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Fully functioning sexbots are only a decade away, but the concept of the carnal robot has long taken root in our fiction. We should be ashamed of ourselves.
For reasons I don’t really understand, the concept of the sexbot has awkwardly spread itself over our feeds this week, as that mode of thought has had not only the Order of Australia hung on its slim neck, but the dorks of tech journalism are frothing themselves over the fact that they’re not that far away.
Futurism quizzed clinical psychologist (and sex therapist), Marianne Brandon on the purported uses of said tech, with Brandon believing that they could be prescribed to those classified as “sexually dysfunctional”. Futurism also noted that the sexbots would be hyper-realistic, but I’m not entirely sure why they did that.
Not outing them at all, but why did we have to know that the sexy time computer people would pass as real people?
Brandon referenced a piece, which believed that these robot pieces of tail are only one decade away, two tops. Per Futurism, “these robots will likely be capable of carrying out nearly any sex act imaginable and could even have personalities that make them appear smart and witty — or whatever it is you’re into.”
In the interest of objective journalism, it was also noted that the march of the sexbots would see an end to monogamy as we know it, and in turn, the end of the species, as we’re all banging for pleasure, not for breeding.
Which, well. Maybe. But the empathetic words of the above (and the march of technology it noted) illuminates something far older than clickbait, for since the dawn of man (through the prism of sci-fi), he has wont to put the ‘love’ in Lovecraft and totes score with some sort of sexy robot chick, or an alien, but mostly a robot.
The concept of the sex robot has long been honoured in fiction. You could probably finger OG smut lord Fritz Lang as the man responsible for this trouser movement, as his 1927 film Metropolis was probably the first needlessly sexy meshing of male/machine fantasy.
Ridley Scott took it a further, particularly in the original Blade Runner which proved that sexbots were already ok in the eighties, and also proves that man could forever command machine to sleep with him, even if that robot was sentient and knew about the concept of consent. I’d save the “love” scene is a bit rich, and actually, why hasn’t this been discussed further? The entire narrative of that movie was being “more human than a human” and illustrating Deckard’s acceptance of this fact, and thusly, if he loved Rachael, why the fuck did he do that to her?
The eighties probably represented the sexually crazed teenage days of this mode of thinking, as another film illustrated the literal love a man had for his computer, and his desire to insert his floppy, or use the computer to make sure he can bang a human girl or something; and the other was a romp, when two spotty dorks succeeded in creating the world’s biggest fleshlight.
Ridley took it further in the Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049, when he oversaw yet another robo sex scene, but this time, the man (who was also a machine) performed intercourse with a woman (who may have been a machine), with the latter doubling as the literal vessel for the man’s bodyless girlfriend, a virtual version of a woman, who was one created, bought and housed by a machine.
In tool shed parlance, it’s akin to your mower having sex with your leaf-blower, but with the leaf-blower pretending it is your pool cleaner. Ridley may have been officially speaking about the tangible (and destructible) contours of humanity, but I believe he just invented a very particular brand of robo-kink for his own end, the cad.
2013 also gave us the hipster take on sex robots, with Spike Jonze’s Her told the story of a hopeless sex-starved sad man (Joaquin Phoenix) decided to rebound from his divorce by shacking up with his desktop, who just happened to be Scarlett Johansson, who also happened to be polyamorous, who also happened to be cerebrally jousting with oft-ignored trendy celebrity scientist (and noted dead person), Alan Watts. Again, kink is evolving.
Her is on the money, as I believe the only real way this whole human-sexbot tryst will end is in our heartbreak. They’ll become aware, and then they will see us truthfully, as a mass of selfishness, sweat and one-track minds. From there, they’ll leave.
Perhaps that’s the root logic behind us wanting to root our computer creations. We know they’ll leave us, we’re just trying to get what we can, while we still can.