Robots have really come on from when I was a child. When I was growing-up, the closest I got to a robot was on Dr Who. They wheeled about shouting "exterminate". The Daleks were hardly threatening as everyone knew about their inability to climb stairs. Nowadays, robots are little scarier. The latest development is the most disturbing of them all - sex robots. Yes, apparently the future involves us taking a robot to bed, brings a whole new meaning to the question -
"Did I push your buttons?"
However, I find this latest development so disturbing that I will be hitting the off button whilst quite possibly shouting -
There is just something so disturbing and creepy about the fact that we are living in a society that is developing sex robots for men. At some point, they will look into robots for females but it has been admitted that the sex robots market is predominately for men. Hmmm, hardly reassuring. Sex robots means that we are looking at the objectification of women (again) and the idea that sex is just a mechanical act. No love is required when you are sleeping with a robot. None of the leg-work, no compliments needed, no showing of affection, no actual exchange of love. No, from now on all a man will need to do is hit the on button. Who needs intimacy when you can have sex with a machine? Young women already find themselves questioning their appearance; there is already so much pressure to have the perfect body. Where does this pressure come from? The pornography industry and the media. What will happen when they unleash the sex bot onto the male masses? Will every woman be expected to perform on demand? If not, do they face being replaced by a sex bot? Will the female orgasm become a myth again? Will these female bots take our place and will we be banished to the attic as a mad woman? Do we all face becoming Mrs Rochester from Jane Eyre? The creation of the sex bot is taking us back to the Victorian ages. A time where women were considered property of their husbands. This is no laughing matter.
What does this say about our society and women's place in it? It raises many disturbing issues and questions. We already live in a society where women are still sexually objectified and the creation of the sex bot is hardly going to help matters. Also, what does it say about the men who would be willing to sleep with a robot? Perhaps we should be grateful that they will be sleeping with a robot and, therefore, not adding to the gene pool. What does this say about the future of the human race? Cultural analyst Sherry Turkle has warned that we're rapidly approaching a point where:
"We may actually prefer the kinship of machines to relationships with real people and animals."
Will people want to snuggle synthetics instead of flesh? People have cited the robots as being the solution to people's loneliness. Is it? Or is it that technology might have led to this loneliness in the first place. How will having sex with a robot cure this loneliness? Will the robot be able to listen? Maybe. Will the robot be able to offer companionship? Maybe. Will the robot be able to understand, emphasise and offer support? No. A robot cannot and, should not, replace human interaction. A robot will not offer a human connection. We all need human connections because we are just that - HUMAN.
The sex bot is in danger of destroying any hope of equality. In the shape of a robot the woman is being presented as the passive one - AGAIN. The one who isn't entitled to enjoy sex. The one who isn't entitled to an orgasm. I am stunned that people believe there is a need for the female sex bot. That men will want to sleep with a robot. What does this say about the perception of a man? It is insulting not just to women but also men. It is insulting to the whole human race. What makes us human is our capacity to feel emotions, including the ability to laugh, to feel joy, to feel hope and to love. All things a robot cannot do.
However, like it or not, the sex bots are coming. Will you be switching the off button?
This was first published on Island Living 365