September 15, 2015

"I propose that extending relations of prostitution into machines is neither ethical, nor is it safe... If anything the development of sex robots..."

"... will further reinforce relations of power that do not recognise both parties as human subjects..."
“Technology is not neutral,” [said Kathleen Richardson, a senior research fellow in the ethics of robotics at De Montfort University in Leicester, England]. “It’s informed by class, race and gender. Political power informs the development of technology. That’s why we can do something about it. These robots will contribute to more sexual exploitation.”
This seems to repeat arguments that were made about porn. But there's some truth in the observation that if you develop your style of behavior independently of a need to appeal to another human being, you might not turn out too well. But then again, a robot could be programmed with better lessons in humanity that could be provided by the random willing human sexual partner. Why would a robot bring out your urge to control or subordinate another person?

ADDED: Ironically, "It’s informed by class, race and gender" sounds robotic. I'd like my robot programmed to say much more interesting — and playful and sexy — things.

72 comments:

pdug said...

what does "informed by" really even mean. Seems weaselly. Determined by? Caused by?

What kind of thing is she thinking of? Like counter-tops being set at the average height for a woman to work at them?

Meade said...

Ironically, "It’s informed by class, race and gender" sounds robotic.

Sure — robotic and Marxian. But I'm sure many people find dialectical materialism downright titillating. Consider: the transformation of quantity into quality... the negation of the negation... and the unity and interpenetration of opposites.

Okay, a little Mao-y sounding but come on, admit it — it's turning you on.

damikesc said...

“Technology is not neutral,” [said Kathleen Richardson, a senior research fellow in the ethics of robotics at De Montfort University in Leicester, England]. “It’s informed by class, race and gender. Political power informs the development of technology. That’s why we can do something about it. These robots will contribute to more sexual exploitation.”

Sounds like a totes serious scientist there.

Women fear "sex robots" because men, in large numbers, will simply prefer that to women. Feminism tends to make women undateable to all but the most cuckolded of men. I know any woman I met in the Women's Studies courses I had to take in college were immediately stricken off my internal list of women I'd CONSIDER dating.

Men don't marry as frequently because fewer and fewer women are worth marrying. It's a huge risk for a man to recognize that he'll be screwed six ways from Sunday if something goes wrong, so we have to be way more choosy. And making sex even MORE of a risk, where regret = rape, makes robots a far more palatable option in some cases.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

https://vimeo.com/12915013

Louis said...

People won't be able to compete with robots as laborers, lovers or even friends.

Bob Boyd said...

"Why would a robot bring out your urge to control or subordinate another person?"

Robots seem to have brought out that urge in Kathleen Richardson. Or maybe the urge came first.
Her robot ethics are informed by a nagging fear that somebody somewhere might be having a good time.

rhhardin said...

A man never stands taller than when he stoops to help a robot.

rhhardin said...

Video games for cats are another problem.

Bay Area Guy said...

I foresee a glorious future where beautiful robots (think Darryl Hannah and Sean Young in Blade Runner) replace all these tiresome, tedious, shallow, humorless, feminist ideologues. I can dream, can't I?

Rob said...

The inevitable efforts to ban robot prostitution expose the pretense that laws against prostitution are for the protection of the prostitutes. It's good old-fashioned imposition of morality. Depend on it.

Sebastian said...

""It’s informed by class, race and gender" sounds robotic"

Good one.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I hope she's not one of those regressives who oppose human-robot marriage. 'Cause that might cast aspersions on the dignity of their marriage.

tim in vermont said...

In the movie Artificial Intelligence, Jude Law plays a sex robot. I am betting he would be a pretty popular model too. But her field of study is not the "ethics of robotics" it's the "Application of Gender Politics to Every Aspect of Your Life"

tim in vermont said...

People won't be able to compete with robots as laborers, lovers or even friends.

laborers, sure, lovers, well, we can't all be sexual athletes and robots can, but sometimes sex is about personal connections you know, though it is déclassé to mention it these days. Friends? I think you are being too pessimistic.

BN said...

C'mon. Think into the distant future. It's not about what you want of the robot. Resistance is futile.

Fernandinande said...

“It’s informed by class, race and gender."

"I get paid for spewing hot air."

Xmas said...

This sounds like a bit of projection on her part. I mean, have you ever seen an angry feminists dildo collection. Talk about dehumanizing. And such a vast array of racist subtext. And let's not leave out the fists.

(You know, this started off as a joke, and then I remembered my last trip to a "feminist" sex shop and the image of the vast array of electric phalluses came crashing back into my forebrain.)

tim in vermont said...

Why would a robot bring out your urge to control or subordinate another person?

It does seem like it brought out that urge in at least one Feminazi.

tim in vermont said...

How many marriages would be saved and homes not be broken if both partners were always sexually satisfied?

BN said...

Sex robots is all part of the big plan ultimately to control human mating. See "eugenics", and "progressivism."

Jane the Actuary said...

So if I follow her argument right, she's concerned that a man will buy a sex robot, become accustomed to having sex with it, and then enter into a relationship with a woman and expect her to be as subservient as that robot is.

So that presumes 1) that men are weakminded and at risk of being improperly conditioned, and have to be protected against these bad influences, and that 2) women are uniquely vulnerable and are at risk of unknowingly entering or being unable to leave a relationship with such a man -- or else that presumes that, as a pure numbers game, women won't be able to find partners if large numbers of men would rather have sex robots or have been "ruined" by their experiences with them.

Is that really where we are?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

tim in vermont said...

How many marriages would be saved and homes not be broken if both partners were always sexually satisfied?

How many marriages would never happen if single men were always sexually satisfied?

How many marriages would collapse if the guy knew his access to sex was not dependent on his good behavior?

Rick said...

So if I follow her argument right, she's concerned that a man will buy a sex robot, become accustomed to having sex with it, and then enter into a relationship with a woman and expect her to be as subservient as that robot is.

Why would we design society to prevent a man from developing certain expectations? If he has such expectations she doesn't wish to indulge a woman can move on to someone else. That's freedom, just like it's his freedom to do what he wants.

It seems far more likely she's concerned that men finding sexual satisfaction without women will reduce female leverage.

Laslo Spatula said...

"... will further reinforce relations of power that do not recognise both parties as human subjects..."

Feminism has already marginalized the position of men as human subjects.

Note that, in porn, the vagina -- the sexual orifice unique to the female -- is now the least desirable of the three main choices. Where porn goes, popular culture inevitably follows.

Men are learning to prefer blow-jobs and anal sex to deny submission to The Vagina and what it represents as a signifier of the Modern Woman.

Manufactures will eventually not even bother to install the vaginal plumbing in a sex robot, saving costs for the consumer.

The ass and mouth will have the latest technology, and the vagina will be a mere fold in the body surface, a minor design touch to give the robot a retro feel like many cars today.

Those that really want a vagina on their sex robot will need to buy the Lesbian Model. Feminists will then be upset at men having sex with the Lesbian Model, as they are symbolically raping the lesbian.

Tired of the outrage, manufactures will cease marketing to such a small niche, and will provide only an Electronic Tongue for lesbians.

They will find that men will apply the Electronic Tongue to their testicles as they have anal sex with their robot. Noting a new market, the manufacturers will begin installing Electronic Tongues on the sex robots where the Vagina used to be.

The mouth and anal reservoirs on the sex robots will have coded locking features, preventing women from sneaking in and trying to retrieve the precious semen: no splooge stooges here.

That's the future, baby.

I am Laslo.







BN said...

These are all really good comments. What makes this blog interesting.

Thank you, Ann.

Levi Starks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Levi Starks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

How many marriages would never happen if single men were always sexually satisfied?

Evolution continues apace, and ever favors those willing to reproduce.

One thing a sex robot will never be able to give, that a human sexual partner can, is validation.

ScottD said...

Two words: Stepford Wives.

This has been the fear of feminists since the beginning, that men would replace annoying women with robots.

Peter said...

“Technology is not neutral,” [said Kathleen Richardson, a senior research fellow in the ethics of robotics at De Montfort University in Leicester, England]. “It’s informed by class, race and gender."

Yes, well, I'm well informed that there's no surer sign of academic mediocrity than over-reliance on that Holy Trinity of race-class-gender. Would it be impertinent to ask of Kathleen Richardson has ever built or programmed a robot, or possesses anything other than the most superficial knowledge of robotics?

Perhaps a better PoV would be biology? After all, it takes plenty of women but not so many men to propagate the species; thus, sex robots provide an outlet for surplus men.

Then again, atheists and feminists seem increasingly disinterested in producing and raising children, so perhaps the ultimate solution would be sex robots plus artificial wombs. That, and research fellows in the ethics of robotics, of course.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Harcourt Fenton Mudd, where have you been? What have you been up to? Have you been drinking again, you miserable sot!

Laslo Spatula said...

Maybe I am too pessimistic.

Perhaps the Vagina will still be a feature n the sex robots.

Of course, men will keep dialing down the Vagina Sensation Calibration from 'Mature' to 'Seventeen-year-old Cheerleader.'

Maybe that will be what happens.


I am Laslo.

Shouting Thomas said...

I can't believe that Larry actually has a dick. I mean, one that is actually attached to his body. If he ever had one, it shriveled up long ago, starved of testosterone.

So, what do the Nutty Perfesser and Larry use?

How many batteries does it take?

What turns on a goofball fag hag suffering from Brain in a Jar syndrome and a completely emasculated hair shirt wearing Rent Boy?

I don't think I really want to know. Perhaps only R. Crumb could picture such a thing.

Shouting Thomas said...

And, note, Crack is no longer around to service the raging black revolutionary cuckold fantasies.

He was denouncing the Nutty Perfesser and Larry for a long time after his voluntary exile, but I think he finally wore out and moved on.

mccullough said...

Is a vibrator not a machine?

Laslo Spatula said...

The Vagina Scent Simulator could have quite an array of options: Strawberry, Suntan Oil, New Car Smell, Catholic Schoolgirl Dress, Marinara, etc.

Classic Authentic Vagina Scent would -- of course -- be trialed, but then there would inevitably be warehouses full of the unsold liquid, which would then be probably sold to the Third World as an Energy Drink.

The Market will figure it out.

I am Laslo.

Scott said...

Feminist progressives want to dominate the national headspace on sex. The idea that some hetero male somewhere is having a kind of sex that they don't approve of smacks of hostile cultural hegemony.

Laslo Spatula said...

Would the world have less Ted Bundys if the Bundy types had access to sex robots that they could fuck, choke, set the Skin Warmth Simulation down to 'Zero' and have sex with the 'corpse'?

That should make women feel safer.

I am Laslo.

BDNYC said...

mccullough said...

Is a vibrator not a machine?


Zing!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

BDNYC said...

Zing!

More of a zzzzZZZZZzzzzzzZZZZZZzzzzzzZZZZZzzzzzZZZZZZZZzzzzZZZZZZZZzzZZZZZZZZzZZZZZZZZZZZ

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Or so I am told...

Darrell said...

A man never stands taller than when he stoops to shtup a robot.

traditionalguy said...

Machine love. Nothing wrong with that if the electricity lasts 4 hours and the eau de oil comes in a choice of feminine and masculine. If that is not a difference you recognize, then you are an android yourself.

khesanh0802 said...

"It’s informed by class, race and gender" sounds robotic." Ann, it IS robotic. This phrase seems to automatically pop out of the mouths of academics. Repeated often enough it no longer has meaning.

Crimso said...

"It’s informed by class, race and gender"

She's right. I'm pretty sure Watson is a privileged white male with good standing in the patriarchy. But it's hard to tell since he's, you know, a FUCKING COMPUTER. Well, he's not fucking yet. I think.

khesanh0802 said...

Laslo is one twisted guy, but it he most often hits the nail on the head.

William said...

I hope that my sex robot is designed with an eye to class, race, and gender. Especially gender. A sex robot without gender is like an egg without salt. Class is good too. I'd like to take the Audrey Hepburn model out for a spin after I've worn myself out with the Marilyn Monroe model. Race is fun too. Asian women are hot, and a Hale Berry model would probably sell well also. I see class, race, and gender as a feature and not a bug of sex models.

n.n said...

Pro-choice. It's a little late to start worrying about human relationships, dignity, and rights. There is only congruence, diversity, and commodities.

BDNYC said...

Also, male masturbation should be outlawed because it unfairly tips the gender scales by making women less necessary. The ease with which a man can satisfy himself sexually can only harm women. It makes a man less interested in buying a woman dinner and asking her about her life and dreams. Making a sex slave robot will just compound female suffering.

A decent man would acknowledge his privilege and forswear masturbation forever.

tim in vermont said...

IDK, Laslo, about the scent thing. There is a ski area around here called Sugarbush, and my first thought when I heard of it was "How did they know about my girlfriend?"

Coupe said...

The one thing I find wearing, is my wife takes forever to have an orgasm.

What I'd like, is a robot to do all the grunt work, and then I can pop-in at the last minute, because that's about all the time I need.

Whenever my wife gets frisky in the morning, I just sigh and know I'm going to miss breakfast, and all I can think about is bacon and coffee, rather than the endless "almost!","almost!" she leads me on with...

I'm going to put "almost!" on her tombstone.

cubanbob said...

Maybe The End Timers are on to something. Sex robots? Yet another in the current parade of horrible.

As for this researcher, I find it difficult to believe someone actually gets paid to come up with this ridiculousness.

tim in vermont said...

I am waiting for the robot with a heart of gold.

Fernandinande said...

Rick said...
It seems far more likely she's concerned that men finding sexual satisfaction without women will reduce female leverage.


Which is also the basis for laws against prostitution.

Coupe said...
I'm going to put "almost!" on her tombstone.


"That's your name - Almost" ("Apocalypto")

Sigivald said...

That is the stupidest argument on such a subject that I've ever heard.

Is there some requirement that people who call themselves "ethicists" have to descend into self-parody?

(I say this as someone with a Philosophy degree, who takes ethics-as-a-field-of-study seriously ... but "ethicists", at least the ones who end up in newspapers, don't seem to.

"Informed by class, race, and gender"? You're not an ethicist - you're a gender/class theorist pretending to be an ethicist. They're not the same thing, not at all.)

damikesc said...

Technically, what is the difference between a sex robot and, say, a dildo or a vibrator?

Whenever my wife gets frisky in the morning, I just sigh and know I'm going to miss breakfast, and all I can think about is bacon and coffee, rather than the endless "almost!","almost!" she leads me on with...

Better than one's who fake it. Had an ex who claimed to fake it after we broke up. I told her "It's cute that you think I care".

cubanbob said...

damikesc said...
Technically, what is the difference between a sex robot and, say, a dildo or a vibrator?

Whenever my wife gets frisky in the morning, I just sigh and know I'm going to miss breakfast, and all I can think about is bacon and coffee, rather than the endless "almost!","almost!" she leads me on with...

Better than one's who fake it. Had an ex who claimed to fake it after we broke up. I told her "It's cute that you think I care".

9/15/15, 12:14 PM"

Dude don't leave us hanging, what was her comeback retort?

damikesc said...

I walked away at that point because we really didn't get along at the end.

Alexander said...

Man + Robot. #LoveWins

I don't doubt that sex robots that overcome the uncanny valley will be detrimental to civilization. But then, I think hoards of poverty stricken, low IQ, completely-different-culture-from-the-natives overrunning Europe and North America is as well, and these people support that, so...

I'm going with it being the usual feminists opposing anything that shifts power away from women. "Sexual freedom", "My body my choice", "Autonomy of my own body", "Stay out of my sex life" will have a line drawn, and that line will be between the right to slaughter an unborn baby and the not-right to have sex with a machine that looks like Taylor Swift.

lgv said...

"These robots will contribute to more sexual exploitation.”

If prostitution is sexual exploitation, then wouldn't it lead to less exploitation? The market for prostitution would shrink. But then there would be a new movement to protect the rights of the sex robots. Yes, robots have rights, too!

Meanwhile, all the actual robot scientists at De Montfort University are working on their own sex robot prototypes.

tim in vermont said...

I wonder if that Elon Musk robotic thingy does prostate massage? (See The Big Lebowski, My Back Door scene, if you are unfamiliar)

tim in vermont said...

Lookin Out My Backdoor

Note the look on his face at the very beginning, right when he discovers what prostate massage is.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

tim in vermont said...

How many marriages would be saved and homes not be broken if both partners were always sexually satisfied?

You would think that, right? Yet that was not my wife's reaction when she walked in on me and the Roomba.

Steven said...

It's amazing, when you get into the weeds of her argument.

Apparently, using a manufactured commodity item as a substitute for a person is not dehumanizing, but negotiating a relationship (however short-term) with another human being in which mutual needs are voluntarily satisfied is dehumanizing. And the problem with robot sex is it's potentially too much like the latter rather than the former.

Jane the Actuary said...

Fun fact: back in grad school, I had a professor who decided to change her field of study from medieval history to post-colonial studies, and wrote about "colonizing" virtual reality. I didn't attempt to read her work, but the notion that virtual reality was a thing that could be colonized was preposterous.

Char Char Binks said...

Women should welcome the new sex robots. Sure, Laslo will get his seraglio filled with robot versions of Scarlett Johannsson, Penelope Cruz, and Jessica Alba, but women will be able to have their own... who is it now, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Tom Hardy? And for the lesbians, of course, Robert Pattinson.

Cynicus said...

Ultimate Betamax 3000 bait and he's not here. So sad. My only contribution is to query whether there will be a vegetable peeler attached for the cucumber.

I am not Laslo.

el polacko said...

why all the talk about sex robots as though they are something from the sci-fi future ? as others have mentioned here, we already have vibrators, dildoes, fleshlights, auto-masturbators, e-stims, fuck machines, 'realistic' mouths, vaginas, anuses, and full-sized Real Dolls(tm), etc...all of which can induce some mind-blowing, satisfying orgasms without any contact with another human. granted, nobody has, as yet, put all of these devices together into one unit but that may be more of a matter of making the darn thing affordable.

Kirk Parker said...

Ignorance,

How many marriages would collapse if the woman knew her access to his resources was not dependent on her good behavior?


FIFY.




Oh, wait....

tim in vermont said...

OK, I had been riffing off the Althouse post up to now. I just saw her picture. I am thinking if she lost 50 lbs, she might be kind of cute and her worries about sex robots would disappear.

BN said...

For the recored, re my comment at 9:01 am, I take it back. Should have known better.

Ken B said...

Having sex alone exploits others? I wonder what her stand on masturbation is? "You'll go blind from exploitation!"
"You'll get exploitative hair on your palms!"

What a wanker.