Whenever matters of sexbots are concerned, or of artificial wombs and the like, we will inevitably be confronted with the accusation of escapism, that these are simply fantastical desires of those not competent enough to deal with present reality. That is fine and dandy as far as I’m concenrned, these things do not bother me.
I would wager that when these technologies become available, and then ubiquitous, not in a roxxxy sort of way but in an post uncanny valley, ex machina sort of way, 99% of the same people that ridicule those who envision these technologies would grudgingly utilize them. It is the nature of these things, there are always going to be those looking with excited eyes toward what is just beyond our grasp, and those mocking them for it. Despite all of this, the slow march of technological development continues, slowly but surely making the distant future appear just a little less so than before. Human beings on the verge of such technologies inevitably make predictions about how we respond to them and in terms of human sexuality it seems our response will be simply
Can I have sex with it?
An article titled Touching robots can arouse humans, study finds explored the state of arousal when human beings were asked to touch various parts of a robots body (including where it’s genitalia would be assuming they were anatomically similar to humans). Before I go on, I will add the disclaimer that the following studies have very small sample sizes, I am not at any point making the claim that these studies are the end all be all on these subjects, but I will use these studies to illustrate the questions they raise and to call for a more thorough inquiry. The study states the following.
Californian researchers have established that an intimate caress of a humanoid robot can produce a physiological response in a human.
They challenged volunteers with a robotic creature less than two feet high that possessed eyes, ears, torso, legs, arms and a voice – and a chat-up line rich in come-hither invitations. “Sometimes I’ll ask you to touch my body and sometimes I’ll ask you to point to my body,” it told volunteers.
It was found that a touch where the robot’s buttocks or genitals would be produced a measurable response of arousal in the volunteer human, the scientists report.
“Our work shows that robots are a new form of media that is particularly powerful. It shows that people respond to robots in a primitive, social way,” said Jamy Li, a mechanical engineer at Stanford University in California, who led the study. “Social conventions regarding touching someone else’s private parts apply to a robot’s body parts as well. The research has implications for both robot design and the theory of artificial systems.”
The study is one of a series of freshly-published presentations to be made at the 66th annual conference of the International Communication Association in Japan, in June.
And it demonstrates that there is more to a humanoid than just looks: even a touch can provoke a human response.
The ten human volunteers – four female, six male – in the experiment simply responded to commands from the voice of an Aldebaran Robotics Nao robot that had been programmed to tell participants to touch any of 13 parts of its body, using their dominant hand. On the non-dominant hand, the volunteers wore a sensor that measured skin conductance, which is itself an indicator of physiological, and perhaps emotional, arousal.
In 26 trials, the scientists found that a touch upon what they politely call the “less accessible” regions of the robot was more arousing than touching the creature’s hands or feet. No such response was measured when volunteers were asked only to point.
“Social robots can elicit tactile responses in human physiology, a result that signals the power of robots, and should caution mechanical and interaction designers about positive and negative effects of human-robot interactions,” the researchers conclude.
The covering of the toy-like automaton was plastic, with no textural or temperature differences anywhere. If it was skin contact that produced arousal it would happen wherever the volunteer made contact. In fact the response was higher for “body parts with low accessibility.”
The research raises questions that have yet to be answered. “In future, robots with human forms may assist us in personal and public spaces,” the scientists say. “What kinds of relationships will people develop with these robots? While they are clearly not human, social conventions such as body accessibility may apply to robots as well.”
Interesting, it is well known that the human species is decidedly not a species that relegates its sexual desires exclusively to it’s own, the development of the human species after all can be at least in part described as a result of different closely related hominids engaging in cross species sex and reproduction with one another creating the various iterations of modern humans, it is known that Europeans and Asians contain different percentages of neanderthal DNA for example.
The Scientific definition of the term “species” reads as follows,
a group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding. The species is the principal natural taxonomic unit, ranking below a genus and denoted by a Latin binomial.
This definition can become somewhat murky at times since there are what most people call distinct species that can in fact interbreed with one another, We can observe that a male stallion can impregnate a female donkey producing a sterile hybrid known as a hinny, and the reciporcal pairing of a male donkey with a female horse produces a mule, both of which are born sterile, thus a distinction toward the definition of a species should be made that it is a group of living organisms capable of exchanging genes that result in viable offspring, who themselves can go on to create more viable offspring.
This was only partly the case if a study on the incorporation of neanderthal DNA into the human genome is to be believed, the study titled DNA points to Neanderthal breeding barrier states the following.
Incompatibilities in the DNA of Neanderthals and modern humans may have limited the impact of interbreeding between the two groups.
It’s now widely known that many modern humans carry up to 4% Neanderthal DNA.
But a new analysis of the Neanderthal Y chromosome, the package of genes passed down from fathers to sons, shows it is missing from modern populations.
The team found differences in immunity genes on the Neanderthal Y chromosome that could have led to miscarriages.
The results have been published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.
The small amount of DNA in present-day people is the legacy of breeding between the two populations 50,000 years ago – after our species Homo sapiens expanded out of its African homeland and began to colonise Eurasia.
But the new analysis reveals the Neanderthal Y chromosome is distinct from any found in humans today.
“We’ve never observed the Neanderthal Y chromosome DNA in any human sample ever tested,” said co-author Prof Carlos Bustamante, from Stanford University in California.
“That doesn’t prove it’s totally extinct, but it likely is.”
The researchers say it is possible that Neanderthal Y chromosomes were initially circulating in the modern human gene pool, but were then lost by chance over the millennia.
Another possibility is that they included genes that were incompatible with other genes found in modern humans. Indeed, the researchers found evidence to support this idea.
Several of the Y chromosome genes that differ in Neanderthals function as part of the immune system. Three are “minor histocompatibility antigens,” or H-Y genes, which resemble ones that transplant surgeons check to make sure that organ donors and organ recipients have similar immune profiles.
Because these Neanderthal genes are on the Y chromosome, they are specific to males.
In theory, a woman’s immune system might attack a male foetus carrying Neanderthal versions of these genes. If women consistently miscarried male babies carrying Neanderthal Y chromosomes, that would explain its absence in modern humans.
So far this is just a hypothesis, but the immune systems of modern women are known to sometimes react to male offspring when there’s genetic incompatibility.
Prof Bustamante said: “The functional nature of the mutations we found suggests to us that Neanderthal Y chromosome sequences may have played a role in barriers to gene flow, but we need to do experiments to demonstrate this and are working to plan these now.”
More Like Masturbation Than Human Sex
Men and women shared a common understanding of sex robot capabilities and how sex with a robot should be classified in comparison with human relationships. For example, both male and female participants agreed that sex with a robot was more like masturbation than sex between humans. But men typically had greater enthusiasm than women for the different possible uses of sex robots.
One of the greatest differences in opinion came up regarding use of sex robots for sex offenders. Women showed disapproval on average by giving an “inappropriate” rating of 3.7 on the 7-point scale, whereas men gave a more favorable “appropriate” rating of 4.88 on average. Men and women also diverged in their “appropriate” versus “inappropriate” ratings for the case of using sex robots to practice abstinence.
On the other hand, both women and men generally agreed that using sex robots was more appropriate than hiring a human prostitute. They also agreed on sex robots being appropriate for use by disabled people and for reducing the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
Very interesting, women and to a lesser degree men, disapprove of sex offenders having access to sexbots, despite the possibility that such a thing could be used to prevent these crimes, although the argument could be made that doing so could potentially exacerbate them…
“We need a larger discussion on relationships and intimacy,” Scheutz says. “Some differences really may be the results of more complex differences between male and female attitudes toward human relationships.”
Significant gender differences in ratings sometimes appeared even when both men and women were generally in agreement. For example, men gave higher “appropriate” ratings to using a sex robot instead of cheating on a partner, to improve self-esteem, for making porn films, for group sex involving both humans and robots, to engage in unusual sex practices such as rough sex or sadistic behavior, and for sex education. Women also gave ratings that classified such uses as “appropriate” on average, but with lower levels of approval.
Men and women most closely agreed on using sex robots to maintain a relationship between humans, to assist training for the sake of preventing sexual harassment, and in isolated environments where normal human relationships are not available. The latter suggests that people probably won’t begrudge Mars mission astronauts or Arctic researchers their more intimate moments with future robots.
I find it interesting that people would want to regulate sex bots in the first place, in a free and open society, shouldnt an individual no matter what the reason, be free to exchange capital for goods and use them as he/she pleases as long as it is not harming others?
Pushing the Boundaries of Sex Robots
In terms of sex robot form and appearance, both men and women strongly agreed that sex robots should not look like a human child. That finding may reflect general disapproval of pedophile behavior. But more significant gender differences emerged for every other possible form of sex robots presented in the survey. Once again, men consistently gave higher ratings than women to every possible form of sex robots.
Sex robots that look like an adult human received the highest approval ratings from both men and women. Men gave a very high “appropriate” rating of almost 6.5 on the 7-point scale. Women also gave such sex robots a reasonably high rating of almost 5.2.
The adult human form of sex robots was followed in descending order of approval rating by “a fantasy creature,” “any recognizable life form,” “a celebrity” and “one’s current partner.” All those sex robot forms generally received an enthusiastic approval rating of more than 5 from men.
But women gave a much more tepid response with most ratings hovering between 4.5 and 4. The average rating from women even dipped slightly below 4—more disapproval than approval—for sex robots that resembled celebrities. It’s not entirely clear whether the female ambivalence about celebrity sex robots directed more toward Jude Law’s Gigolo Joe character from “A.I.” or the idea of men lusting after robots shaped like Hollywood’s latest female stars.
The differences of opinion were even greater for other possible sex robot forms. Men gave fairly high approval ratings above 5 for sex robots shaped like “one’s deceased spouse” and “one’s friend.” Women seemed to disapprove of such sex robots with average ratings between 4 and 3.
Besides the child sex robots, only two other sex robot forms drew universal disapproval from both men and women. Sex robots shaped like “one’s family member” had ratings of 3.3 from men and just below 2.2 from women, which suggests neither gender seems to approve of sex robots resembling siblings or parents. Similarly, sex robots shaped like animals drew general disapproval with an average “inappropriate” rating of 3.7 from men and an even lower rating of 2.6 from women.
Well folks I’ll leave you to analyze…