Sexbots & Virtual Girls: A Conversation

artwork: “Natsuko Proxy” by J. Ishiro Finney

The relationships that may one day form between humans and thinking machines has long fascinated me. Ever since seeing the film adaptation of Arthur C. Clark’s 2010 as a boy, the kinship Doctor Chandra shared with the movie’s two A.I.s, H.A.L. and S.A.L., left a lasting impression on me. With human/machine relations now beginning to catch-up with the sci-fi of my youth, I’ve been keenly aware of the reality unfolding before us–and few subjects have been more controversial than the sexual and emotional connections we’re now forming with our technological creations.

Below I’ve shared a fascinating (if not enlightening) twitter conversation I was involved in recently about precisely this topic. For the sake of privacy, I’ve chosen to simply call one of the participates Alice.

It began with a questions about men buying sexbots…

Alice
‏Question? So out of curiosity…fucking something you bought and was programmed to like you is not being a loser?

@ScribeUndead
Frankly, I’d consider it the same as having a dildo or a male sex doll, whether or not it makes one a loser isn’t what’s being argued. It’s why does it?

@J_Ishiro‏
Are they losers? We’re a society where 20% of the men are considered “acceptable dating material” to women. Marriage rates are plummeting to lows historically unheard of. And gender relations have never been worse. In the game of relationships, yes. A man who’d buy a love doll absolutely lost. So why kick him when he’s down? Does a lonely guy deserve to be scorned, ridiculed, and laughed at for it? Especially these days when there’s more losers than winners? And this is a trend that’ll only get worse.

Alice‏
But will it solve all relationship woes? Or just *that* one problem?

@ScribeUndead
Of course not, but is gender relations and relationship social norms continue to degrade, there’s nothing to solve and no solution to be found. Times are changing. Relationships are changing. Marriages are dropping off.

Alice
‏So the solution is sexbots for marriage then?

@ScribeUndead
Of course not, I doubt things are going to get that far. However, marriage itself, to other people, I doubt it’ll be a popular institution a few generations down.

Alice
But will it solve all relationship woes? Or just *that* one problem? I kinda get the feeling this is more about not having a girlfriend :/

@J_Ishiro‏
These loves dolls will need to get past the uncanny valley first, but that’s not far off. And for that matter, what about disabled men? Or men who’ve been horribly mutilated by war? When this subject comes up I always think of Youtuber, Doctor Randomer Cam.  He’s very open about being on the autism scale and being incapable of reading the emotional cues needed to initiate even the most basic of physical relationships. Women have been very unforgiving, if not out right cruel to men like this. If a doll can show them some simulated of kindness, fine.

Alice
‏I suppose. Taking into account his experiences.

@ScribeUndead
It’s more about the relationship climate. Guys are realizing they don’t have to. They’re realizing that there’s nothing in it for them to get married or have a family or live for anyone but themselves.

Alice
That’s pretty sad.

@ScribeUndead
Of course it is. It’s terrible. And, if the situation continues, we could be seeing the decline of Western society as a whole because it’s built off of a lot of these things that are falling off right now.

Alice
‏I don’t think it’s exclusive to western society. But why should it be a male only issue? Not all females are deranged.

@J_Ishiro
The biggest misconception about this whole sexbot / lovedoll issue is that it’s all about sex. When a woman buys a dildo, it’s simply a disembodied mechanical penis. It exists for one purpose–sexual pleasure. But if you look at these men buying lovedolls & virtual girlfriends, they TALK to these things. They buy them gifts & flowers.

Alice
I want gifts and flowers. And to be talked to. Isn’t it a misconception assuming “all women” like “all men”?

@J_Ishiro‏
Sure. It’s unfair to say “all women”. But there are also dominant trends. There’s a sever empathy gap happening right now in western culture.

@ScribeUndead
True. This whole thing is just a symptom of a much larger problem

Alice
‏You’re not wrong about the lack of empathy; it concerns many other things as well.

@J_Ishiro
Women (generally) have a hard time accepting men need anything beyond sex. Watch this ad I’ve linked for a real Japanese product. Notice what is being sold to men. It isn’t sex. It’s simulated kindness and companionship…

Alice
I suppose. But it’s not like you guys ask or express wanting anything besides. (Not often, at least)

@J_Ishiro
But that’s an assumption. Culturally, we’re keen on men being aware of the many social cues & ways women communicate. Most women I’ve met have absolutely no awareness that men express themselves in various ways, too. It’s amazing how many girls I’ve known assumed a squeeze of the breast met SEX NOW!

Alice
‏You could communicate better, most times it’s the lack of communication from men.

@J_Ishiro
That’s is very female-centric view point. Men DO communicate. They just don’t communicate like women. And women generally either haven’t noticed, or simply do not care. It’s men who are expected to learn to communicate like females (which we very bad at). And if we don’t learn to communicate they way you like, we’re deemed rotten sexists. Keep in mind, women’s brains are wired for communication skills. Men aren’t. What seems easy or even second nature to a woman can be extremely hard for guy to learn.

Alice‏
Then it’s “womynz fault” for not doing better?

@J_Ishiro
We could *all* do better.

Alice
Why should we be the only ones to make an effort? Every relationship, whether romantic or platonic takes work and compromise.

@J_Ishiro
I never said it should be only a one way effort. I’m saying in this day and age the pressure is entirely on the man to conform and adapt to what the woman. I’m saying there’s a general lack of empathy for men currently.

Alice
‏You’re making excuses for men more or less. How hard is it to just say all this? ‏You don’t have to communicate like a female. But you can just say how you really feel. Like. Right. Now. The accusing tone is irksome tho.

@J_Ishiro
‏I’m not accusing you of anything. I’m explaining to the difficulties as I’ve observed them. You yourself have done absolutely nothing.

@Katapult
‏Have these women tried to listen? Again, that’s usually the hurdle. Not that men aren’t communicating but women aren’t listening or even want to listen.

Alice
Depends on /those women.

@Katapult (Kat Rocha)
‏Well, lets take you for instance. how hard to you try to communicate with your lover on what he wants and what you want?

Alice
‏I don’t have a lover.

@Katapult (Kat Rocha)
‏…. so… you don’t have a lover… and you say men suck at communicating.. I think we’ve found the problem.

Alice
‏Uh no. Excuse me while I use this again.

@Katapult (Kat Rocha)
‏If you’re going on how all men want is sex… but all the men you know are great chaps… but you don’t have a lover, that tells me that the problem is with you and your ability to communicate.

Alice
‏I didn’t say that all they wanted was sex. And nor that all the men I talk to are great chaps(these guys are nice) I don’t have a problem either, we were having a civil discussion.

@Katapult (Kat Rocha)
‏To go back to the main conversation. Men turn to sex bots or prostitutes because women don’t make the attempt to understand their needs. If a woman doesn’t want her man to look elsewhere she needs to treat him with respect

Alice
Well yeah. I didn’t deny that. Or believe otherwise. I wanted to know WHY they felt the need to turn to bots or WHY they felt so strongly about it.

@Katapult (Kat Rocha)
‏If you really want to have a good conversation about men and respecting their needs, talk to @KristalDGarcia . She is an amazing woman with an awesome book on the subject.

@KristalDGarcia
‏Thanks Kat. Just looked at the thread, yes to assume men are unable to communicate and project this onto an entire gender is a fallacy. Men do communicate and as a society we have shut men down when they are vulnerable. We say we want men to communicate but we do not listen.

Alice
No, I haven’t (at least I hope not), but it seems if though you’re saying women are the ones who need to try harder.

@J_Ishiro
‏In a culture where a man has to be tall, handsome, financially successful, & a mind reader to be “hot”–AND we’re expected accept self-obsessed blue-haired 300 lbs. land-whales as beautiful at any size? Perhaps there’s an imbalance in expectations.

Alice
‏LOL Neither of that is necessary.

@ScribeUndead
True, but overall, women require a certain level from a man to be marriage material. That’s roughly 20% of men. Most men just don’t care anymore, especially men under the age of 25.

Alice
Why though? That’s giving up too quickly and pretty lazy tbh

@ScribeUndead
Think of it as the relationship liberation. There was a sexual Liberation for women earlier. Think of this as similar for men but much more damaging to society overall.

>>>I cut a sizable portion of the conversation here as it devolved into a heated exchange between Alice and a few of the other posters. 

@J_Ishiro
This conversation has taken a bad turn. But I hope if you take anything away from this Alice, realize the average guy doesn’t trust women anymore. There’s no reason to. If a man is what you really want, just remember in his eyes interacting with women is minefield. One wrong move can ruin him.

 

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