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Monday, October 23, 2017

Could you be turned on by a sexbot?

A friend recently sent this article about the coming sexbot revolution. It got me to wondering: could I get turned on by a robot?

Even knowing that it was just a piece of plastic, would I, at some level, be able to think of it as a human being? Wouldn't that put me on the same level as a pathetic dog which humps someone's leg?

Honestly, I don't think I could be aroused by that. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that, as it puts me into the "sensitive" cohort I usually despise.

But, that also makes me wonder if the coming sexbot revolution will be quite as big as some anticipate. According to the article linked above, 9% of women and 24% of men say that they would consider using a sexbot. Of course, there may be a certain social embarrassment element factored into those percentages. And that might change if such toys become more widely accepted: if all your friends are using them, wouldn't you be more inclined to do so yourself?

Which brings me back to whether I'd find that appealing. Like most people, I tend to assume others are like me. In my case that may be slightly more accurate since I'm so average in some ways: I'm not particularly nice, but I'm not a bad guy either. And I'm of average masculinity, neither wimpy nor a beast. So, I figure I'm a pretty good proxy.

And that makes me wonder how much demand there'll be for these things.

There's always been a small market for those blowup dolls which bear absolutely no resemblance to a real woman. And in the future, sexbots are going to be far more realistic.

There seems to be a vein of sentiment among some of the guys I've spoken to about how these things will be far preferable to real women. (Women aren't the only ones who, after a lifetime of experience, harbor a generalized resentment against the opposite sex.) These new toys probably be fairly expensive, but once you've bought one, it won't spend all your money. It won't divorce you. And it won't ever tell you it's not in the mood for sex.

Of course, the fact that sexbots will be so acquiescent will also detract from their realism.

I suppose in order for a sexbot to convince me of its humanity, it would have to be programmed to say, "We don't talk enough."

"You haven't taken me out to dinner recently."

"Anything a man can do, a woman can do better."

"I have my own kind of logic."

"Who are you to say I'm not entitled to my own set of facts?"

And, "You're such an obnoxious asshole."

Then, maybe, I could believe it was real, and get turned on.

Or not.


-taylor said...

I also consider myself to be relatively representative of the average guy, and I just can't see myself getting turned on by a sex robot. When I think about my times I've had at strip clubs, sure, I have an alright time, but the fact that I know the women are doing their job and likely uninterested in me, it just takes away most of the fun. With a robot, no matter how realistic it is physically, there's no way I can trick myself into thinking there's some sort of connection.

I've read some of the comments from guys on the internet who seem to be excited about soon being able to buy realistic sexbots, and I think half of them are the type of men who simply have never been with a woman and have accepted that that'll probably never change. I honestly can't blame them for their interest in them. The other half are probably older men who're fed up with women, and just see sexbots as this great alternative. I think they like the idea of a sexbot a lot more then they'll end up actually enjoying one.

The whole thing reminds me of that movie "Blade Runner" which they've apparently recently made a sequel to. In that movie the robots become so realistic, not just in physical form, but in their ability to have emotions, memories, and even to supposedly feel love, that the human character of harrison ford falls in love with the robot played by sean young. Maybe far in the future if these robots become so realistic that they're almost indistinguishable from the real thing, then sure, why not. But short of that, I don't see it.

John Craig said...

Taylor --
I'm with you: I just don't think I could get lost in the fantasy that this is anything other than a piece of plastic I'd be having sex with. And the prototypes I've seen pictures of don't even look all that realistic.

I think you're right about the types of guys who'd want one. I was actually surprised that 9% of women said they'd consider using one; I suppose it'd really be nothing more than a fancified vibrator for them, and I think a lot more than 9% of women use those.

Dave Moriarty said...

i have suggested the cars with the maps/directions have the selection of voices to guide one beyond the accent. for example, wouldn't you prefer Morgan Freeman to tell you you are headed in the right direction and just 40 more miles of your attention and you will be there. sounds great Morgan thanks for h the help ..

or perhaps one might prefer Roseanne Barr screaming at you : "I told you to take that left back there you idiot - jeez now i am gonna be late because of you arrghh" some of us would r feel right at home ...

but as for the robots , sign me up for the Heidi robot. I have been waiting for Heidi to call me for a long time ( years) but there seems to be a possibility she has lost my number. perhaps the robot version of her will suffice. so maybe looking at this as an income stream for celebs and athletes etc is how this should be perceived a guy could tell his pals he is staying in because he and Margot Robbie have plans for the night. A chick could report to her friends that Brad and she will netflix and chill.

some angry chicks could get the harvey bot and beat the shit of out of it every night- there are a lot of possibilities

John Craig said...

Dave --
Ha, I'm sure Heidi Klum has just lost your number; that's the only possible explanation. I remember reading in some article that various stars could license their likeness out to these companies; you're right, that could be a nice income for them. It would be interesting to see which stars sold best; I bet they'd get pretty competitive about it.

And you're right; the possibilities for playacting are endless.

Anonymous said...

"I'm almost embarrassed to admit that, as it puts me into the 'sensitive' cohort I usually despise."

DUDE, real talk now.

You are a BIG SWEETIE. Don't think we don't know it. You do, of course, manage to overcome this slight handicap via personal discipline, admiration for virtue, and a willingness to suffer which has somehow given rise to your fundamental self-confidence and basic courtesy. (Why, yes, I WILL write the blurb for your next book, just ask).

All of which is why it's so ludicrous for anybody to condemn you as a big meanie, just because you occasionally pass along obviously-correct yet racially-insensitive daily-life observations.

"BIG MEANIE" is not the Mister Craig that is on display here in this blog.


John Craig said...

I'm definitely hiring you to write that blurb. Though I'm not sure anybody would want to read a book by a "BIG SWEETIE." (I wouldn't; it sounds as if might be kinda boring.)

But thank you anyway.

I don't see myself as a "big meanie," either. "Obnoxious asshole," I'll plead guilty to though. At least from time to time.

Steven said...

My gut has always been that no I wouldn't be interested in a sexbot. Its not physically enough like the real thing yet but also it turns out that the sentience of real women does matter (who would have thought). I might feel pathetic too.

Steven said...

On the other hand, would I have a go if one was lying around? Could I really say I wouldn't?

John Craig said...

Steven --
Thanks for that honest response. I guess that's pretty much how I feel.

Mark Caplan said...

The sexbot is an expensive, cumbersome solution to a nonexistent problem: facilitating an average man to masturbate to his satisfaction.

John Craig said...

Mark --
You're right, the question seems to be, to what extent does it enhance the fantasy? I've wondered, too, if the average guy will get tired of his particular doll. If you can get tired of a real woman, you'd certainly think you could tire of a doll preprogrammed with a limited selection of lines as well. And that leads to the question, would there be any swapping going on. I'll lend you my blonde for a week if I can have your brunette. But that would be a little gross, too, sort of like wearing another guy's underwear, except worse.

I could see these things going the way of the Segway in fairly short order.

Dave Moriarty said...

it seems the next generation is moving the society in the direction of no ownership- just renting for a short time and "move on"

uber -- who needs to own a car just click and you get one and don't have to park it or pay insurance or even wash it

airbnb-- no need to have a house or lease just keep moving around

perhaps the mind shapers have taken monogamy out of the realm= feel like a blond German knockout take "Heidi" for a week or till whenever you tire of "her"

feel the urge to try Latin? here is the "Salma Hayek " model or maybe you'd prefer 'Shakira " so your hips don't lie.

in fact there will likely be "versions' for every preference. the catholic school girl with the plaid skirt may evolve into a popular choice rivaling the cheerleader option

there is good news about bots: they don't need vacations, they will not likely have personal attorneys on speed dial, there is no divorce concept in play, they don't need to be movie stars, they show up to "work" every day, they are not on the phone with their mother or sister all day , they don't eat a lot and likely remain in "good shape", don't get tired -- don't need to shop and so on

they may not be the best company when watching Ray Donovan or driving to Cooperstown or Falmouth
and they will never share the bond a loving marriage can build so they will not be substitute for a great wife- but surely a more entertaining hobby than playing with train sets in the basement ( ok i have never had that hobby but you get the point)

John Craig said...

Dave --
Good point about how we're moving in the direction of a more temporary, "rental" lifestyle rather than an ownership one. That really rings true with the whole car thing, too. Some of that is a function of more people living in the city and not needing them, but the car looms less large than it used to. When I was kid I used to see people in their driveway washing their cars with pride, I can't recall the last time I saw that. (Though that may be partly a function of the ubiquity of car washes these days.) And people used to take photos of themselves standing next to their cars, you see that less now too.

The greater interconnectedness of things renders even friendships into more ephemeral things; people establish weaker bonds with others whom they don't see on a regular basis. And the idea of a long, extended courtship has gone out the window, courtesy of Tinder et al. (I think that's an improvement, frankly.)

And as far as sexbots, yeah, though I still have my reservations about how popular they're going to be.

Rona said...

I think this poll asking people if they'd be interested in sexbots is like asking people during Commodore 64 years if they envision themselves playing video games for hours on end.

Back then if was for kids and uber nerds and no one with decent social life was playing games, women especially. Now gaming is overtaking film industry and is considered cool and mainstream.

As robots become more aesthetically pleasing and especially when they get equipped with highly developed AI personality they'll become hugely popular.

Women are completely uninterested in buying a machine for sex only, but are very interested in fantasy and romance with hardcore sex as part of the story.

Imagine sexbot Christian Grey, with sophisticated AI, able to carry on conversation with thousands of phrases, unpredictable and charming.

If robots become able to offer immersive experience of participating in a fantasy as well as provide physical sensation of sex there's no way a majority of population won't indulge.

It grosses us out now but once uncanny valley is overcome the only ones embarrassed will be those whose model of sexbot is so last year.

John Craig said...

Rona --
Your comment exudes common sense.

My only hesitation is that the photos of the prototypes I've seen so far seem to fall far short of looking real, even if they're a big step up from the blow up dolls of the previous era. And when I try to imagine myself with one, I get the sense I'd feel silly.

I agree that these things will come with a variety of personality programs, as a matter of fact I was just writing up a (jokey) post about that.

There's also the question of expense. I have to imagine that they'd be prohibitively expensive, certainly to the point where you couldn't buy a new one every year just because the old one got outdated. I suppose that the sexbot market could always be more of a rental one than an ownership one, as Dave Moriarty suggested above.

LBD said...

I think women will become interested if the bots become more realistic, so that a woman can get lost in the fantasy. I would predict that most female bot customers would be older women or less attractive women, since younger women and pretty women have little trouble getting live human men for non marital sex.

When we women get to a certain age, or if we have been shortchanged in the looks department, it's nearly impossible to get fit, good looking guys even for temporary liaisons-- we are essentially invisible. Not men's fault, why would they rush to hook up with the old or homely? A robot would not only satisfy the need but would have the benefit of preserving privacy.

Older or uglier men always have the option of going to a prostitute, which is not part of women's experience from the customer end. I don't know any woman who would know where to,look for a man for hire, if such people exist. It would also be too awkward and embarrassing, not part of our culture in any way. The more realistic of us can't dupe ourselves into participating in some " sweetheart scam" where some young guy pretends interest in order to get close to our money. A robot might just make sense.

John Craig said...

LBD --
Your comments, like Rona's, always exude an intelligent, hard, informed realism.

I guess it's all a matter of how easily we -- men AND women -- can let our imaginations run away with us. I suppose in a way it will be somewhat liberating in that there will no longer be any reason to feel self-conscious or embarrassed with one's new "partner." And for women especially, a sex bot would be preferable in that the sexbot would never suffer from premature ejaculation and would never go flaccid. (I wonder if these male sexbots would be able to perform oral sex; female sex dolls are advertised as having three usable apertures, but those are basically just holes; a male sexbot performing oral sex would seem to require a bit more "skill.")

It's occurred to me that there's probably going to be a positive correlation between the ability to get lost in this particular fantasy and hypnotizability, which varies between people.

You mention that "the more realistic of us can't dupe ourselves into participating in some 'sweetheart scam'...." That brings to mind another problem with real, live human beings: they always come with problems. There are so many people who have "issues," as they're popularly referred to, or syndromes of various sorts. It's awfully, awful easy to tire of someone with a narcissistic personality, or borderline disorder, or bipolar disorder, or any number of other problems. And the Sweetheart scam you mention often involves that most unattractive of personalities, a sociopath.

That thought makes the sexbots suddenly seem more appealing.

LBD said...

Don't worry about the fancy bells and whistles-- if they can invent a cyborg that can give a good, hard, square f---, that would be just fine.

Funny thing-- when I post a comment, I have to check a box stating "I am not a robot". Hmmmm.......

John Craig said...

LBD --

Well, if I ever do get a sexbot, I want it to have your personality.

Actually, on second thought, you may be a little too smart/challenging for me.

The phrase I was looking for earlier to describe you and Rona was "tough-minded." I'm not sure I've ever known a woman like that, in person, at least.

LBD said...

And you know, never in my life have I ever had a problem with domestic abuse, date rape, etc. Humans have a primitive part of the brain which gives them signals on an unconscious level--i.e., this person is vulnerable, that one is afraid, etc. I think men instinctively knew that if they went that way with me, it would not go well for them. Nothing to do with physical strength, most men are vastly stronger than most women, myself included. Just something about me says, "not a victim" I always knew I might go down, but I would be taking someone with me. The predator always picks off the weak one in the herd, and that has never been me.

John Craig said...

LBD --
I can believe it.

I guess it was the predator in me that knew to steer clear.