Sexbot Positive! Two Pro Digisexual Articles

Ex-Machina sex robots are the future of sex

Two important pro digisexual articles were published online recently. Important at least in that such ‘sexbot positive’ articles are all too rare, certainly in a minority as compared to the anti-sex robot pieces that regularly appear, and thus are always worth mentioning and reading.

The first appeared a couple of weeks ago as an op-ed in the LA Times. Penned by Rob Brooks, author of 2021’s sex tech must read bok – ‘Artificial Initmacy’. He goes through the same themes as explored in that book, that digital technologies such as AI and VR are increasingly dictating the way we form intimate relationships, perhaps even dispensing with the need for a human partner alltogether. But the importance as an op-ed piece is the blunt claim by Brooks, that the rise of artificial intimacy and new sex techs will represent the next ‘ground zero’ in America’s ongoing culture wars. Sex robots and virtual sex will disurpt our society and our sexual and moral codes as much did the pill, or abortion rights, or Internet porn. And he makes clear which side he is on.

Loud voices from the religious right and the anti-porn left are already being raised against sex robots. They haven’t yet awakened to the more extensive possibilities when virtual reality and AI go to town on users’ erotic desires. But when they do, I have little doubt they’ll be outraged.

What’s more, there may be a measure of disapproval on the part of the public more generally — the predictable “uncanny valley” queasiness heightened by our typical censoriousness about sex. And concerns about whether treating objects like humans might lead to treating some humans like objects.

On balance, though, I side with the machines and against the puritans. I think artificial intimacy could deliver a more relaxed, inclusive, and humane sexuality, but only if societies have enough maturity to give it a chance.

Read the whole article : What virtual reality and artificial intelligence will mean for sex, love and intimacy

As you can read above, Rob Brooks actually doesn’t see sex robots as the most significant sex tech revolution heading our way, seeing them as a little bit overhyped (and I agree – although the recent demonstration of an extraordinarily human like android by a British company has shaken that belief just a little). He notes correctly that despite sex robots being likely many years away from being mass market (if ever), VR porn is already here and becoming increasingly popular. Despite this, most of the attention of the puritans and moralists has been directed at sex robots. Perhaps this is partly because it’s already late in the day to ban VR porn (and such bans will likely come in more general anti-porn laws, although no doubt fuelled by inevitable VR porn moral panics and scare stories), while sex robots are so many years away that their enemies feel they have still the opportunity to ban them before they become established.

In any case, among the constant drip of anti-sex robot articles and dubious ‘studies’ supposedly demonstrating their harm, it’s good to read a ‘sex robot positive’ article for a change, and there was one published a week ago at FreeThink, entitled – ‘What’s so wrong about sexbots?‘. It does take a rather shallow look at th usual ‘ethical debates’ regarding sex robots, including of course the ‘objectification of women’ and the ‘encouragement of violence against women’ that sex robots are supposed to represent according to feminist critics. When the rebuttal of these criticsisms is left to noneother than ‘Brick Dollbanger’ of RealDoll/Abyss Creations, then you can surely see why I describe it as a shallow look. And a sex worker also denies that she is fearful that sex robots will steal her job.

However, the really interesting part of the article comes in the argument that sex robots will enable us to learn how to interact and manage AI as it becomes an ever bigger feature feature of society.

Founder of the conference Sx Tech EU and tech industry veteran Ola Miedzynska says sex tech developers take these heightened responsibilities seriously—and have long led other tech fields in best practices.

“We are dealing with intimacy, we are dealing with data that can ruin peoples lives,” she says. For this reason, she says, the sex industry has historically pioneered best practices for data privacy, as well as operating with a focus on accessibility and inclusion. And while there is no fully hacker-proof system, discretion is arguably the industry’s most important business asset.

“Our sector tries not to ask for data, or store data, or sell data, and we try to make users as anonymous as possible. We don’t connect with Facebook or third parties because that is where the fuck-ups happen.”

According to Miedzynska, however, the discrete nature of the industry also has a downside: it keeps companies that do experience vulnerabilities from sharing issues with their colleagues. There are still very few opportunities to find solutions through open collaboration, and there are no venues or commissions that bring stakeholders on sexbots and sex tech together to map the best ways forward for their technologies.

Indeed, she says that despite the discourse on ethics in AI reaching a fever pitch in academic circles recently, the addition of sex complicates the narrative around this particular kind of AI and pushes conversations about them out of the mainstream.

“Academics are keeping their eyes closed,” says Miedzynska.

Cybersecurity risk researcher Christine Hendren agrees that the biggest risk related to sexbots is this lack of interdisciplinary cooperation about how to study, regulate, and manage the potentially useful technology that evolves from them.

“If we understand the benefits, there are ways to mitigate the risks,” she says. “We could take the good without taking on the bad.”

The point, she says, isn’t to determine if sexbot tech is good or bad right now, but to call for more collaborative research and funding across public health, ethics, medicine, law, cybersecurity, and consumer product safety to configure governance structures for making sure the technology is shaped ethically as it evolves—in line with other kinds of artificial intelligence.

Read the full article : What’s so wrong about sexbots?

Also worth a read : Is Having Sex With Robots Actually a Bad Thing?

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