Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why ‘robot sex’ could be the next big thing

By CHEGE MBITIRU

The first day of any year, beliefs notwithstanding, prompts varied thoughts and plans for the future.

Well, Wired Magazine somehow pre-empted that with a pre-Christmas article titled “Better Than Human: Why Robots Will-And Must-Take Our Jobs”.

The gist of the article was that robots are getting smarter and increasingly performing many functions humans thought impossible. One of the photographs accompanying the article was interesting.

A fully-dressed young man stands, hands cupped behind his head. Facing him is a nude robotic woman. Her left arm is pulling his head towards her face, as if for a kiss. Her left leg is raised, knee to the navel.

Not captioned

Interestingly, no caption accompanied the photograph. The article made no reference to the scene that depicts lovers who can’t wait for a bed ready to get busy in a back alley.

Last May, futurist Ian Yeoman and sexologist Michelle Mars, both associated with Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand said: “Robot sex is safer sex, free from the constraints, precautions and uncertainties of the real deal.” They also envision sex robots playing a role in tourism.

In an article titled “Robots, Men and Sex Tourism” published in journal Futures, the researchers depicts a sex club in Amsterdam named Yub-Yum. It’s the year 2050.

Amsterdam is known for many things. A famous one is that sex workers — to be exact women though there are men too — engage in legal business. In Yub-Yum, however, there are no women.

Instead, androids “of sexual gods and goddesses of different ethnicities, body shapes, ages, languages and sexual features” abound. For about 10,000 Euro, the scantly-clad smorgasbord of human replicas will provide “all-inclusive services,” including “massages, lap dances and intercourse.”

Myriad problems with the sex androids scenario exist. There are the laws. Then, men don’t visit prostitutes just for sex. The reasons are myriad. Women, too, don’t engage in prostitution just for pleasure.

Sex androids, therefore, will just be superfluous. As the Wired article noted, functions robots can perform better than humans exist.

That that includes matters sexual is a dubious proposition.

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