The question occured to me recently when, while channel-surfing, I came across the “I Dated a Robot” episode of Futurama.
After the crew sees an episode of The Scary Door, Fry decides to do all the things he always wanted to do; and the Planet Express crew obliges. After demolishing a planet, visiting the edge of the universe, and riding a dinosaur, one of his few remaining fantasies is to date a celebrity. Fry and Leela venture into the Internet to visit nappster.com and download a celebrity’s personality. Fry downloads the personality of Lucy Liu into a blank robot, which begins projecting an image of her.
Fry and the Lucy Liu robot begin dating, aided by her being programmed to like Fry. The other Planet Express employees, concerned about his relationship, show him the standard middle-school film (similar to Boys Beware) that predicts the destruction of civilization if humans date robots. Unfortunately, Fry ignores the movie and keeps making out with his Lucy Liubot.
Download a celebrity onto a black robot, programmed to like you, and make out? Well, gee. Which celebrity/celebrities would I pick? Which would you pick?
It’s not the first time it’s occurred to me. I know Battlestar Galactica had its sexy cylons, but I never saw that show. And Jude Law played a robot gigolo in AI. But ne was not the first robot to arouse my interest.
I was never a trekkie, but strange as it may seem, the few times I watched it I actually found myself getting intrigued by Commander Data, the ship’s droid doctor on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Yeah, yeah. I know whatsisname Riker was supposed to be the heartthrob, and Crusher was supposed to be the cutie, but Data was far more interesting to me.
Bio-engineering Review: Joint Report of CMO Beverly Crusher, M.D. and Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge
Data, who weighs 100 kg., carries a concealed master on/off switch centered just below his right shoulder blade. This switch is known only to the senior staff of the Enterprise: commander, first officer, chief engineer, chief medical officer and ship’s counselor. As designed he is programmed not to lie or deceive, recalls everything he’s ever been exposed to, cannot use verbal contractions, and has super-human strength, dexterity, voice duplication, self-diagnostics, and “fully functional” male sexual abilities without the emotional attraction. Though he approximates fellow humanoid sleeping patterns and workshifts, he of course needs no actual rest and often takes the helm during the “night watch.”
Experiments into his direct input into or remote control of ship’s systems have been uneven, but his unique abilities have been invaluable in securing the safety of ship and crew in numerous crises and far outweigh, in our opinion, any potential weakness they present.
Fully functional, you say? I must have missed those episodes. Maybe I should have accepted some of those invitations to come over and watch TNG…
This is the proposition that David Levy puts forward in his new book Love + Sex with Robots. In the early 21st century the idea of sex with a robot is regarded by many people as outlandish, outrageous, and even perverted but attitudes are changing making the idea interesting. Futurist, Dr. Ian Yeoman writes about why robots wouldn’t be taking over the world and why we wouldn’t be having sex with them (or will we). Over the last 100 years our attitude towards homosexuality, oral sex, fornication and masturbation has changed and become more liberal, therefore by 2050 we may be having sex with robots. Today we live in the era of cybersex; second life and according to Durex, 43% of Kiwi women have used a vibrator during their lifetime for sexual pleasure! A survey by http://www.betterHumans.com found that 41% of the human race would like an android as a human slave. The renowned futurologist, Ian Pearson has even suggested robots as cyber prostitutes by 2050. So, why not have a robot as your lover? It would solve a lot of problems i.e.., the exploitation of women, human trafficking and the end of sex tourism as a problem. The idea may seem strange and feasible but I don’t think it will ever happen! Why? For the same reasons that robots wouldn’t take over the world. Let me explain!
I’m not so sure it wouldn’t.
And I’m not so sure it would end life as we know it. But given the chance, I might try it. Wouldn’t you?