The World That’s Coming!
This post gets very surreal and twisted. So don’t blame me when you have to run heaving to the john.A discussion was going on at The Woman And The Dragon about men having so much difficulty with women when the discussion turned, as so many conversations do, to the topic of sexbots. Several people noted the squick factor in such things, and stated that women would never date a guy who she knew to own one of these things. A rebuttal was issued saying these guys aren’t getting dates anyway. My response was simply “I for one welcome our Real Doll overlords! The more men who have them, the fewer dates they’ll get, leaving more women available for me.” Whether any men on the site came to a similar conclusion is unclear at present.
The thread continued on its original topic, but the Real Doll theme kept appearing. A commenter wrote
A fully functional, semi-autonmous sex doll is probably only 10 to 15 years in the future. They’re very much going to be a reality. (Especially when you realize the Japanese already have guys marrying their pillows.)
Or their video games.
Soon after, site owner Sunshine Mary posted this entry about sexbots. She posited a dark future where men turn to clockwork women because they cannot succeed with real women, and the consquences thereof. I’m not usually one to try predicting the future – there are too many Black Swans in the water.* I do think some general trends could emerge, if society doesn’t change tracks soon. But let’s catch this train before it leaves the station.
As soon as her post hit the ether, the comments ran rampant. Almost immediately, someone pointed out the Uncanny Valley Effect. This is where something is very close to appearing human but something just isn’t right. The closer a robot gets to seeming 100% human without actually reaching it, the more intense the effect is.
It’s much like approaching the speed of light – the closer an object gets to lightspeed, the more massive it becomes, and the more resistance there is to increasing speed any further. The closer a robot gets to mimicking a human, the more resistance there is to being accepted by humans.
[Bonus round – the article linked above contains the following passage: “The idea of a carousel spinning at the speed of light, and its time-stopping effect on someone riding it, has merit. To a carousel rider looking out, days would go by extremely quickly.” Have fun with that one.]
When your sexbot is delivered with Some Assembly Required, the effect may be even worse. Not to mention trying to figure out what the hell these Korean instructions mean.
I almost expect that to bust out with some breakdancing, Herbie Hancock Rockit! style.
The first – and most obvious – obstacle is skin. If it don’t feel good, don’t do it. Pleasing tactile sensation is absolutely essential. And it may almost be here already. Self-healing synthetic skin has already been invented, if not perfected.
Satan is in your self-healing phone!
Societal Impact – Women are skeeved by this, but other than shrieky radical femininsts who want it banned or at least taxed, they largely dismiss it. Only losers and nerds would ever buy such things, and we’re better off without them bothering us.
The discussion sped along the track of men having sex with dolls or robots, when a commenter wrote
I would prefer a companion bot someone to do housework and be a second pair of hands. Don’t see the charm in an ambulatory sex toy, I mean that’s what hands are for. But having something like Data would be very cool.”
Well, didn’t his just open a few new cans of worms? I can easily picture robot maids. We already have Roombas running around cleaning up messes. But then a commenter chimed in
I imagine a guy would be able to plug in a self-assembled vag-module into his perfectly legal maid-o-tron, download an illegal behavioural program from the internet and continue on his merry way.
Why not combine the two from the beginning? Create a female robot that cooks and cleans, does the laundry, feeds the cat, and has sex with the owner. The ConcuBot. But it could never replace a real woman, right? It’s all rote programming. Great for sex and housework, but no spark of life, right? It’s just an assembled machine that executes a series of rigid, pre-programmed routines, no matter how complex some of those routines may be.
As shown above, voice recognition and synthesizing is already here. It’s just a matter of fine tuning. Literally.
A clip further up showed that the robots had cameras in their eyes. Barry has just given inspiration for further developing – and possibly monetizing – that feature. You figure it out.
Another possibility – I would not be surprised in the least little bit if Japan was the first to unveil sexbot arcades. Instead of Space Invaders and Pac-Man, they have coin-op sexbots. Knowing Japan, they would all be dressed like schoolgirls.
I got a pocket full of quarters, and I’m headed to the arcade
I don’t have a lot of money, but I’m bringing ev’rything I made
I’ve got a callus on my phallus, and my tongue is hurting too
I’m gonna sex them all up, just as soon as they reboot
‘Cause I’ve got Sex Bot fever
It’s driving me crazy
(Making me lazy)
I’ve got Sex Bot fever
I’m going out of my mind
(She’s got such fine behind)
Societal Impact – Women start to get a little nervous. Feminists, radical and otherwise, apply social pressure and make tentative attempts to have the government step in. A handful of feministas claim sexbots are actually taking choice away from women, by denying them the opportunity to become stay-at-home wives and mothers. Where have all the fair-to-middling men gone?
The physical challenges will eventually be met. Syntha-skin that responds to touch and temperature will be perfected. Coding to trigger appropriate responses to tactile stimuli will be written. Software storage space will not be an issue – even if Moore’s Law is repealed, there will still be enormous advances in processing power. Microscopically calibrated motors and contact-sensitive epidermis tell the simulacrum where to move, how much pressure to apply, the entire body acting in concert with an exacting precision that would make the finest symphony orchestra cry “Impossible!”
[I admit it, I just wanted to throw that one in there. Those girls got their s#!t down]
The problem remains: no matter how many preprogrammed routines, no matter the thousands of moves flawlessly executed down to the millimeter, there’s no spontaneity in any of it. It’s too measured. Too prefab. Too canned.
There’s no romance. Turn it on and it turns you on, but that’s it. Instead of pump-n-dump, it’s pump-and-powerdown. How to add a little flair to the proceedings, whether twist of the hips in bed or a flip of the hair at a random (and appropriate) moment?
Some years ago, I read an article on “Darwin Chips,” computer chips that would literally evolve to adapt to new challenges.
…[Adrian] Thompson has been playing with computers in which the hardware evolves to solve problems, rather the way our own neurons evolved to solve problems and to contemplate ourselves. He is one of the founding members of a field of research known as evolvable hardware or evolutionary electronics. Thompson uses a type of silicon processor that can change its wiring in a few billionths of a second, taking on a new configuration. He gives the processor a task to solve: for instance, distinguishing between a human voice saying stop or go. Each configuration of the wiring is graded on how well it did, and then those configurations that scored high are mated together to form new circuit configurations. Since all this manipulation is carried out electronically, the wiring of the processor can evolve for thousands of generations, eventually becoming a circuit that Thompson describes as flabbergastingly efficient at solving the task.
Amusingly, the term “fitness test” shows up soon after, not all that dissimilar from it’s usage in the manosphere.
I don’t know the current status of evolving chips, but I have no doubt that they could well be used in A.I. in our lifetimes. Imagine a sexbot/maid/partner that adapts to its surroundings as well as your preferences. It watches you and learns, rewriting its programming as necessary to adapt.
This was essentially Commander Data’s method on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He studied human behaviors and through trial and error rewrote his programming, often writing brand new programs along the way, more or less evolving himself until he was better able to smoothly interact with living people.
ConcuBot (“Connie”) reads subtle cues in your behavior and makes the dinner you’re in the mood for. It listens when you need to talk, and occupies itself elsewhere when you’re just in the mood to smash enemy spaceships online (making sure to do the dusting in the process – no sitting on the couch with bon-bons watching Oprah). It knows when you want a BJ and when you want the full court press. Apps can be written and installed as needed. And it never complains.
And it – or “she,” as you’ve been calling it for months now – knows when to add a little spice. For dinner, and for after.
Societal Impact – Smarter women start making changes in their behavior. There literally aren’t enough alpha males to go around. The beta orbiters that used to get them past the dry spells no longer “Like” them on FaceBook. New company Pandora’s Bots rockets to the top of the Dow and NASDAQ, boosted by its slyly clever promotional slogan “It’s The World That’s Coming!” spurring further calls for criminalization of sexbots. The American birth rate is at its lowest ever. A few canny investors make billions on cat food and toys.
A couple years ago, the Wall Street Journal featured a story on Japanese men dating and renting hotel rooms with virtual girlfriends.
Love Plus+ re-creates the experience of an adolescent romance. The goal isn’t just to get the girl but to maintain a relationship with her… If the real-life Romeo earns enough “boyfriend power” points—by completing game tasks like homework or exercise to become smarter and more buff—the reward is a virtual trip to Atami.
The Boyfriend Power Points app. Get smarter. Get more buff. Get rewards. Now the buyer begins to really invest in his WifeBot. Might as well call it that, because at this point the buyer is finally, actually treating it as a wife. He is not only financially invested in a utility (purchase cost, upkeep, oil changes, app purchases), but now he has the emotional investment and attendant returns that he doesn’t get from real women.
Wifebot 6900 acts perfectly feminine, doesn’t complain unless there is a legitimate need to do so (My battery is running low, and my follicle seeders need replenishing), and even makes teasing comments on occasion, bringing a precisely measured and calculated amount of frisson to the daily routine. The traditional housewife, if you ignore her occasionally plugging herself into the wall outlet for recharging.
But what’s a potato peeler without a set of Ginsu knives? Why stop at the wifebot?
A commenter wondered
You know what would really be disturbing though? Designer Robot Children.
I once read that Japanese businessmen didn’t have time to start families (seems like it’s always the Japanese, doesn’t it?). So they rented one for weekends. A woman and her children would earn money as a substitute family for a single man.
Why rent on weekends and pay all that money for things like food and toys when you can outright buy a KidBot?
Societal Impact – Difficult to predict, even in terms of wider general trends. Much of it hinges on whether KidBots can be designed to realistically “grow,” as well as the lack of even intangible returns on android children, as opposed to an android wife. But a perpetual 10-year old or three could be fun to have around on the weekends. Women may return to past models of femininity, but if activists are successful in getting WifeBots banned, society could regress to Carousel riding as the non-alpha men have no recourse. In this case, a successful (and extremely violent) black market could emerge.
A robot, or android, that manages that 100% human appearance well enough to pass for one does not spook people. Think of the Replicants in Blade Runner. They seemed exactly like ordinary people until one was smoked out as a machine, which was not an easy process unless you, say, shot it, which was not advisable if you wanted your face to continue appearing human too.
If this level of verisimilitude is ever achieved, the Stepford WifeBots could easily pass as real women. An underground hacker culture could coalesce forging and embedding fictional records of women who never existed. Everyone would know there are too many women around (although this may level off as women who lose hope may consider suicide), but no one could ever be sure which are real and which are not. Without a receipt.
The only reason to have a woman around is to have a baby. WifeBot sales may stall out somewhat as men pair off with women to have babies – they may bond to each other during sex. Birth rates would go back up in this scenario.
Until artificial wombs become affordable. At this point, FemBots are utterly indistinguishable from biological women.
Some men will always prefer “natural beauties.” Some will always be rapt in the possibilities of a WifeBot that no human woman could keep up with. Some men may have both (which would be the mistress(es)?. But from this point on, women will have to be on their best behavior, or it’s out the door in favor of Suzie WatchMaker.
At least, until someone invents a HusBot.
NOW STREAMING – Vox Day‘s take on it.
NOW STREAMING – The Red Pill Room explains why laws banning sexbots may contradict already existing laws.
NOW STREAMING – Goodstuff asks “Is sex with a robot cheating?” Plus info about the first synthetic celebrity (it wasn’t the Monkees), fun with Nazi sex dolls, and vending machine abuse.
* This is going to be my go-to answer for any questions I get involving future events from now on. Do you think gold prices will go up? Too many Black Swans in the water. Will the Yankees win the Pennant? Too many Black Swans in the water (but the Cubs will lose). Do you think we need extra cheese on this pizza? Too many Black Swans in the water.
Posted on January 12, 2013, in ...The Hell Is This?, ♫ ♪ ♫, Economic$, Hey! Comix!, Life, Science!, The World That's Coming and tagged ...the hell?, comics, game, girl game, law, music, science, the future soon. Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.