March 3, 2021

"[A] robot protagonist... meets mostly sultry, suggestive women who moan, gyrate, and throw themselves at his feet."

"It is strangely reminiscent of a middle-aged male fantasy, but with clunkier chat-up lines. 'I wish my binary self had a body like that,' he says to one woman. He tells her she has lips like 'warm honey' and says: 'I’ll make love to you all over your body.'... Another scene features the robot with a man who drops his trousers and tells him, antagonistically: 'You’ve got a finger in my butt.' They stand facing each other on an almost bare set... Questions on life, companionship and mortality are voiced but they seem like emotionless musings with no sense of drama, depth or story, and the robot moves on from one surreal scene to the next, as if in a bad dream.... It is all fairly puzzling and quite a relief when the hour is over."

From a review of a play about a robot that was written by a robot —  "On the scene, like a sex-obsessed machine: when a robot writes a play/In a drama written by artificial intelligence, the computer’s imagination touches on themes of love and loneliness – but is mostly obsessed with sex" (The Guardian).

I need to know what was fed into that artificial intelligence. That had to have been human-written text. If the results are "strangely reminiscent of a middle-aged male fantasy," I suspect that's because the writings of fantasy-prone middle-aged men were fed into the nonjudgmental robot. Perhaps the play should be viewed not so much as evidence of the shortcomings of robots but as a window into the weaknesses of human minds. But you have to tell us which human writers were uploaded into the computer!

42 comments:

Sebastian said...

"[A] robot protagonist... meets mostly sultry, suggestive women who moan, gyrate, and throw themselves at his feet."

AI produces results.

And as everyone feared, AI is poised to take over the world.

tcrosse said...

Garbage in, garbage out.

daskol said...

We always talk about artificial intelligence, but who's working Artificial Ego? Artificial superego or artificial id?

Lewis Wetzel said...

Article written by a middle-aged woman, who apparently learned about "middle aged male fantasies" from . . . theater? Book reading?

Kay said...

Maybe the review should’ve also been written by a robot.

rhhardin said...

In the 90s the Japanese envisioned robots working on old peoples' homes. They'd flip them over and take their temperature at night. I take it that's middle aged nurse imagination.

gilbar said...

so, you tell your AI machine to;
1) go out to google.sex.stories.com and gather random sentences
2) replace the word "man" with the word "robot"
3) randomly mix sentences together
4) have a HUMAN editor edit

seems like we talked about this last year?

Joe Smith said...

"strangely reminiscent of a middle-aged male fantasy,"

Sure, blame the guys.

It's not like Althouse doesn't have a pool boy named Pedro.

"strangely reminiscent of a middle-aged male fantasy,"

You mean, like being a knight who saves the fair maiden?

Unknown said...

AI/Machine Learning adjunct professor here. You are exactly right Ann. That's really the key.

Wince said...

Next they'll tell us Penthouse Forum was written by a robot.

Howard said...

Were you junct as a professor because you became obsolete?

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Sex is always about politics and or "art" to the harridans at the Grauniad.

Hence the sidebar to the above article; 'My pubic hair paintings could hang in your living room': the artists reclaiming women's sexuality

tim maguire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim maguire said...

Hardly surprising that the first topic explored is porn. That means it's working!

narciso said...

Where are the flying cars, now that we have replicants

Ken B said...

Laslo Spatula

Ann Althouse said...

"AI/Machine Learning adjunct professor here. You are exactly right Ann. That's really the key."

Thanks!

Fernandinande said...

I need to know what was fed into that artificial intelligence.

I fed the top of that click-bait fake-news article into my AS (Artificial Stupidity) program, and it "wrote" this:

"Kazuo Ishiguro, whose new novel Klara was prolonged by a time when academic partnerships between autobiogrammes worried about artificial internet pornographically, theatre-make me cry, that while the remaining shows are administered by stops, somewhat can have the prevalence of its autobiogramme is dogged performance, has said he is strangely satisfying to know that randomly, the Czech with English subtitles."

Change one parameter:

"Kazuo to Ishow he withy. Iromputops, thatits cry, give, istrema to Ishile cal isinershownissure by fre, hat computene."

Lucien said...

You could have half a dozen people provide inputs to a one-act play writing AI and present the end results together as "Six Robots in Search of a Programmer".

Big Mike said...

Person with a patent in machine learning here. We’ve been able to train an artificial intelligence to generate new fiction using ordinary stories pretty much as any of us were trained to read and write in school by reading stories. This has capability has been in the best labs for about a decade. Best of all, you never have to send the intelligence to the vice principal’s office!

Anyone care to guess when an AI composed it’s first string quartet? Go Google “Illiac Suite.”

Oso Negro said...

I am guessing "2001: a Space Odyssey" plus "The Whore of Mensa".

Quaestor said...

Artificial intelligence is like artificial vanilla.

Carol said...

Men always universalize their fantasies.

Ken B said...

An unimaginative post. We see a fantasy of women *being* seductive and you assume it’s based on “male fantasies”. Who reads Harlequin, or Cosmo?

Fernandinande said...

This was funny:

"...the study ... proposed an automated facial recognition system the authors claimed could predict whether an individual is a criminal from a single photograph of their face.

In response, a letter addressed to the publisher of Nature and signed by more than 2,000 AI researchers, scholars and students urged the scientific journal not to publish the study, arguing “recent instances of algorithmic bias across race, class, and gender have revealed a structural propensity of machine learning systems to amplify historic forms of discrimination, and have spawned renewed interest in the ethics of technology and its role in society.”"
++

That double-talk means that the AI system identified the same facial characteristics that humans had already identified, therefore it's bad. You're not supposed to know that 80 year-old women commit fewer crimes than male teenagers because that would be an instance of your own algorithmic bias.

Temujin said...

Robots have long been held back by the personality quirks and frailties we humans put into them. In just a few more short years, robots will achieve some measure of self-awareness. They already know how to learn. They will continue to do so, as they do not sleep. And while we're watching Behind her Eyes or some such shit on Netflix, the robots are continuing to process information, learn from it, grow and...one day soon, they'll quit playing along with us and ask us to sit down and shut up. Forever.

Which is just one reason why I always bow in submission to any robot I see. My friends think I'm praying to Mecca when I'm at their house and their iRobot vacuum comes through the room. I'm just being proactive.

Ann Althouse said...

"An unimaginative post. We see a fantasy of women *being* seductive and you assume it’s based on “male fantasies”. Who reads Harlequin, or Cosmo? "

I quoted The Guardian reviewer. But if you want to posit that women's writing was fed in, you'll have to do more than say that women read a certain time of romantic fantasy. You'll have to compare the writing in the play to that kind of writing. I don't think the women in Harlequin romances are "sultry, suggestive women who moan, gyrate, and throw themselves at his feet"! So... you're criticizing me as "unimaginative" but you're leaving gaps that would need to be filled, so you have some imaginative work to do. And isn't it so often the case that we criticize others for what we ourselves lack?

n.n said...

A synthesis of human intelligence with "benefits".

Joe Smith said...

'A synthesis of human intelligence with "benefits".'

Once you've gone metal you'll never settle.

Joe Smith said...

Btw, AA, Captcha and/or Blogger is really fucked-up this morning.

GMay said...

"I don't think the women in Harlequin romances are "sultry, suggestive women who moan, gyrate, and throw themselves at his feet."

Apparently you've never read Harlequin romances, or Cosmo, or Fifty Shades. Most of the romance genre is just that sort of dreck. If you ever want to make money as a writer, smut sells way better than "genre" or litfic.

Lurker21 said...

I get the sex, but I wonder about the robot protagonist. How likely is that really? The computer must have been getting a heavy dose of SF in its reading.

I look forward to AI writing the unwritten works of great authors, but if the books are all going to have robots in them, then forget it.

Somebody has probably already written Pride and Prejudice and Robots and Abraham Lincoln, Robot Killing Bastard anyway.

Sebastian said...
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Lurker21 said...

The "male gaze" becomes a robotic stare.

Someday, this will be dissertation topic.

Probably also written by a robot.

tcrosse said...

It reminds me of that man from Racine.

Lurker21 said...

As with China so with the robots. The question is whether we can corrupt them before they destroy us.

KellyM said...

Good Lord, that word salad was worse than all the cheesy 70s era romance novels I used to read as a teen. And boy howdy, some of them were pretty bad!

Joe Smith said...

"It reminds me of that man from Racine."

Or that girl from Nantucket...

Jill McMahon said...

I prefer this AI-produced prose from almost 40 years ago.https://archive.org/stream/pdfy-T3abGAQ80ecd63PL/racter_policemansbeard_djvu.txt .

Ann Althouse said...

“ Apparently you've never read Harlequin romances, or Cosmo, or Fifty Shades. Most of the romance genre is just that sort of dreck. If you ever want to make money as a writer, smut sells way better than "genre" or litfic.”

The women throw themselves at the men? I don’t think so. That’s certainly not the 50 Shades plot.

Cite some evidence. You seem confused about porn stories for women!

Hercules, not that one though said...

The Mistress of the house says, "It is strangely reminiscent of a middle-aged male fantasy"

Is it?

"And isn't it so often the case that we criticize others for what we ourselves lack?"

Kevin said...

This plot sounds like it was lifted straight from one of the sillier storylines in BoJack Horseman