In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

Sex Pots and Sex Bots

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“The number of sexual acts and lovemaking positions commonly practised between humans will be extended, as robots teach us more than is in all of the world’s published sex manuals combined.”

Sexbots, teledildonics, cybersatisfaction…the time has come for customized cyborg sex, something I once dreamed right here on this blog in “Dream of a Mistress Sex Cyborg,” according to an article in the Guardian today entitled, “Sex, Love, and Robots: Is this the end of intimacy?” Sex toys on steroids, it seems, Realldoll team, makers of sex dolls, is on the verge of  producing sex bots, programmable to be responsive to the user’s whims, apparently, and more life like than…well, life, more accommodating, I would think.

The writer of the Guardian article, Eva Wiseman, does a bang up job of pulling in all the strands of the theme, interviewing the key parties, such as David Levy, author of Love and Sex with Robots, with whom she dances around the obvious ethical concerns about replacing the human, addiction and, of course, pedaphilia. Levy is a bit cavalier with his response about pedophiles, in particular: better acting out with a bot than on a child. He also doffs off the intimacy drain or addiction by alluding to vibrator use now. Levy is not the first to ponder the extent of the post-humanist possibilities. Biologist and academic Donna Haraway in her Cyborg Manifesto did so before him and many others, academics and popularists alike.

Just a couple of weeks ago, in a class discussion of Roe v. Wade and the future of abortion in America, I noted the Supreme Court’s critical consideration of a fetus’ viability (survival outside a womb) at some point after 3 months at which time the weighing of a state’s interests in health of the mother and potential beings against the mother’s right to privacy shifts away from the mother. I mentioned not only the medico-technological developments since that 1973 case that have pushed back viability to 3 months or earlier, but also the possibility of synthetic wombs, baby generator/gestators, like test tubes for conception, and how such a cyborg or mechanical device would change the abortion debate.

The practicality of a mechanical womb would alleviate much of the discomfort in the Roe decision, such as the inability to define a fetus as a person at law (though corporations are persons now) and the state’s intrusion into the private health care decisions a woman makes with her physician. Neat idea, which may even exist or be in the works. Then again, I’m still stoked about the remote control vibrator.

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