"Under the right circumstances, you, too, could fall in love with a toaster."

What the robot era may mean


Wed, Sep 30th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Aside from replacing humans in the workforce, robots could also become companions or even lovers. The question is, where do we draw the line? — and can some people even draw one?

[...] The Campaign Against Sex Robots follows the second. The second argument assumes that robots can’t be classified uncomplicatedly as objects, because anything people get up to with something that seems like a person will inevitably condition their relations with actual people. If I have sex with a human-like robot that I’m free to dominate and objectify, then my brain is not going to be able to compartmentalize that behavior as robot-specific; I’m going to see other humans, including but not limited to human sex workers, as more object-like, more subordinate to my own will. Moreover, going to bed with a physical body that is both compliant and lacking consciousness will make me more likely to want to dominate and objectify other people, because it will reinforce my own deep-down, infantile sense that my subjectivity matters more than anyone else’s — that other people’s minds may be real, but not quite as real as mine. The founder of the Campaign Against Sex Robots, the English ethicist Kathleen Richardson, not unreasonably makes this an issue of gender and power, arguing that giving heterosexual male desire free rein among anatomically female sex robots will only worsen men’s objectification of women and children generally, and thus reinforce the violent inequalities already present in society.



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