they cheat with a human?

The whole immortals owning property is another side effect, and how about their offspring, will they put us out of work? Or just make batteries out of everyone.
posted by IronWolve at 1:01 AM on October 16, 2007


"Because I get tired of changing the reservoir, honey. I don't have to do that when we do it."
posted by Mikey-San at 1:02 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mitt Romney does not approve of this either

In 2050, he'll be Cyborg Mitt Romney and will obey all my commands.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:05 AM on October 16, 2007


If we're talking about legalization of marriage with robots, then it should be "Darling, I have a headache, why not use your human?"
posted by grouse at 1:29 AM on October 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


So some guy writes his PhD dissertation and Livescience turns it into news?

Sci-fi has ruminated on human-robot sex for quite a while. All this guy did was throw out an entirely arbitrary number.

Oh, and if the evangelical Right is so steamed at homosexuality, which at least has a long documented history, how do you think human-robot sexuality will be viewed?

Perhaps the implicit assumption is that the conservative Christian ethos won't exist in 43 years?
posted by switchsonic at 1:41 AM on October 16, 2007


I like the 'Roomba' reference. I mean, it's already got that vacuum thing going... just needs the right attachment.
posted by MtDewd at 1:43 AM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I like the 'Roomba' reference. I mean, it's already got that vacuum thing going... just needs the right attachment.

DO NOT WANT
posted by grouse at 1:44 AM on October 16, 2007 [5 favorites]


Lol I'm surprised Yahoo didn't put this on the front page. Very unlike them.
posted by Defenestrator at 1:57 AM on October 16, 2007


Of the hundreds of ways to get laid
There is one way no partner's betrayed.
But Cylon-sex with sweet Six?
That's a sure swim down the Styx.
(I'd sooner Roomba with Rosie the maid.)
posted by rob511 at 2:20 AM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Did you notice what went wrong in that scene? Ordinarily Billy would work hard to make money from his paper route then he'd use the money to buy dinner for Mavis, thus earning the slim chance of performing the reproductive act. But in a world where teens can date robots why should he bother? Why should anyone bother? Let's take a look at Billy's planet a year later. Where are all the football stars? And where are the biochemists? They are trapped – trapped in a soft, vice-like grip of robot lips. All civilisation was just an effort to impress the opposite sex. And sometimes the same sex. Now, let's skip forward 80 years into the future. Where is Billy?

Don't date robots!
posted by TheDonF at 2:50 AM on October 16, 2007 [15 favorites]


Editor: Demographics research shows significant interest spikes in the areas of gay marriage, artificial intelligence, and sex dolls. Anyone think they can string an article together from that?
Charles Choi: [a la Harvey Birdman] I'll take the case!
posted by hjo3 at 3:16 AM on October 16, 2007


"Levy is currently writing a paper on the ethical treatment of robots. When it comes to sex and love with robots, "the ethical issues on how to treat them are something we'll have to consider very seriously, and they're very complicated issues," Levy said."

This point puzzles me. Do they mean to say that how we use robots is a thorny ethical issue? That would make sense; how I use my car is a thorny ethical issue. How I treat it? Not so much. My car, as an inanimate thing, has no moral standing. Why would a robot? It'd be just a more complex thing.

Granted, I suppose the guy assumes that robots will be conscious, but that seems unwarranted.
posted by oddman at 3:45 AM on October 16, 2007


Robot mates...that means fewer humans, right? That's exactly what this planet desperately needs. So science will find a way to save the earth! A sweet, warm, pumpkin-pie scented way of saving the planet!
posted by maxwelton at 3:47 AM on October 16, 2007


Random dude makes wild, unsupported prediction! Video at 11!
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:50 AM on October 16, 2007


Marriage implies informed consent - otherwise we wouldn't call it that, it'd just be ownership.

So we have to ask why would a robot smart enough to be considered able to rationally consider 'the question', want to marry one of us?

Being human, we will only consider machines capable of this level of thought when they are already, in reality, vastly in advance of our own intellect.

So why does a super-intelligent machine want to marry meat?

I don't think she does. I think she wants to fuck around, 'cos I think she's a fucking whore.

QED.
posted by The Monkey at 3:56 AM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


"There's a trend of robots becoming more human-like in appearance and coming more in contact with humans," Levy said.

Wow, Levy, it's amazing the way you notice two things
posted by shokod at 4:26 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hmm, courier font worked on preview. Oh well. I guess TheDonF beat me to it anyway
posted by shokod at 4:27 AM on October 16, 2007


Pak chooie unf. Pak chooie unf.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:27 AM on October 16, 2007


...once you have a story like 'I had sex with a robot, and it was great!' appear someplace like Cosmo magazine, I'd expect many people to jump on the bandwagon.

So to speak.
posted by DU at 4:29 AM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one who suspects that David Levy is a great big robophile, and that his whole dissertation was just one long wankfest? Not that there's anything wrong with that, but jeeze, a little bit of subtlety can go a long way.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:18 AM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think this will be a bad thing if it happens (and it probably will, RealDolls are already here). Can you imagine how much of an asshole someone who spends their whole life around robots programmed to acquiesce to their every wish will be when dealing with other humans?
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 5:22 AM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Can you imagine how much of an asshole someone who spends their whole life around robots programmed to acquiesce to their every wish will be when dealing with other humans?

Why would they have to deal with other humans?
posted by DU at 5:30 AM on October 16, 2007


This is just the liberal media pushing the Robosexual Agenda.
posted by Tenuki at 5:46 AM on October 16, 2007


"It may sound a little weird, but it isn't," Levy said. "Love and sex with robots are inevitable."

With logic like that, I'm surprised they even made him defend his thesis. He says it's true, so how could it not be true?
posted by scottreynen at 6:26 AM on October 16, 2007


DO NOT WANT.

I consider myself as open-minded as any other here, and maybe I'm influenced by my love for the Chobits manga series, but the whole concept of robot sex definitely squicks me out. And I, for one, have yet to notice a trend/increased interest in robot sex, and I would've assumed that the desperately horny teenage demographic of which I am a part would be the first portion of the human population to embrace the idea of getting tail regardless of our less-than-charming personality.

Maybe it's because I am staunchly pro-choice that I'm against this. If the programming for something is so advanced to the point where people are willing to marry it, and the only difference between the robot mind and the human mind is the robot's lack of ability to create (not much difference, some might argue =__=), yet we are still declaring ownership over it, then it's much too similar to slavery for my tastes.

Gah, I'm having issues articulating my distaste for this.

I have no problems with auto-eroticism or whatever you want to do to satisfy your cravings on those lonely nights, but when it gets to a point where you're replacing one of, arguably, the basic human purposes (reproduction) with a mechanical being that it gets questionable. No matter how realistic the programs are, they're not human. They cannot feel. And yet the reliability of the robots, the guaranteed success will make them preferable to (I imagine) a number of individuals. How far will we go to ignore our fellows? How much are you willing to pay to offset your assholish behaviour to 'get some' while not changing your personality one whit?

And I mean. Those who take the easy way out early on in life and then ultimately find out that they're craving real companionship, and realize they have no fucking clue how to deal with people? Ugh. Are we trying to speed up the decline of the western civilization? /overly snarky.
I definitely fail to see how this is inevitable. I hope this isn't.
posted by Phire at 6:43 AM on October 16, 2007


If at least one person has ever had sex with a robot, does that make the phrase "Love and sex with robots are inevitable" true? Because one time wandering the alleys of Prague I walked in into exactly this.
posted by Dr. Curare at 6:46 AM on October 16, 2007


Metafilter: trapped in a soft, vice-like grip of robot lips.
posted by jquinby at 7:12 AM on October 16, 2007


Metafilter: Because one time wandering the alleys of Prague...
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:14 AM on October 16, 2007


The whole immortals owning property...

... is called "Corporations."
posted by lodurr at 7:20 AM on October 16, 2007


But Seriously, Folks, the idea is much weirder than it sounds. Along the lines of what The Monkey outlined, consider that if we have robots capable of wanting marriage or wanting sex, they'd be that way because we made them that way.

They wouldn't be humans. Humans want those things because of our tangled evolutionary history. We have all all kinds of twisted and intertwined reasons for wanting to screw and shack up, that simply don't apply to robots. No, they'll go after those things because we designed them to.

If the robots evolve on their own, or are designed to a functional end, there's no reason at all to suppose that there'd be robot "marriage." "Mating", perhaps, but only in the sense that a man "mates" with his iPod or his laptop.
posted by lodurr at 7:27 AM on October 16, 2007


TheDonF

we had the same idea...
I Dated a Robot!
posted by slapshot57 at 7:33 AM on October 16, 2007


Humans could marry robots within the century. And consummate those vows.

"My forecast is that around 2050, the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots," artificial intelligence researcher David Levy at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands told LiveScience.


Will they consummate those vows in flying cars?

Sorry, there is a difference between noticing trends, making valid predictions and rampant, silly future-predicting. We don't eat lab grown meat yet, we don't fly around in cars, we don't live in futuristic stacked up cities with moving sidewalks. And you know what? In 40 years, maybe a lot more of us will be having sex with robots. But no, marriage is not going to happen.

Also, I think it was particularly retarded to predict that it will be Massechusetts will be the first to pass the law.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:43 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


...when it gets to a point where you're replacing one of, arguably, the basic human purposes (reproduction) with a mechanical being that it gets questionable.

So vibrators are questionable?

I think it's funny, but hardly cause to yell at the kids on my lawn.
posted by DU at 7:49 AM on October 16, 2007


Haven't we already been over this?
posted by louche mustachio at 7:50 AM on October 16, 2007


...once you have a story like 'I had sex with a robot, and it was great!' appear someplace like Cosmo magazine, I'd expect many people to jump on the bandwagon.

Ridiculous. "I had sex with a real doll and it was great!" - I'm curious where this guy grew up/went to high school. I think we'll see mass acceptance for plushies and adult babies before we see everyone "jumping on the robot-sex bandwagon." At least the other freaks are scoring with actual humans. (that's how I see John Q. Public/CNN framing it.)

I'm definitely with Faint of Butt. This guy wants to bang some robot ass. The fact that it made the news is fucking hilarious. 2050 is coming!!

There will obviously be sex with robots somebody. We've fucked everything else that moves on this damn planet. The idea that robots will be acceptable sex partners/spouses in 40 years seems like wild conjecture. Sure, anything could happen. So write a sci-fi novel.

The more I consider this article, the more I think it's viral marketing for Lars and the Real Doll. Kudos, Charles Choi. That's serious under-the-radar marketing.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:52 AM on October 16, 2007


He just said 'Massachusetts' because it rhymes with 'Maastricht'.

Aside: Charles Quixote [yes, really] Choi. Wow, what a name. And what is he -- twelve?! (<jealousy />)
posted by lodurr at 7:54 AM on October 16, 2007


At least the other freaks are scoring with actual humans.

Yes, but they're actual human freaks. Instead of clean, hygenic robots.

Anyway, once you've had a lover-mecha...
posted by lodurr at 7:55 AM on October 16, 2007


(mrgrimm, I peeked at Choi's pub list. SciAm pays pretty well. He'd be insanely stupid to throw away his reputation for a quick PR buck. So it might tie in well, but I doubt that Choi's in on the gag if that's what it is.)
posted by lodurr at 7:58 AM on October 16, 2007


And yet the reliability of the robots, the guaranteed success will make them preferable to (I imagine) a number of individuals.

This idea seems ludicrous to me. I can see robots evolving into decent sex partners, but *even* if they could simulate the exact feel of a woman's skin, breasts, vagina, etc., do you really think that it would be *preferable* to a human?

I mean, I know that some women stink in bed, but the spontaneity and endless creativity of the human mind ("now spit on me and grab my tits hard") seems hard to duplicate.

Also, I may be more so inclined than others, but I can't be the only person who loves to pleasure their partners. One of the biggest turn-ons for me is the act of making someone else aroused/excited/orgasm. I'm sure a robot could simulate arousal very well, but if I *know* it's not an actual woman getting off, I would definitely be less excited.

Don't get me wrong. I'll happily give robot fucking a college try. It certainly would be a less awkward way for shy couples to find threesomes/group sex.

I'm simply *very* doubtful that any significant portion of the population will prefer sex with robots. I'll be dead by 2050 anyway, so someone will have to send me a grave-o-gram to let me know how it goes.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:03 AM on October 16, 2007


I want more head, fucker!
posted by squirrel at 8:04 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also...

"One hundred years ago, interracial marriage and same-sex marriages were illegal in the United States. Interracial marriage has been legal now for 50 years, and same-sex marriage is legal in some parts of the states," Levy said. "There has been this trend in marriage where each partner gets to make their own choice of who they want to be with."

Am I the only one picking up on the subtle implication that in this story the current same-sex marriage debate is being framed as a slippery slope?
posted by squirrel at 8:11 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't know. What I'm getting is that Levy isn't thinking very hard about what's supposed to be his area of expertise. He's like a bad comedy writer trying to do SF.
posted by lodurr at 8:21 AM on October 16, 2007


So vibrators are questionable?

Not at all, but then again, vibrators aren't necessarily being marketed as being the replacement for a partner, are they? Sure, many claim to get better satisfaction from a vibrator than from their partner (maybe somewhat vindictively), but at the end the day, a vibrator is a tool you can hold in your hand, not something or someone you can curl up next to for emotional support.

Or maybe it is; to each their own.


mrgrimm, I agree with all of those points - but again, I'm not necessarily looking at the majority of the human demographic and more the portion that doesnt' care about getting their partner off, that doesn't give a damn about the other person's pleasure as long as they themselves get off. You know they exist; I've spent countless hours listening to friends bemoan these people. If they're offered an alternative to courtship and being "Good, giving and game", wouldn't they take that chance? Some people I know certainly would *shrugs* I agree that a robot will never be able to replace human feel, but a robot is easy and a robot is there.

And that's my point exactly. when said assholes, arguably the minority, grow out of their "omgme!" attitude and want a real relationship, where do they draw their social skill and experiences from, if all they've ever had - and were happy with - was a robot?
posted by Phire at 8:26 AM on October 16, 2007


Not at all, but then again, vibrators aren't necessarily being marketed as being the replacement for a partner, are they?

Then what are they, and other sex toys, for?

Sure, many claim to get better satisfaction from a vibrator than from their partner (maybe somewhat vindictively), but at the end the day, a vibrator is a tool you can hold in your hand, not something or someone you can curl up next to for emotional support.

So the argument against robots is that you don't get emotional support from them whereas the argument FOR vibrators is that you don't get emotional support from?

I think you are just squicked out (or confused) about robots, sex aside. Non-aware robots are just machines. Aware robots are conscious beings. Neither one is squick-worthy.
posted by DU at 8:33 AM on October 16, 2007


Nuh uh, the argument for vibrators is that it's non-humanoid and clear about not being a replacement for a partner, whereas the argument against robots is that it tries to provide a semblance of emotional support where as any support you would get from the computer program would be fake. If people derive comfort from Man Pillows I'm sure it's not too much of a stretch to think that people would derive false comfort from robots.

And by the way, I have no issues with the fact that I am confused and squicked out about robots. I also think the concept of a man pillow is ridiculous, but the lack of sex with said pillow makes me slightly less wary and I think of it as a stuffed animal only.
posted by Phire at 8:50 AM on October 16, 2007


...the argument against robots is that it tries to provide a semblance of emotional support...

No, robots try to make it make suspension of disbelief a little easier by consisting of more than a vibrating stick. With arms and legs and a head and skin and hair and everything, it's easier to pretend (and more physically satisfying) that you have a real human there with you. And while there are weirdos who dress up their RealDolls and seem to think it's a real person, I'm guessing the majority of users just like having more than a single body part replicated so they have a little more variety and realism.
posted by DU at 8:57 AM on October 16, 2007


So would you be a proponent of making suspension of disbelief easier for people if it meant a decreased in actual human interactions? It's true that it's hrad to pretend that a vibrating stick is human, and that a humanoid shape makes said pretense easier, but would you want it to be easier to avoid human interaction?

(I somehow get the idea we're arguing on the same side of the fence, but maybe that's just me)
posted by Phire at 9:07 AM on October 16, 2007


You're all missing the most important question here: Do I buy one five hundred dollar robo-hooker or five hundred one dollar robo-hookers?
posted by OldReliable at 9:09 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not arguing for anything. I'm just saying that having sex with machine A is no squickier than having sex with machine B.
posted by DU at 9:10 AM on October 16, 2007


mrgrimm writes "I'm simply *very* doubtful that any significant portion of the population will prefer sex with robots."

Which is fine if everyone was getting as much sex as they desired with another human. Unfortunately not even close to being the case. IMO the only reason we haven't seen an explosion of real doll ownership is they cost the same as a good used car. If they could get them down to the cost of a weekend fling they'd be everywhere.
posted by Mitheral at 9:17 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Teledildonics
posted by Pollomacho at 9:33 AM on October 16, 2007


She is the latest in technology
Almost mythology
But she has a heart stone
She has an I.Q. of 1001
She has a jumpsuit on
And she's also a telephone.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:36 AM on October 16, 2007


IMO the only reason we haven't seen an explosion of real doll ownership is they cost the same as a good used car. If they could get them down to the cost of a weekend fling they'd be everywhere.

They'll let you rent a car for a weekend fling.

By the way Mitheral can I borrow your car, just for a couple of hours, tops, probably no more than a spin around the block frankly?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:41 AM on October 16, 2007


I would fuck a robot, but only if it didn't start crying in the middle of it all again. Why does that happen every goddamn time?
posted by jonson at 9:47 AM on October 16, 2007


Wow, once this hits the market girls are really going to have start putting out.
posted by greytape at 9:51 AM on October 16, 2007


Investing in battery companies now.
posted by Samizdata at 9:55 AM on October 16, 2007


Oh.

No fat droids!
posted by Samizdata at 9:55 AM on October 16, 2007


I'm simply *very* doubtful that any significant portion of the population will prefer sex with robots.

Just wait until BlowBot 5000 gets ahold of you... it'll suck your shoes out through your dick.

You'll never go back.
posted by BobFrapples at 10:09 AM on October 16, 2007


Am I the only one picking up on the subtle implication that in this story the current same-sex marriage debate is being framed as a slippery slope?

No...the way Levy was comparing marrying a robot to interracial and/or same-sex marriages is extremely disturbing. That is what squicked me out the most in the article. It's almost like he was dehumanizing gay people & black people. If it's ok to marry them, then what's wrong with marrying a robot? I mean...you know...other than the fact that it's a robot.
posted by tastybrains at 10:29 AM on October 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


This hardly seems worth pointing out, but you can't marry an inanimate object. The End.
posted by jokeefe at 10:41 AM on October 16, 2007


Which is fine if everyone was getting as much sex as they desired with another human. Unfortunately not even close to being the case. IMO the only reason we haven't seen an explosion of real doll ownership is they cost the same as a good used car. If they could get them down to the cost of a weekend fling they'd be everywhere.

Jesus, no. I mean, I can't imagine that this is even remotely true.
posted by jokeefe at 10:45 AM on October 16, 2007


The real market will be robots made to look like celebrities of the day, or of history.

If you don't think people would pay top dollar to hump a near-perfect, seemingly-sentient, willing, animated reproduction of 2001 Britney Spears or a 1959 Marilyn Monroe, or a insert-your-favorite-celebrity-here you are badly, badly, mistaken.

jokeefe: are you arguing that cost has nothing to do with it? I would expect Realdolls are "normal" goods, and would respond like you would expect in economics. As the price drops, consumption would almost certainly increase. I mean, I would buy a Realdoll if they were $20.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:58 AM on October 16, 2007


Computers and machines can only be toys, not partners.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 11:04 AM on October 16, 2007


what
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:11 AM on October 16, 2007


Just the other night I was watching this 80's b movie, cherry 2000, wherein melanie griffith takes a city dweller out to an abandoned post apocalypse vegas, to pick up spare parts for his robo-wife.
It's one of those flicks so bad, I watched it in fast forward, just stopping for fight/driving scenes, so I'm not clear on how socially acceptable his lifestyle was long term, but it's not something he's keeping secret from his co-workers.
Of course, by the end of the movie, he's in love with human melanie, and abandons the robot to the sand pirates.
posted by nomisxid at 11:26 AM on October 16, 2007


Not exactly marrying a robot but there is a new movie about dating a Real Doll. It's a slippery slope.
posted by Tenuki at 11:29 AM on October 16, 2007


Great, first we allowed blacks and whites to marry, next we'll let the gays marry, then it's just a couple of years to human-robot sex and then inevitably human-robot dog sex.

Why do you think the Aibo is so popular?
posted by quin at 11:37 AM on October 16, 2007


Ya but that was slightly creepy robot vs. hot Melanie Griffith, a rigger no less. If Melanie had been played by Annie Wilkes/Kathy Bates would the outcome have been the same?
posted by Mitheral at 11:37 AM on October 16, 2007


They wouldn't be humans. Humans want those things because of our tangled evolutionary history. We have all all kinds of twisted and intertwined reasons for wanting to screw and shack up, that simply don't apply to robots. No, they'll go after those things because we designed them

Nobody cares why you want to do anything, it's simply enough that the desire exists and is genuine. Appeals to "magical, invisible evolutionary that's the way God made us for a reason" are never convincing, they're the old naturalistic fallacy. As for robot-human sex it's one of those things where the distinctions are already a lot weaker than many realize. Humans can fall in love with just about anything as the old myth suggests. Love isn't some kind of legal relationship requiring consent nor is it some kind functional machine that serves some "purpose" like reproduction; it's simply a connection from A to B. The RealDoll isn't some bold new invention, it's the latest in a very long line of 'human substitutes'. Today it's already perfectly acceptable to fall in love "online" so, yes, it's not that difficult to imagine a day when it'd be considered perfectly normal to have strong feelings for a "doll" so long as the relationship isn't obviously self-destructive. (This is the same standard applied to trad human-human relationships.) The normalization of such relationships would probably help far more than they hurt especially if participants are completely ostracized.
posted by nixerman at 11:52 AM on October 16, 2007


It’d be good for keeping the birth rate down.
More human women for me woo hoo!

...so what’s the BDSM scene like with robots? I mean, it could just snap any bonds like spaghetti really.
I think some humans are just wired in ways incompatable with robots (e.g. myself and apparently mrgrimm get off on getting others off) and it’s those humans who quite likely will be the ones reproducing.
So, past 2050 or so, say 2150 people will be saying “Screw a robot? What’s the point? It doesn’t cum.”
Of course by that time we might well have replicant humans which is a far more vast (and real) ethical dilemma.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:57 AM on October 16, 2007


Nobody cares why you want to do anything, it's simply enough that the desire exists and is genuine.

No, it's not that simple, and that should be obvious.

Your reasons for doing a thing are seldom what you think they are. And furthermore, they usually color whether or not you regard yourself as having been successful.

Sex is a fantastic example. Do you want sex? Well, why do you want sex? If you just address the superficial desire for sex, in most cases you will end up not having actually satisfied very much.

When you look at "non-trad" relationships, the reasons for being in them matter even more than with "traditional" relationships -- not less.

Anyway, what does "genuine" mean? Does that mean that you "genuinely" understand what the desire really is? When any desire that we would glorify with the name "desire" is really a complex of things, and we'd have to name them all and judge their "genuineness" and satisfy them in turn....

To say that our desires can be understood apart from our reasons for experiencing them -- that's just a really, really strange thing to say. I don't see how you can get anywhere useful with that as your starting point.
posted by lodurr at 12:06 PM on October 16, 2007


I'm just going to make out with my Marilyn Monrobot.
posted by jon_kill at 12:09 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately not even close to being the case. IMO the only reason we haven't seen an explosion of real doll ownership is they cost the same as a good used car.

Oh, I agree. If these fucking robots are $100 (and any good) they'll sell millions.

I don't believe the fucking robots will be cheaper than used cars (or whatever replaces cars) anytime this century

... more the portion that doesnt' care about getting their partner off, that doesn't give a damn about the other person's pleasure as long as they themselves get off. You know they exist; I've spent countless hours listening to friends bemoan these people.

Better they fuck robots than become serial date rapists.

I, for one, welcome our new fucking robot overlords.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:19 PM on October 16, 2007


Nobody cares why you want to do anything

lodurr responded well, but you know that's a ludicrous statement, right?

take sex (again), for example. an attractive woman propositions you at a bar. she wants you to take her home and fuck her silly.

does she want to have sex to:

a) share a pleasurable experience (insert your own lame description)
b) get pregnant
c) infect me with an STD because (unbeknownst to me), i accidentally drove over her dog when i was a teenager

I think I care why she wants to have sex with me.

I think I understand what you're trying to say, but you might rephrase. IMO, motive is everything and authenticity/genuineness is a myth. Perhaps we may agree, but you confused me.

Anyway, I'll bet we're going to have cock-sucking devices in automobiles before we get fully animated sex robots. Surely they will arrive by 2040! Vermont will be the first!
posted by mrgrimm at 12:27 PM on October 16, 2007


Better they fuck robots than become serial date rapists.


Oh, hell yes. But let's just be prepared for the changes that will result from easy access to robosex and other wonderful technological advancements.

Genie's out, after all. Can't put him back in.
posted by lodurr at 12:36 PM on October 16, 2007


I'll be really disappointed if someone doesn't find a way to make fun of what I just said.
posted by lodurr at 12:37 PM on October 16, 2007


Better they fuck robots than become serial date rapists.

Are those the only options?

Just remember folks, robot sex is not necessarily safe sex. Why does it hurt when I pee?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:46 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Now, Pollomacho, you know it was that Catholic tramp Mary who gave Joe the Gon-o-ka-ka-khackus. If he'd just gone with the XQJ-37 in the first place, he'd have been just fine.
posted by lodurr at 12:56 PM on October 16, 2007


Lucille from the Jack-in-the-Box actually, but point taken. However, it was the design flaws of the XQJ-37 Nuclear Powered Pan-Sexual Roto-Plooker, Sy Borg, that get's Joe locked up. Streck aus deinem heißen gelockten!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:06 PM on October 16, 2007


Magical Pig!

(Ich bin gehoren dass es spricht feuer, nicht wahr?)
posted by lodurr at 1:33 PM on October 16, 2007


I think I care why she wants to have sex with me.

It's simply impossible to peer into people and decipher their "true motives." Only God can see into the human heart and he doesn't actually exist. So positions derived from the "true motives" of people are simply not practical. And when it comes to something as complicated and messy as relationships you've entered into a very, very dark zone where any requirements about motivations is just wishful thinking. As far as robots are concerned, if the robots are sufficiently complex, it'd be difficult to deny the existence of robot desire anymore than we can deny the existence of human desire. This sort of distinction is never neat and crisp as one would like. And here it's not necessarily the real issue since love doesn't need to be "returned" to be valid. The love a man might develop for a "doll" is functionally indistinguishable -- to external observers -- from the love he might develop for another human being. Only the man has any chance at all of knowing what's really "in his heart" and if he insists it's true love then who are you to deny that? We may deem that the man is "sick" but this isn't any sort of medical opinion it's just our deeply held beliefs at work.

(Of course everybody thinks men would take advantage of this but I suspect women would be the first to develop authentic intimate relationships with robots. Shit, I hear so much about "lowered expectations" these days that I imagine such a man-doll wouldn't even need to be very intelligent to satisfy many women. Taking out the trash and not snoring would likely be enough.)

The strongest moral objection to robot sex is that you have a problem with it because where you were raised people simply didn't have sex with robots. This is a valid and reasonable objection; it's not unlike many people who are still very uncomfortable with gay sex. But this is largely your problem and though such things may trouble you very deeply you don't have much basis for condemning the behavior in others. This isn't so much a matter of morals as it is of mores. When it comes to relationships in particular there's already so many factors that seem perfectly normal to us but would leave a person born just 100 years ago totally in shock. We are already seeing love and relationships go online into virtual worlds; from there I imagine it's only a hop, skip and a jump being in love a completely technological creature.
posted by nixerman at 1:33 PM on October 16, 2007


It's simply impossible to peer into people and decipher their "true motives."

Which is both absolutely true and quite beside the point.

I don't personally care about the morality of it. I care about what we'll think (and feel) about it. Quite different issues.
posted by lodurr at 1:48 PM on October 16, 2007


MetaFilter: How much are you willing to pay to offset your assholish behaviour to 'get some' while not changing your personality one whit?

This thread, it is a goldmine.
posted by jquinby at 2:06 PM on October 16, 2007


Everybody quit looking at me like that. I'm not that kind of robot.
posted by Comrade_robot at 2:07 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


... Where is Billy?

Don't date robots!


Link (I didn't see it posted ...)
posted by mrgrimm at 2:12 PM on October 16, 2007


I'm just going to make out with my Marilyn Monrobot too.
posted by hellphish at 2:27 PM on October 16, 2007


If you don't think people would pay top dollar to hump a near-perfect, seemingly-sentient, willing, animated reproduction of 2001 Britney Spears or a 1959 Marilyn Monroe, or a insert-your-favorite-celebrity-here you are badly, badly, mistaken.

jokeefe: are you arguing that cost has nothing to do with it? I would expect Realdolls are "normal" goods, and would respond like you would expect in economics. As the price drops, consumption would almost certainly increase. I mean, I would buy a Realdoll if they were $20.


Um. Wow. I'm not even sure where to begin.

Given that I am female, some of the sentiments in this thread are really.... well, let's just say that I hope I'm not giving men, in general, the benefit of the doubt when I assume that they would, by and large, like to have intimate relationships with other human beings, you know?

I cannot for the life of me imagine how anyone could find any kind of satisfaction by fucking an object, no matter how much is resembled a person (and replicant type robots indistinguishable from human beings are the realm of utter fantasy; not gonna happen).

Of course maybe the whole idea is that the robot is purely an object: a Britney Spears shaped object with no feelings, or ideas, or pesky needs of her own. You would seriously have sexual contact with something like that? Honestly?

I just don't get the mindset. I really don't.
posted by jokeefe at 5:36 PM on October 16, 2007


It may not be understandable but it is reality. For example I doubt a relationship, intimate or otherwise, is what Hugh Grant was looking for when he hooked up with Divine.

To paraphrase Dennis Miller: "You know, folks, the day an unemployed ironworker can lie in his BarcaLounger with a Foster’s in one hand and a channel-flicker in the other life like robot beside him and fuck Claudia Schiffer for $19.95, it’s gonna make crack look like Sanka - there will be some people no one ever sees again."
posted by Mitheral at 6:02 PM on October 16, 2007


“I cannot for the life of me imagine how anyone could find any kind of satisfaction by fucking an object...”

You’re a woman you say? That’d be it right there. *grin*
Men do have a lower threshold for suspension of disbelief in many ways tho’. In fact this explains a great many things.
And there’s a difference between release and satisfaction. I can see buying a realdoll. Not for me really, but I get it. Some guys release is ok. Others resign themselves to it. Me, I got lucky to have a wife about as crazy randy as I am so we don’t get out much and our windows fog up a lot. (Why buy something you’re going to wear out in a few weeks?)
But some men aren’t that lucky. Or they can’t or won’t weather all that emotional interaction and baggage, or don’t enjoy it. Some are just beat down tho.

I have a buddy who as far back as I’ve known him, through high school, through the military, college, etc. etc. has been really hosed by women again and again.
I mean really hosed. Like bad. Like real bad. In sucession. And I say this completely objectively and in no way pejoratively against women, it’s just the truth. And he’s a very nice, decent looking man. Never treated a woman with disrespect. And it’s never been his fault (excepting maybe his judge of character).
Even my female friends and his have shaken their heads and said “Damn you got screwed, man. That bitch.” Every time.
He’s told me that he plans to never have another woman again. And I can’t fault him. It’s not like he hasn’t tried to make relationships work. Bear in mind - I’ve been through just about any and all “but’s” anyone might raise in hearing this story.
He has a large group of friends and family too, so it’s not like I have to be the smartest guy in the world - they’d’ve thought of anything I missed - they’re ALL with me on this. His mom is disappointed, but she totally understands it.

Real doll, robots, etc. - that’d be for guys like him.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:28 PM on October 16, 2007


jokeefe: you're seeing some sort of binary choice where none is required. I don't have to choose between a real woman and a robotic masturbatory aid.

I can have a happy, satisfied, emotionally fulfilled relationship with a woman, and still want to jack off. Does that mean there's something wrong with me?

How many women are in happy, healthy, committed relationships and yet still use vibrators? Is there something wrong with them?

Just because I would like to "get off" by viscerally fucking a robotic Britney does not mean I'm broken or missing a chromosome.

It just means sometimes getting off is fun.

But, in truth, I was mainly arguing with the economics of your statement. Regardless of what you think of them, it stands to reason that if they cost $100 instead of $5000 (or whatever) then consumption would go up.

And probably a lot.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:53 PM on October 16, 2007


Everyone seems to be assuming they'd be, ultimately, inanimate; Windows 2056 in mechano-hominid form. What if we have proper AI, and said machines are actually conscious, or at least able to fake it as well as we do?

I don't think 40 years is an especially whacky figure to consider for strong AI, either grown or uploaded. Uploads are probably the easiest thing to think about; the robot effectively then becomes a prosthetic body. What happens to your squick then?
posted by Freaky at 9:55 PM on October 16, 2007


I like the 'Roomba' reference. I mean, it's already got that vacuum thing going... just needs the right attachment.

Note to self: Never buy a used Roomba from eBay. ewww
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 3:29 AM on October 17, 2007


"What I want now is gentleness, and joy, and love. .. From you Data, you are fully functional, aren't you ?"
"Of course, but .."
"How fully ?"
"In every way of course. I am programmed in multiple techiques. A broad variety of pleasuring."
"Oh, you jewel, that's exactly what I hoped."

-- Yar and Data in ST:TNG "The Naked Now"

Because I am a Next Gen tragic, and because it was the first thing I thought of.
posted by h00py at 5:47 AM on October 17, 2007


actually, strike the 'and because'.
posted by h00py at 5:48 AM on October 17, 2007


Smeldleyman: Men do have a lower threshold for suspension of disbelief in many ways tho’.

OK, time out: That's pretty much the deal, as far as I can see. What the whole "robot sex" thing is about is imagining that the robot is a human. To do that, we want to be able to imput human-like emotions to it -- to have it model human emotional response. Or in the case of a Real Doll, for it to be deeply enough penetrated into the Uncanny Valley that we can project human emotional response onto it.

So, what this gets down to is that when we talk about "robot sex", and even if we're talking about Real Dolls (why else would you bother to make them so Real™?), what we're doing is making somethng we can more easily pretend is human. So we can pretend to have a relationship with it. But that things motives --- and hence, the choices it will make -- are not likely to be what we suppose them to be. As Gibson put it more than 20 years ago, in Neuromancer:
"Motive," the [Dixie Flatline] construct said. "Real motive problem, with an Al. Not human, see?"

"Well, yeah, obviously."

"Nope. I mean, it's not human. And you can't get a handle on it. Me, I'm not human either, but I respond like one. See?"

"Wait a sec," Case said. "Are you sentient, or not?"

"Well, it feels like I am, kid, but I'm really just a bunch of ROM. It's one of them, ah, philosophical questions, I guess...." The ugly laughter sensation rattled down Case's spine. "But I ain't likely to write you no poem, if you follow me. Your AI, it just might. But it ain't no way human."

"So you figure we can't get on to its motive?"

"It own itself?"

"Swiss citizen, but T-A own the basic software and the mainframe."

"That's a good one," the construct said. "Like, I own your brain and what you know, but your thoughts have Swiss citizenship. Sure. Lotsa luck, AI."
All this having been said, yes, there are people (men and women) who will tell you with all apparent sincerety that they are just in it for the sexual sensation. There are probably a lot of them. Emotional connections get in their way. Or at least, that's what they insist -- since that's directly contrary to my own experience of the world, I have a hard time crediting the assertion.

I am pretty confident, though that those those are not the people who are the primary market for Real Dolls. If you're really just in it for the sensation, you wouldn't give a crap about that level of realism.
posted by lodurr at 6:16 AM on October 17, 2007


what we're doing is making somethng we can more easily pretend is human

Mr. treehorn treats objects like women, man!
posted by Pollomacho at 6:33 AM on October 17, 2007


I can have a happy, satisfied, emotionally fulfilled relationship with a woman, and still want to jack off. Does that mean there's something wrong with me?

How many women are in happy, healthy, committed relationships and yet still use vibrators? Is there something wrong with them?

Just because I would like to "get off" by viscerally fucking a robotic Britney does not mean I'm broken or missing a chromosome.


Your hand does not equal a replica of a human being. Neither does a vibrator. Fantasy does not equal material reality.

The robot fantasy seems to be to be nothing more or less than a fantasy of slavery made legitimate.

I'm sorry, but admitting that you would get off on fucking a woman-shaped machine... I find that kind of horrifying, actually. Being a genuine woman, and all.
posted by jokeefe at 10:38 AM on October 17, 2007


What if he bought it (her) flowers first? Took it for an oil change?

I kid, I kid!
posted by Pollomacho at 10:41 AM on October 17, 2007


By "fantasy does not equal material reality" I mean that whatever goes on in your head while you're jerking off with hand or vibrator-- well, that's your own private business.

The desire-- or the unexamined thought that "hey that would rock!"-- when presented with the possibilty of fucking a replica of a woman identical in every way to her real counterpart except for, you know, that pesky sentience, free will, personality and her own desires: that's just really fucking dismaying. Again, what we are talking about here is a fantasy of a kind of perfected slavery.
posted by jokeefe at 10:41 AM on October 17, 2007


jokeefe, the deepest and most profound fantasy of a lot of geeks is that they reaaly, truly don't need any of those "people"-things that they have such trouble relating to.

So, really, I think at least as much as slavery, there's a profound desire to make solipsism a viable strategy. "Every man is an island," as it were. (What a guy I used to run into now and then liked to call "monosexualism.")
posted by lodurr at 11:06 AM on October 17, 2007


Still - uncanny valley aside - clones? Is it ok to have sex with a flesh and blood non-autonomous, perhaps semi-sentient being?
And indeed - at what point does the level of AI sophistication become too sophisticated to “use”?
That’s the heavier issue (IMHO). People screwing poor simulacra - meh. That is, yeah, ultimately, solipsism.
People screwing advanced simulacra - what does that do to a person who’s doing it? Or society?
Whole lotta ‘yikes’ there.
I mean I talk to people with MONEY (I have money, these people have MONEY) and they’re already fairly divorced from reality (buddy of mine has a personal doctor, is of the impression universal health care would suck).

Reminds me of the rat pushing the button for stimulation of it’s pleasure sensors. The hell with the middle - whatever -(coke, heroin, sex whenever you wish). Dangerous stuff an automaton that will cater to your base desires (not what you might want per se - but the raw Id sort of stuff). It’d probably completely erode your personality and turn you into a recieving automaton.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:16 PM on October 17, 2007


I'm sorry, but admitting that you would get off on fucking a woman-shaped machine... I find that kind of horrifying, actually. Being a genuine woman, and all.

Being male, I think it's kind of funny. In a pathetic sort of way.

The desire-- or the unexamined thought that "hey that would rock!"-- when presented with the possibilty of fucking a replica of a woman identical in every way to her real counterpart except for, you know, that pesky sentience, free will, personality and her own desires: that's just really fucking dismaying.

A word of advice: either avoid getting close to men, or be prepared to get horrified and dismayed by us on a regular basis.

I think the EXAMINED thought is a lot more dismaying than the unexamined desire, which -- come on -- is just a desire. A lot of people on this thread are like, "Yeah I'd hit it, so what?" and it's all in good fun. This Levy guy had that idea, took it SERIOUSLY, and wrote an entire BOOK about how one day we all might be screwing robots. Meanwhile, people are dying of hunger.

The thought that he can garner any kind of respect or prestige among learned people -- THAT's really dismaying.
posted by Laugh_track at 2:38 PM on October 17, 2007


I'm sorry, but admitting that you would get off on fucking a woman-shaped machine... I find that kind of horrifying, actually. Being a genuine woman, and all.

Being a genuine woman myself, I think it's ridiculous to get all up in arms over the idea of a robotic Real Doll. Guess what, guys get turned on by things that look like the real thing. They get off on paper images of naked women, they get off on moving images of the real thing, and they get off on weird latex recreations of the weird thing.

The fact that some guys enjoy that sort of things has absolutely no effect on my life whatsoever. It does not lower my worth nor does it have any bearing on my daily life.

Furthermore, I think it's sickening to hear women crying foul on hypothetical, retarded shit like this when there is so much REAL, current exploitation of REAL, LIVE women in the world that you could focus on. This is why no one takes feminists seriously - because of people like you.
posted by tastybrains at 3:04 PM on October 17, 2007


Um, I meant "weird latex recreations of the REAL thing", but I guess sometimes it could be the "weird thing" too, if you're talking about certain people.
posted by tastybrains at 3:05 PM on October 17, 2007


Such robots would do a lot for certain sorts of folks with desires they are too hung-up about to share with a real human. I'm thinking especially for some masochistic types, where a robotic master (that takes the users commands, just to put an ironic twist on the picture) would be a perfect solution.

Such things wouldn't involve any notions of marriage, but very much the notion of getting those hard-to-reach buttons pushed. The whole idea of marriage with robots seems silly to me, but then, I'm not thinking of strong AI, either. I'm not especially bigoted, so to me, strong AI = sentient = autonomous = person. (Been watching STNG season 2, and that new doctor pisses me off, the way she disses Data).

Speaking of Star Trek, surprised no one has mentioned the halo-suites of DS9, which are heavily implied to be used for more carnal pleasures than typical of Picard's Enterprise halodecks.

IIRC, in Frederik Pohl's "Heeche Rendevous", we find a sex offender with a child robot, to satisfy his unhealthy needs. In the Matrix, the programmed woman one of the crew created, for amusement in their own mini-matrix. The whole cyber-sex-toy thing isn't anything new, however imagined.

tastybrains nails it, when it comes to the sexuality of the human male. We're wired to respond to visual stimuli. If it looks right, we'll want it, for whatever value of "right" suits the individual. God knows, I've been "in love" with some 2-dimensional paper males, in my remote past.

Those claiming this will cause serious social problems for some sorts of folks just might be exactly wrong. It is not impossible to suppose that such people might discover how to be social (where 'social' != looking to get laid) once the pressure is off from the Department of Gonads. At least, it might cure some zits? (LOL)
posted by Goofyy at 7:37 AM on October 18, 2007


Goofyy, I would agree that it's not warranted to assume that seeking surrogates for sexual satisfaction (say that three times fast) will inherently cause socialization problems, it's been my observation that it does more often than it doesn't.

Pohl's story is a hot-button for most folks familiar with the older ouvre. I actually haven't read it, so I don't know what Pohl's position on the matter is, but the scenario invites this question: What's a pedophile really looking for? Are they just looking for sexual gratification? Or is there a dominance or power issue involved? (FWIW I think the answer more or less has to be "it varies".) If it's a power thing, a robot's probably not going to help: He'd need to take his issues on a sentient being.

If that being is a robot, things actually get kinked considerably. For example, we could design the ([semi-]sentient) robot to "like" that situation. Potentially that leads us into a loop (if it likes being dominated, it won't be satisfying to dominate it), but experience also teaches me that some folks with dominance issues are just fine with dominating a willing sub, so that could work, too. It's just really squickie.

ST:TNG & holosex: Interesting question. I know someone who wrote some of that for TNG. I'll have to ask her what her take on it was. (She may not provide much insight, because apparently writers credits on TNG often don't really mean "X wrote this", they mean "X submitted this to the story committee.")
posted by lodurr at 8:24 AM on October 18, 2007


jokeefe: What about vibrators vs dildos? Does it horrify you if a girl uses a very realistic looking dildo? Is using a vaguely phallic sex tool okay, but once it becomes flesh colored and realistic it's now verboten?

You seem to be making some sort of very broad, sweeping assessment when it is much simpler and narrow than that. I think you're hung up on the "marrying" robots when the thread veered away from that a while back.

Would I be willing to use a sex-robot as a masturbatory aid? Sure.

Would I take it to dinner and a movie? No.

In truth, women have been much further along the "realistic sexual surrogate" continuum than men for a while now. You can buy a dildo that looks precisely like a porn star's penis, veins, coloration, a perfect replica. A guy can buy a Fleshlight. A silicone tube in a can with a circle opening on the front. Wow.

And your accusations of looking for a slave are just overreaching by a factor of 100. Is a woman looking for a sexual slave by using a dildo?

People like to get off. That's it. Really. That's it. If someone finds something that helps them get off more/easier, then they will like and use that thing. No overthinking necessary.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:00 AM on October 18, 2007


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