BCM325: RESEARCH UPDATE

Relationships, sex, liquid love, robotics, consent, and ethics in the 21st century. These are just a sample of what will be explored and reviewed in affiliation to human-robot relations throughout this blog.

Additionally, I will be including a brief review of the academic, scholarly and industry relevant research I have participated in since my first blog post. My aim is to extract the main aspects from each article and use them to form my own concise argument on the matter. Ultimately, this will allow me to explore the difference and/or similarities between human-robot and human-human sexual relations. Finally, I will be listing the arguments to be shared during my seminar presentation in Week 12.

SOURCES TO BE EXPLORED:

  1. This academic article details the results given by 103 US subjects concerning their views on sex robots, what functions they should be assigned, and what shape they should take (for example, a child, a deceased partner, a friend etc…).
  2. This academic article is a continuation of Scheutz’s and Arnold’s previous findings in “Are We Ready for Sex Robots?” It explores the results given by 203 US subjects concerning their views on sex robots and the place they could potentially play in society.
  3. Robo Love” is an online book review of David Levy’s new provocative text titled “Love and Sex with Robots.” The review details the writers view of Levy’s proposals regarding sex robots. One of these proposals to be explored further is the prediction that by the middle of the century, “love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans, while the number of sexual acts and lovemaking positions commonly practiced between humans will be extended, as robots teach more than is in all of the world’s published sex manuals combined.”

    marriage-to-robots.jpg

    Image taken from Hype

  4. The Campaign Against Sex Robots is an online published article which strongly disagrees with the use of sex robots altogether, even if they are to be used to eradicate prostitution. It poses the ethical debate that the “development of these robots will contribute to the gender inequalities in society.”
  5. This journal article titled “Women’s Sex Talk and Men’s Sex Talk: Different Worlds” argues that “in western culture, the construction of common meanings with reference to heterosexual practice, meanings common to men and women, is especially difficult.” It also aims to show that when it comes to sexual practice and sex talk, “there is great secrecy,” depicting that discussion of sex is still considered somewhat “taboo” in our current society.
  6. “Liquid love? Dating apps, sex, relationships and the digital transformation of intimacy” is a journal article which explores the liquefaction of the “solidity and security provided once provided by life-long partnerships,” as examined by Zygmunt Bauman. “He believes internet dating is symptomatic of social and technological change that transforms modern courtship into a type of commodified game.”

    074562488X.jpg

    Image taken from Wiley

  7. This article written by a Vanity Fair journalist is a satirical view of the new age dating scene with the introduction of hook-up apps such as Tinder. It gives readers a vision into the “fast and easy” nature of dating apps and how they play a part in the trading of intimate and meaningful relationships for quick and meaningless sex.

    Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 8.31.29 PM

    Image taken from Vanity Fair

ARGUMENTS TO BE ENGAGED IN:

  • Sex robots pose various ethical ramifications to a widely “conservative” society where sex and talk of sex is still to a large extent considered “taboo,” especially for women. In addition to this, people used to be widely appalled by such variations as oral sex, masturbation and homosexuality, but today these practices are “widely regarded as thoroughly normal and as leading to fulfilling relationships and satisfactory sex lives.”

    (A recent Twitter poll I created to gauge a small sample sizes view on sex talk in our current society).

  • The argument presented by “The Campaign Against Sex Robots” that the introduction of sexbots will contribute to gender inequalities in society in relation to power, consent and violence towards females. (Particularly those who work in the sex industry).
  • The prediction put forward by David Levy in his book “Love and Sex with Robots” that by 2050 “love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans.”
  • How “life-like” or “human-like” would these sex robots/cyborgs have to be before people found it necessary to gain consent before engaging in sexual relations? If the robot resembled those depicted in shows such as HBO’s “Westworld,” Black Mirror’s “Be Right Back,” and Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner,” does the need for consent arise?
    cq5dam.web.1200.675

    Image taken from HBO

    831c5e7f74ef740779f6668287978ba1010c427b.png_1200x630

    Image taken from Narcity

    Rachael_2

    Image taken from Fandom Wiki

  • There are significant differences in how appropriate men and women regarded using a sex robot, with men more approving and women less so almost across the board.

REFERENCE LIST:

Crawford, J., Kippax, S. and Waldby, C. (1994). Women’s Sex Talk and Men’s Sex Talk: Different Worlds. Feminism & Psychology, [online] 4(4), pp.571-587. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0959353594044010 [Accessed 24 Apr. 2018].

Hobbs, M., Owen, S. and Gerber, L. (2016). Liquid love? Dating apps, sex, relationships and the digital transformation of intimacy. Journal of Sociology, [online] 53(2), pp.271-284. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1440783316662718 [Accessed 25 Apr. 2018].

Levy, D. (2009). Love and sex with robots: the evolution of human-robot relationships. London: Duckworth Overlook.

Marantz Henig, R. (2007). [online] The New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/books/review/Henig-t.html [Accessed 23 Apr. 2018].

Richardson, K. (2015). The Asymmetrical ‘Relationship’: Parallels Between Prostitution and the Development of Sex Robots. [online] Campaign Against Sex Robots. Available at: https://campaignagainstsexrobots.org/the-asymmetrical-relationship-parallels-between-prostitution-and-the-development-of-sex-robots/ [Accessed 27 Apr. 2018].

Sales, N. (2018). Tinder and the Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse. [online] Vanity Fair. Available at: https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/08/tinder-hook-up-culture-end-of-dating [Accessed 24 Apr. 2018].

Scheutz, M. and Arnold, T. (2016). Are We Ready for Sex Robots?. [online] Available at: https://hrilab.tufts.edu/publications/scheutzarnold16hri.pdf [Accessed 21 Apr. 2018].

Scheutz, M. and Arnold, T. (2017). Intimacy, Bonding, and Sex Robots: Examining Empirical Results and Exploring Ethical Ramifications. [online] Available at: https://hrilab.tufts.edu/publications/scheutz2017intimacy.pdf [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].

Cheers,

V 🍻

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