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Expert Predicts Sex With Robots possible in the future. Would you consider this?

SpiritualEyes 2008/11/01 23:35:53
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If you're younger than 35, you'll probably live long enough to put David Levy's prediction to the test. Levy says that by 2050 we'll be creating robots so lifelike, so imbued with human-seeming intelligence and emotions, as to be nearly indistinguishable from real people. And we'll have sex with these robots. Some of us will even marry them. And it will all be good.

Levy lays out his vision of a Brave New Carnal World in Love and Sex With Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships, which, despite its extended riffs on sex toys through the ages, is a snigger-free book. Levy's no Al Goldstein. Rather he's a 62-year-old British chess master turned artificial-intelligence expert persuaded that robot sex can brighten the lives of many, many unhappy people. "Great sex on tap for everyone, 24/7,'' he writes on the final page of the book. What's not to like?

"Chess'' and "sex'' aren't words that normally share the same sentence, but in Levy's case, the one led to the other. A keen chessman since boyhood, by the time he got to St. Andrews University he played at the international level. At the university he got interested in computers and the challenge of programming machines to play chess. Eventually he earned international recognition for his work on chess-playing computers and natural-language software, and in the mid '90s headed a team that won the Loebner Prize, widely regarded as the world championship of conversational software. Today he owns a firm that develops electronic hand-held brain games.

Designing computers that talk like humans naturally led to the larger question of how humans interact with robots, which are nothing more than computers with arms and legs and a head. The Japanese have taken the lead in developing "partner robots,'' machines that, for example, might do household tasks for elderly people. But if you could invent a robot that serves cocktails, could you not invent a robot that would make a superior bedmate?

It sounds like a mighty tall order. A machine with skin that feels like ours? With our physical dexterity? And, most important, with a mind like ours - imperfectly rational, sometimes emotionally intelligent, sometimes emotionally dumb?

"I think it's a reasonable assumption,'' Levy said in a telephone interview from his home in London. He lays out his case in a voice that's calm, rational, almost flat, more geeky than goatish.

"If one looks at the advances in technology in the last, say, 40 or 50 years, they've been immense, and the more we learn about the science and the technology, the quicker it will be to discover even more within that science."

Smart money never bets against technological advances, but it helps if you stack the deck. "The automaton simulates man when man has been defined in an automaton's way," literary critic Hugh Kenner wrote. Is that what Levy does?

"I take a pragmatic point of view," he said, "partly because in my original field, computer chess, that was how the problem was solved." Not by making machines that thought like chess masters but by making machines that beat chess masters. Similarly, Levy thinks, robots need only "simulate" human intelligence and emotions "to the point that they are absolutely convincing." If you can't tell whether the thing is man or machine, what difference does it make? You'll treat it as if it were alive. The rest is philosophical hairsplitting.

So who will avail themselves of 21st-century sexbots?

Sad cases, for one, people so physically unattractive or anti-social or isolated or emotionally crippled that they have trouble finding human romance. People who love their computers more than their fellows. Hey, they're out there already.

"They're lonely; they're miserable," Levy said. "I think society will be a much better place when they have an alternative that satisfies them without doing any harm to other people."

Add in those who have a satisfying sexual relationship but are simply curious and somewhere between 20 percent and 50 percent of the population will experience man-machine mating at least occasionally, Levy predicts.

He respects the fact that plenty of people, out of moral or religious conviction, will contemplate this with horror.

"But by and large," he said, "it will be very good for society, very beneficial, and I think that will be the majority view within a relatively short space of time."

Sexbots may put prostitutes out of business, he notes.

Near the end of the book Levy alludes to a set of vexing questions. If robots become utterly humanlike, must we not treat them as more than machines? So if you marry a robot, can it inherit your estate? If you catch it boffing the mail carrier, can you toss it out with heavy trash? If your robot pops your neighbor in the mouth, who does your neighbor sue?

Levy admits he doesn't know the answers.

"There are lot of questions here that need a great deal of discussion and consideration from people who are much wiser than I am in the field of ethics, philosophy and law. Clearly the law makers and the lawyers are going to have a field day debating these issues."

He expects the impetus for creating sexbots to come from the sex-toy industry rather than, say, MIT. Already a Japanese sex-doll manufacturer has announced plans to market a doll with electronics in it, and Levy has read that Japanese companies are working to produce sex robots for people living in outlying fishing villages.

"I think the Japanese are probably working on this more than one would realize from the little that's been published so far," he said.

Levy has been amazed at the publicity the Love and Sex With Robots has generated since its release last month. He's done a dozen radio interviews and a TV interview. Howard Stern raved about the book. So far, no hate mail.

Would Levy himself have sex with a robot? He doesn't have to ponder the question.

"If there was a robot of the sort I describe in the book, I would certainly want to experience using it for sex, and I wouldn't regard it as anything untoward," he said. "I would do it out of curiosity. Not that I have a need for a new sex partner. I'm happily married."

And the wife would be OK with this?

"Yes, yes, and if she wanted to try one I wouldn't have a problem with that. I would regard it as genuine scientific curiosity."

fritz.lanham@chron.com
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/5414105.html
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  • Wesloco 2009/08/07 15:21:45
    Undecided
    Wesloco
    Depends on the robot!

    undecided depends robot
  • Syko 2009/08/07 13:46:58
    Yes
    Syko
    +1
    When you wear out the tread in the tyres you can just replace the tyres, what's not to like?
  • lurx: the soda jerk 2009/08/07 13:08:18
    Yes
    lurx: the soda jerk
    +1


    ...and it's about time. It makes far better sense than having sex with your toaster.
  • Heather Unknown 2009/08/07 09:17:24
    Yes
    Heather Unknown
    Why not?!

    Real emotions, and everything!
    Better than the real deal!
    LOL
  • ProgressiveBum 2009/08/07 09:05:44
    Undecided
    ProgressiveBum
    only if I get to program the robot bitch...
  • ShutUpAndThink 2009/08/07 06:27:24
    Yes
    ShutUpAndThink
  • Artist~PWCM~ 2009/08/07 05:49:52
    Yes
    Artist~PWCM~
    Well there would be some advantages:
    No headache excuses
    Definitely an 'off' button
    Always ready when you are
    Probably interchangeable accessories
    You're always 'The Man!'
    Dress her any damn way you like with no comments
    Dress any damn way you want with no comments
    You can drive in the car-pool lane now
    None of this 'does this make me look fat?' crap
    Did I mention there would be an 'off' button?


    comments dress damn comments car-pool lane fat crap mention button
  • Matt 2009/08/07 05:45:44
    Yes
    Matt
    +2
    I wanted one of these, but they shipped me a Palestinian inflatable love doll. She blew herself up !

    shipped palestinian inflatable love doll blew
  • Artist~... Matt 2009/08/07 05:51:02
    Artist~PWCM~
    +2
    That's what I call triple jointed with attitude!
    Boom!
  • Ruby Sl... Matt 2009/08/07 21:51:42
    Ruby Slippers awaits voluntary deactivation
    lol
  • DemonKiTTiE ♥ In MUSE I Tru... 2009/08/07 05:38:24
    Yes
    DemonKiTTiE ♥ In MUSE I Trust ♥
    +3
    I would consider it.
  • NickName his Dudeness 2009/08/07 05:24:40
    Yes
    NickName his Dudeness
    +2
    What the hell...when in Rome I guess.

    Besides, it fits nicely with my theory that the world would be a much more peaceful place if everybody were just getting laid more.
  • Not Einstein 2009/08/07 05:14:16
    Undecided
    Not Einstein
    +1
    They've been around since the mid 90's:

    Realdoll Features:

    * Elastic - flesh can withstand over 300% elongation
    * Heat Resistant - can withstand over 300 degrees heat
    * Water Resistant - solid construction
    * Stain Resistant - nothing sticks to silicone flesh
    * Durable - long life silicone rubber
    * Lifelike - anatomically correct, parts molded from life-casts
    * Realistic Feel - pliant and soft in all the right places
    * Odorless and Flavorless
    * Flexible - wide range of joint movement
    * Sexy and Pleasurable - provides effective aid to sexual fulfillment
    * Safe - no risk of disease, nontoxic
    * Convenient - always ready & available
    * Relaxing and Comforting - provides stress-free companionship
    * Affordable - cheaper than most alternatives
    PhotobucketPhotobucket
  • Bob-chicka-wow-wow 2009/08/07 05:14:12
    Yes
    Bob-chicka-wow-wow
    +3
    good news
  • OhioGirl ~ Peace ~ 2009/08/07 05:11:24
    Yes
    OhioGirl ~ Peace ~
    +5
    Oh yeah....35 and younger. I miss out on everything...LOL
  • Bob-chi... OhioGir... 2009/08/07 05:15:08
    Bob-chicka-wow-wow
    +2
    *walks up to OG all jerky and mechanical like*
  • OhioGir... Bob-chi... 2009/08/07 05:17:40
    OhioGirl ~ Peace ~
    +2
    I've got oil...
  • Bob-chi... OhioGir... 2009/08/07 05:19:40
    Bob-chicka-wow-wow
    +2
    *talks all puter like.........."I have chips and dip"*
  • OhioGir... Bob-chi... 2009/08/07 05:20:52
    OhioGirl ~ Peace ~
    +2
    LMAO
    I'll bring the smokes
  • Bob-chi... OhioGir... 2009/08/07 05:21:57
    Bob-chicka-wow-wow
    +2
    damn who knew that would work
  • Matt OhioGir... 2009/08/07 05:43:25
    Matt
    +3
    They already have them for girls. Ever hear of a Sybian ?
  • OhioGir... Matt 2009/08/07 06:37:17
    OhioGirl ~ Peace ~
    +1
    yeah....heard of it
  • Beltazar 2009/08/07 03:16:18
    No
    Beltazar
    +1
    Nah... Sorry, I need the thing.. cuz for me it is always about pleasing her..
  • 1348933 2009/08/07 03:11:53
    No
    1348933
    Ew. None for me, thanks!
  • Prowl 2009/03/13 16:20:26
    Undecided
    Prowl
    +2
    I found the idea of "sexbots" a bit disturbing at first, but hey, so many people in the world today use each other for sex that why not use a robot instead? If it's better and there are no diseases to contract, go for it. And there would also be less unplanned pregnancies if people used sexbots, which would certainly be great news.

    Personally, however, I would not want to "use" a sexbot. I would be more interested in just having a conversation with a robot, like one would have a conversation with a human. The fact that robots will soon be so advanced that one could treat them the same as another human fascinates me and makes me look forward to the future of technology. Although, if some robots are built to be "imperfectly rational" as paragraph five states, wouldn't that lead to possible robot crimes? (Oh no, it's the movie "I, Robot" all over again!)

    Overall, I am still a bit weary about the whole "sexbot" idea, but good may come of it. However, as a person practicing abstinance until marriage, I don't feel "scientific curiosity" towards the thought of using one. I just want to be friends with a robot!
  • sockit2me 2009/02/12 01:53:09
    Yes
    sockit2me
    +2
    we could program the robot into fullfilling our most secret fantasies, or even program it with personality profiles to suit the user, then there would be an expensive black market for purchasing celeb profiles etc, the possibilities here are interesting but the only drawback is absence of emotion, unless, the robot has sensory equipment to tune into your emotion and act accordingly......you could also get an upgrade for your model, such as a boob job for mens pleasure or penis extention for womens pleasure....i could be here all day with fors and against, mostly fors in my view
  • Leo 2009/02/09 17:47:18 (edited)
    Yes
    Leo
    +1
    HELL YEAH, I'll try one. I want the one that can change her face appearance to any of my choosing. Then I can cancel all my porn subscriptions.
  • Myst 2008/12/22 20:18:04
    No
    Myst
    +2
    Let the scientists and engineers play with the robots. I want a living breathing sweaty body to wrap my arms and legs around. Real flesh to let my lips, tongue, and teeth caress. No computer generated lovemaking for me.
  • 1348933 Myst 2009/08/07 03:13:14
    1348933
    Oh, yeah! ;-)
  • Pegsta2000 2008/12/15 09:11:32
    Yes
    Pegsta2000
    Yes...even "oldies" (those over 35??? mind you) enjoy the ocassional horizontal tango...robot or not! ;)
  • Diana 2008/12/09 20:16:03
    Yes
    Diana
    +1
    I won't have to worry about sexually transmitted diseases. People have sex with toys right now as is, so why not add the extra parts to the robot and have fun with it!
  • moorrbrt1 "In God we Trust" 2008/12/07 22:13:13 (edited)
    Yes
    moorrbrt1 "In God we Trust"
    +1
    Can I have one that looks like the one on "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles?"
  • Y'aqob Ha-Ikar 2008/12/07 20:29:40
    No
    Y'aqob Ha-Ikar
    +2
    No, I would never do this. Especially because I am a married man. Pornography has already destroyed a lot of marriages and it is causing a lot of sexual and relational turmoil in human romantic relationships, and porn isn't even as intense as what is being proposed on this topic.
  • Diana Y'aqob ... 2008/12/09 20:17:08
    Diana
    What if you were not married and instead single?
  • Ash Abe... Y'aqob ... 2009/04/09 21:42:24
    Ash Abe Add
    Meh.. Not to agree with them.. But what is wrong with porn? I mean yes.. it could be label as "cheating" ... But then again porn is like what we lust for.. so.. it really people lust.. that what wrong.. porn or no porn.. Just stating.
  • Y'aqob ... Ash Abe... 2009/04/10 04:10:44
    Y'aqob Ha-Ikar
    "Pornography has already destroyed a lot of marriages and it is causing a lot of sexual and relational turmoil in human romantic relationships, and porn isn't even as intense as what is being proposed on this topic."

    People desire to do many things that are not beneficial or downright dangerous. They stick needles in their bodies, pop pills, smoke cigs, get tattoos, eat garbage, gamble, scar themselves, brand themselves, smoke drugs, drink in excess, practice risky sexual behavior....and on and on and on. Just because people lust means that we should not control it and channel it...but just let it go out of control and become it's own monster that dominates our lives....just like these other things can? Sexual addiction whether it be addiction to phone sex, the actual act, pornography...or whatever is real. It has consequences and it is destructive. People have lost their families, their jobs, their savings and their lives (I don't mean death, but because they have such a preoccupation with...say something like porn...that that is the only thing they basically do...that is their only desire and goal. They work to buy porn, they eat to stay alive so they can watch porn, they eat, sleep, (sometimes) work, and watch porn. And if you say that's not true, I can tell you it is. I have k...""""
    "Pornography has already destroyed a lot of marriages and it is causing a lot of sexual and relational turmoil in human romantic relationships, and porn isn't even as intense as what is being proposed on this topic."

    People desire to do many things that are not beneficial or downright dangerous. They stick needles in their bodies, pop pills, smoke cigs, get tattoos, eat garbage, gamble, scar themselves, brand themselves, smoke drugs, drink in excess, practice risky sexual behavior....and on and on and on. Just because people lust means that we should not control it and channel it...but just let it go out of control and become it's own monster that dominates our lives....just like these other things can? Sexual addiction whether it be addiction to phone sex, the actual act, pornography...or whatever is real. It has consequences and it is destructive. People have lost their families, their jobs, their savings and their lives (I don't mean death, but because they have such a preoccupation with...say something like porn...that that is the only thing they basically do...that is their only desire and goal. They work to buy porn, they eat to stay alive so they can watch porn, they eat, sleep, (sometimes) work, and watch porn. And if you say that's not true, I can tell you it is. I have known people that went to counseling because of sexual addiction and people who should have. I worked with people that lived only for the next conquest and could not have a conversation with you without interjecting about sex. I used to live in a academic complex at a University and one night a couple of us fellow teachers went to dinner. We were just walking into the complex when one of my coworkers who was obviously handed over to his lusts (and this was evident in all he did and he was reprimanded by the university a couple of times for it) came up from behind us. We were talking about how to get to somewhere in the city and somebody talked about an "intersection"...and even though he was not in our group of company he chimed in in a loud voice, "what? sex?" You would have to know the teacher to understand this anecdote is one example of his daily perversions. He used to take pictures of the young girls in campus and touch them with inappropriate intimacy (touching their knees and putting his arm around their shoulders and squeezing them. As an aside...he was always for some reason....having problems with his computer....
    (more)
  • Lanie 2008/12/07 05:15:12
    No
    Lanie
    +1
    i doubt that is gonna happen
  • Diana Lanie 2008/12/09 20:17:38
    Diana
    I doubt it too...but there are life like human dolls that are made of silicon.
  • corrinne 2008/12/07 03:14:28
    No
    corrinne
    +1
    I don't think it's healthy to blur the line between man and machine that much. We already have lots of people losing touch with reality and if they didn't have to have another human for sex, they could withdraw completely.
  • seattleman 2008/12/04 00:06:58
    Undecided
    seattleman
    +1
    Probably not. This would just be glorified masturbation. Never say never, though :)

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