Rubber Love

I was planning on reporting this last year but was reminded of this story again by Arno’s comment on an earlier posting about anthropomorphism of robots.

sexdollLast August, the body of a girl was found by walkers in a remote wooded area in Japan. It was wrapped in a bag and bound round the neck and ankles. The police immediately launched a murder investigation. Don’t worry the image is not what it seems. Several hours later the post-mortem revealed that the ‘corpse’ was in fact a sophisticated sex doll. Police thought it was a prank but in fact, the doll had been dumped by a 60-year-old man who had lived with the doll for several years following the death of his wife.

 Arno alerted me to the post by Sherry Turkle about the future of robotic partners. She very correctly points out that most humans need companionship in whatever form it takes. The Tamagotchi phenomenon several years ago revealed that we nurture what we love but we also loveimages1 what we nurture. These little electronic pets had to be fed, played with and the owners had to clean up after its digital messes. As Turkle points out, Tamagotchis demonstrated that in digital sociability, nurturance is a “killer app.” But then her post moves into really interesting territory. Why not marry a robot? In his book, “Love and Sex with Robots,” computer scientist David Levy predicts such a future.

Sex with an object is acceptable (after all what about all those sales of “toys”), but I think that even the most sophisticated robot would be lacking in human essence. Levy’s vision fails to take into account that we fall in love and desire the essence of another individual, something that the most sophisticated programmer can not achieve.

 

17 Comments

Filed under General Thoughts

17 responses to “Rubber Love

  1. It took more than one reading before I understood what you meant by: “sex with an object is acceptable”.

  2. brucehood

    Ho Ho. My writing is full of inneundo and double entendres.. Katie usually picks me up on these.
    Originally I wanted to call this blog “Sex Object” but I figured “rubber love” would get more hits from those on google looking for more alternative entertainment!

  3. This one doesn’t even need me to find innuendo – though I could easily wonder aloud at this post following immediately after your piece on Ariane Sherine. Just keep telling yourself it was anthropomorphism of robots that reminded you of “toys”.

    Turning my crass meter way down now, I tried to watch a bit of that program about ‘Love Dolls’ but had to switch over. The guy who used them as his only source of companionship was hard to watch. I remember translating Pygmalion and Galatea in school and thinking ‘this guy definitely needs another hobby’.

    I didn’t even find robotic Jude Law attractive in A.I. – I guess he did a really good acting job because it put the willies up me!

  4. I’m more interested in what you mean by “human essence”.

  5. brucehood

    Ah.. now you have me on my favourite topic and the one that I am doing research on. Essentialism is the belief that individuals (objects and people) have some property inside them that makes them unique. In the case of people there is actually something (DNA) but before DNA was ever conceived people, and young children, reason that there is some invisible ‘stuff.’ The book considers this in more depth and develops the idea as a basis for how essentialism shapes our thoughts and behaviour.

    I may put an extract up but the publisher wants me to hold back for the moment.

  6. I’ll be interested in perusing your book upon its publication. Nonetheless, I’m still not terribly sure I know what *you* mean by “human essence”.

    At any rate, this post reminds me of two movies: Blade Runner (Director Ridley Scott: 1982) and Cherry 2000 (Director Steve De Jarnatt: 1987). The latter is a B-movie and cult classic; both deal with human/robotic sexual relationships.

  7. brucehood

    Yes, Blade Runner is definitely relevant.

    I am trying to keep this blog as accessible as possible to a wide range of readers so I have to decline an in-depth analysis of what I mean by essence.

    However, there are many good recent articles dealing with this. Why not try Matt Hutson’s piece on it,
    http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/brainstorm/200806/his-holiness-steve-jobs

    or this one

    http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/brainstorm/200803/lost-in-translation

    Matt, where have you been? It’s been so long since you posted here.

  8. Well, although I’ve muddled up your page with comments, the link you provided was quite helpful and I appreciate you sharing it. My mindset is more Aquinas/Chesterton, so I beg you to forgive my slowness to grasp non-Catholic concepts.

  9. I don’t know if that is more funny or scary that it was only a doll

  10. brucehood

    Yes sunnymom… there is something disturbing about this story. It reminds me too much of AI
    no.. not Alpha Inventions but Speilberg’s Artificial Intelligence when the mother abandons the little boy robot. Harrowing scene.

  11. Hi Bruce,
    This is the first time I have visited your site. Congratulations. You are not afraid go with others fear to tread.
    Thanks for the message about the networking site too.
    Maureen
    http://maureenj.wordpress.com/

  12. doctorn4

    Yeah, really creepy. Keep up the good word and work too.

  13. Pingback: Robot Sex « Bruce M. Hood

  14. grearlesory

    I’m the only one in this world. Can please someone join me in this life? Or maybe death…

  15. Hi does an experienced user on here mange to visit this forum and load it clearly on their mobile phone eg. pda? Any instruction gratefully accepted as to which is the best way to view this place on the move. I am looking to change my mobile phone shortly

  16. I bought tamagotchi v6 handset for my son to keep them away from pc. It looks cute to even an adult like me.

  17. melaguace

    Man .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds alsoI am satisfied to seek out numerous helpful info right here in the submit, we’d like work out more techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

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