The sexbots are coming! The sexbots are coming! It's a sexapocolypse! There is a real fear by some individuals that we may find ourselves at risk by being sexed to death by an inexhaustible robot!
I saw my first version of a sexbot in the 80's when I was a pre-pubescent child watching Cherry 2000, starring Melanie Griffith. It took a long time for the sex industry to take us from sci-fi fantasy films about sexual robots to the reality of Real Dolls and now Sexbots.
As we say goodbye to the cheap blow-up dolls that are now reserved for bachelor parties and cheap gags, this seems like a good moment to stop and question the morals, ethics and meaning of love and relationships.
These life-like robots remind us that love is more than just getting off, being psychologically entertained and having someone say, “Yes, dear.” As images from the films, “Her” and “Ex Machina” run through my mind, I find myself a little concerned about the human heart.
Will the painfully shy and those suffering from intimacy issues finally come out of their shell bond with a robot only to be left high and dry when the robot moves onto more expansive experiences? Will we one day be in a world where the perfect submissive human female is formed only to come back and kill us?
With Sexbots we can say goodbye to blaming the other “person” for the way we feel. Say goodbye to those nagging aspects of relationships like pickups at the airport and dirty dishes left in the sink. Say goodbye to STI’s, accidental pregnancies or “having your woman talk back.”
We can even say goodbye to those vulnerable human experiences like being sick and the sense of purpose and connectedness we feel by caring for those we love, or receiving that same care in return when our bodies are ravaged by a stomach flu. So much for interpersonal human bonding and a shared love experience.
With Lovotics, science has nearly perfected the artificial intelligence (AI) for sexbots. The AI in lovotics toys were designed to give psychological and physiological awareness to robots. They have an artificial endocrine system which produce hormones like dopamine (the happy hormone) and oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) basically allowing them to feel and sense moods of others.
Does this make a sexbot a who or an it? I still can’t decide even as I write.
Unlike their Real Doll predecessors, Sexbots are designed to be interactive, making it apparently just like having a real romantic relationship, except it’s not. That’s like saying, “It tastes just like chicken,” when you’re eating a vegan meat substitute.
There are so many moral, ethical, psychological and philosophical questions to consider that go beyond just getting our rocks off.
Love and relationships are about giving and receiving. Love is connecting — physically, emotionally and spiritually. It’s the way someone looks at us and touches us. It’s empathy, caring and handholding when we’ve broken a bone, are dealing with illness or have lost a loved one.
Sexbots are promoted to help a person who is physically disabled or suffers from debilitating anxiety in relationships. But what are the ethical rules about designing such AI? There is even a Japanese sexbot maker who has created sexy kidbots. Do they think this will actually help keep pedophiles off the streets? Or could it make existing societal issues worse.
There is still so much to be considered before we allow sexbots to become common place. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.
Sexbots are said to become common place by 2025, although thankfully I don’t see them taking over the dating and relationship world just yet. Their steep price tag is equivalent to a Rolex watch or two and their physical design is still less than desirable, limited and bordering on creepy.
Author: Heather Dawn
A version of this blog originally appeared in Heather Dawn's column on Elephantjournal.com