June 29, 2007

Cherry 2000

burne-jones_pygmalion.jpgA discussion on sexbots emerged on Half Sigma. That reminded me of an amusing paper I recently read, Robot Prostitutes as Alternatives to Human Sex Workers (pdf) by D. Levy (from the roboethics section of the 2007 IEEE conference on robotics and automation, lots of fun papers). He makes the argument that while sex robots are under development, the first truly good ones are going to be expensive. Hence it would make more sense to rent them than to buy them, and hence there would emerge robot prostitution ("doll experience rooms" is almost there, but without the robotics). He then goes on to look at the main ethical issues, reaching the conclusion that the biggest problem might be making human sex workers redundant, but that there is apparently nothing inherently wrong with the idea of robot prostitution.

My prediction is that in the long run we are going to see a large part of human sexual and erotic desire fulfilled by technogamy (the social and emotional parts might remain between humans). But the limiting factors of robotics (the devices need to be smart enough to take care of themselves) and social acceptance (it must not be a terrible embarassment if your guests find a sexbot in your wardrobe) will take quite some time. It might be an interesting race of preemption between sexbots, good brain-computer interfaces allowing VR and transformative technologies that make mankind postbiological. In the long run we are all technosexuals.

Posted by Anders3 at June 29, 2007 06:05 PM