excerpts from the full original article from Mic.com here
A robot madam, played by Thandie Newton, goes rogue on HBO’s ‘Westworld.’Source: HBO
Strap on enough hardware, and the avatar of your dreams will grind to the beat of your teledildonics. Today’s smart dolls are becoming increasingly lifelike — nowhere near the humanoid sex workers in Maeve’s Westworld brothel, but looking and acting more and more realistic, even simulating love. Soon, humans won’t need to hop on a train to do whatever they wish to a complacent fembot — they can just stroll down to their basement.
Westworld, whose eponymous park encourages consequence-free rape and murder, only hints at the psychological and ethical consequences of abusing androids. But it’s a question we should take seriously. While Westworld focuses on the consequences of abuse on robot sentience specifically, some experts say we humans could experience something even more dire in the process — the loss of our empathy.
When a man strangles, stabs and rapes a humanoid woman, how will he treat the woman he goes home to? Does our humanity suffer when we’re inhumane to machines?”
What kind of person would want to assault a sex doll?
When I asked experts across ethics, robotics and computer science if it’s possible to rape a robot, and if programmed consent counts as consent at all, they seemed more concerned with what raping and killing a robot would do to us humans.
Basically, if you’d go “black hat” on Westworld, you might already be a sociopath.
“Normal people would find it very hard to shoot a Westworld creature,” said David Pizarro, an associate professor of psychology at Cornell University. “It seems like you have to be a sociopath to have to do the things they show the people doing to the robots in Westworld.” Sociopaths are often identified by their difficulty forming connections with other people.
There has been little research on how the normalization of sex with humanoid robots that are equipped with artificial intelligence might impact our own relationships.
Pizarro suggested the kind of guy who’d abuse a sex robot “might actually be a very different guy already. … There’s no lack of male disrespect toward women already, and those might be the men who are most drawn to sex robots.”
Sex robots can promote the harmful idea that women are sexual objects
When Matt McMullen, CEO of RealDoll — a company aiming to release sex dolls equipped with artificial intelligence in 2017 — was asked what he saw as the company’s direct competition, he responded with: “the human female.”
I asked sex tech entrepreneur Cindy Gallop, founder of If We Ran the World and Make Love Not Porn, what she thought about McMullen’s comment.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” she said.
“When you say that your competition is a human female, you are saying, ‘Here is someone who will do your bidding, follow your every whim, let you fuck her any which way you want to Sunday, and you don’t have to engage with a real person in any way at all,'” Gallop said. “And that’s appalling.”
Sinziana Gutiu, a Canadian lawyer focusing on human rights, privacy and human-computer interaction, calls it the “roboticization of consent” — the concept of a humanoid robot with artificial intelligence, used by humans for sex.
“I believe that the ‘roboticization of consent’ is fundamentally at odds with our social and legal commitment to equality and risks diminishing the importance of consent between humans,” Gutiu told Mic.
She said in the context of male users and robots designed in a woman’s image, these sexual encounters “replicate existing gender inequalities and stereotypes about women’s value in society, and promote the idea that women are sexual objects used to gratify male sexual desires.”
Sex robots are almost exclusively female — and it’s a big problem
When I tried to find a sex robot for straight women online, options were scarce. An article from Vice — “What would sex robots for women look like?” — included a mock-up of what looks like a crate with a dildo built into it sitting on top of a caterpillar track, complete with an iPad screen for the celebrity face of your choosing. (How lifelike.)
That is likely because not only is the tech industry dominated by men, but also because companies founded by men are more likely to get funding.
Take for example the blow job cafe staffed by female robots that’s opening soon in London. Men can plop down at the bar and receive fellatio from a robot while sipping on espresso. (For shy patrons, there will be “two box-like areas.”) When Inverse asked cafe founder Bradley Charvet whether he had plans to bring in male sex robots to serve customers of varying genders and sexualities, Charvet said they “don’t have an expected date for that, but it is in the works,” signaling a straight-men-first strategy.
“When you have a tech world that, like every other industry, is dominated by a closed loop of white guys talking to white guys talking to white guys, what you get are tech products with a male-centric worldview,” Gallop said.
She added that when these products begin to operate at scale, that can have “very profound effects on humanity.”
Sex robots aren’t wholly unwholesome — and some think they could help curb aggressive behavior
Dolls can play an important role for individuals with disabilities, as Gallop notes. Human sex workers currently fill that role for many, aiding an individual with disabilities to become a “confident, knowledgeable and sexually skilled individual who can proceed to finding a partner,” as the Guardian reported.
But while robots might offer certain individuals a gateway to better understanding and human intimacy, Pizarro doesn’t see smart sex dolls as a healthy outlet for individuals with violent tendencies.
Could assaulting a sex doll be a cathartic release of aggression for some abusers, saving actual human beings from violent acts? Probably not.
“In general, there is not very good evidence for the view that catharsis works for aggression,” Pizarro said. “It’s pretty much the case that as soon as people started testing the hypothesis that ‘venting’ your aggression would reduce it, they found that not only does it not actually reduce it, it often fans the flames and makes people behave even more aggressively.”
Plus, someone who takes out their violent urges and sexual aggression on a lifelike robot might just be practicing assault. So actually, there’s “reason to think that it might increase the chances that they would act this way toward actual human beings,” Pizarro said….”
What direction will this go in? Will shy, reclusive males with low confidence and social skills give up bothering with real women as sex robots become available? If it becomes more acceptable, will a significant portion of the population take the easy route to sex?
read even more at the full original article at Mic.com here