Posted by: Pseudo 17 February 2016
A group of activists from The Campaign Against Sex Robots has issued a recent warning, urging about the dire consequences of sexbots becoming reality. The group claims they will result in the “brutal dehumanisation of women”, fearing men will lose empathy for real relationships.
Let me start by telling you something about myself: I own a lot of sex toys. Of course, they’re not reminiscent of the female anatomy, so they’re fine. They are a symbol of my sexual freedom; of my empowerment. Unfortunately for men, this street is only one way. The array of sex toys available for the boys is certainly expansive, from cheap pocket pussies to full ass molds and sexbots, but they’re seen as a problem.
Male sex toys, no matter how you go around it, aren’t held in very high regard. The stereotype of the 30-something man living with his mother, enjoying the pleasures of his fleshlight, exists because of it. Whereas the dildo is seen as a symbol of modern sexual liberation, the male toy is a symbol of the creepy, weird, social outcast. This hasn’t necessarily stopped production; in fact we’re on the cusp of a new age – the age of the sexbot.
Sexbots aren’t anything particularly new, as they’ve existed in fiction for some time even before we had the capacity to make them ourselves. With the advent of new robotics, and the internet, innovators have been able to finance their sexbot dreams – and they’re making a killing. The creators of one bot, in particular, the ViruaDoll, has had such high demand that they couldn’t cope. They had to delay the project to handle the inundation of interest. As they always say, you can’t stop progress.
There will be those, however, who will certainly try. You may remember our previous article on this topic, where we discussed the initial opposition to sexbots. Of course, that just the beginning, as it seems a new group have picked up the torch. The Campaign Against Sex Robots, in conjunction with researcher Lydia Kaye, have released a statement urging people to reconsider. The warning, written by Lydia herself, flags up the possibility of “the brutal dehumanisation of women” that could take place if sexbots were to become the norm.
“Sex robots will create another means through which women will be presented as objects” she writes, stating that it will only reinforce the mistreatment of women. She continues that it will also “desensitise humans to intimacy and empathy, which can only be developed through experiencing human interaction and mutual consenting relationships.” The internet itself already disproves the initial sentiment, as millions of people interact via their phone or computer screen every day.
Of course, assuming people are incapable of interacting properly unless in person, this only accounts for a romantic partner. People generally still have friends, colleagues or other humans they interact with daily. Our species is masturbatory, many people don’t have a partner and still seek sexual gratification. Does this render them incapable of empathy? They aren’t interacting with anyone whilst doing so, there’s no intimacy, so what’s the difference when a sexbot is introduced?
Lydia continues that sexbots would “reinforce the view that the female body is a commodity”, saying that it’s “time to examine the human ethics” in relation to sexbots. Lydia cites human rights as a fundamental opposition to sexbots, claiming it will only lead to the “brutal objectification of humankind”. The same argument could be made for paintings, statues, and even the humble dildo, as they each commoditise the human body. It’s a question of whether our basal human forms have rights, or if we as humans do.
Of course, this all hinges on the assumption that people will be incapable of understanding reality. As we wrote last week, we must ensure the split between fact and fiction is recognized, and we must trust people to make the distinction. If we assume men are incapable of understanding that their sexbot is just that — a sexbot — we must assume women lose empathy when using a dildo. Of course, there will be exceptions to the rule, like the woman who loves a rollercoaster, but that’s another thing entirely.
Thankfully, it seems readers of British newspaper the Mirror largely agree. In a poll on their website, when posed the question of “are sex bots actually sexist”, a resounding amount of readers answered “No”. A total of 79% said they felt sexbots weren’t sexist, compared with 21% of people who said they were (sample size unknown). That said, this all depends on what your definition of “sexist” is, whether that’s legitimate sexual abuse, or simply a disagreement.
Regardless, with the amount of interest already there for sexbots, it’s unlikely they will disappear. If there’s one thing humanity certainly does, it’s follow the money. Sexbots are going to be big business, whether they be for the stereotypical loner, someone who just likes the feel of it now and again, or women themselves (fucking machines, anyone?). We probably won’t see swathes of emotionless, zombified men on the streets, we probably won’t hear about a new rape epidemic, and if anything, as with the advent of video games, violent crime will fall again.
For now, check out the Taiwanese Animators take on the whole thing, which includes some rather humorous interpretations. You can also check out the group mentioned here, Virtuadolls, on their IndieGoGo page where they’re currently receiving funding. The device will synchronize movement, making use of VR to create a fully immersive experience. The future is certainly here, and before long the dream of ploughing your waifu will become a reality. Just don’t cheat on her, OK?
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