Monday, April 14, 2008

Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!

This David Levy book just sounds wrong, wrong, wrong, 1,000 times wrong:

In this wide-ranging examination of the emotional and physical relations between humans and the inanimate objects of their desire, AI guru Levy (Robots Unlimited) first addresses the question of love with robots, and moves on to consider the mechanics of actually having sex with them. In order to put the reader at ease with the possibility of human-robot love, Levy compares the phenomenon to the ways in which humans fall in love with each other, their pets, and even their motorcycles. From there, Levy argues, it is a short emotional step to the affection people can be expected to display towards robots.


Some readers may be turned off by Levy's fairly graphic descriptions of the mechanics of having sex with robots, and may wonder why Levy chose not to include recent research on the human genome that could one day lead to replacing human "parts," potentially making us more robot-like ourselves.

Honestly? Sex with robots? Does that sound attractive/non-creepy to anyone? If not, let's take a look at a review from the Washington Post.

"Love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans," Levy writes...

Sure it will be! Except for the whole "you're having sex with a machine" thing.

..."while the number of sexual acts and lovemaking positions commonly practiced between humans will be extended, as robots teach us more than is in all of the world's published sex manuals combined."

This horny nerd still realizes that humans will only be able to contort in so many ways, right? It's no good having an ultra-bendy porn robot if most humans can't do a Downward Facing Dog. (Also, Levy's something of an optimist if he thinks the future will be all about super-genius AI robots taking the time to consider sexual positions. Shouldn't we get them to work on all those existential threats to our existence coming down the road in the next few centuries before we get them going on Kama Sutra 2.0?)

Levy goes on to imagine a world of robot prostitutes, or "sexbots," which would offer people a chance to practice their technique before entering a human relationship. "With a robot prostitute," he writes, "the control of disease is implicit -- simply remove the active parts and put them in the disinfecting machine."

Perhaps Buffalo Bill wasn't really a serial killer at all? He was just a Man of the Future, ahead of his time in his desire to remove a lady's "active parts" after use. (Also, the notion that guys are visiting prostitutes to "practice their technique"? Hi-larious. As if most dudes even care if their technique is any good!)

Seriously, this Levy character comes off as a perverted clown here, but you've got to give him some respect for actually having the stones to write a book about how he wants to fuck robots. Most guys, they'd just keep this fantasy to themselves, maybe clear out the lint trap on their dryer and give it a try one wild night when the wife's visiting her sister in Poughkeepsie. But Levy's like, "Fuck that, I'm turning this sick, ludicrous fetish into a best-seller! Suck it!"

[Hat tip to Sadly, No!, which observes that Glenn Reynolds can't wait to get a copy of Levy's tome in the mail. I am incredibly surprised that this conservative schmendrick has a weird erotic obsession with robots!]


rednikki said...

I don't actually find this too far-fetched. With the Real Doll so popular (and now there's a male version; see HBO's Real Sex), it wouldn't be too surprising to me if something that had even a limited range of motion and some ability for independent thought could become an object of affection. There's a lot of kids - and some older-thans - who have a deep affection, even love, for their teddy bears. It would not be surprising to me if people fell for something that could respond in kind.

So many people are able to fool themselves into thinking there's love between them and an abusive/neglectful lover. Love with a robot just doesn't seem like that great a leap. I can think of at least a few people I know for whom it might be a healthier relationship than their current one.

Lons said...

Yeah, I must admit, I'm perplexed by the popularity of the "love doll" as well. I mean, obviously there's no substitute for the real thing, but I'd think any form of self-love would be preferable to humping an inanimate object. Even though some good sex can be kind of undignified, a love-bot just strikes me as violating some kind of invisible, mecha-line.