ROBOTS, SEX and RELIGION

(Investigator Magazine, 2018 July)



INTRODUCTION

Will artificial intelligence along with robotics change sex and religion worldwide?

Will rapists and pedophiles have access to as many android (i.e. robots that resemble humans) partners as they want, thereby making the world safer for real people? Will human "sex workers" become redundant, replaced by replicas so perfect and sexy that humans can't compete? 

What about other jobs that require interpersonal and social skills? Will there be robot pastors and robot evangelists so skilful in praying, preaching and summoning the "Holy Spirit" that human preachers will rejoin the audience?


THE ROBOTS ARE COMING

In January 2017 Amazon announced its intention to increase its full-time employees in the USA by 100,000. Yet only months earlier the American market research company Forrester Research predicted that robotics will eliminate 6% of US jobs by 2021!

Robotics and artificial intelligence are starting to change the global employment landscape by taking up many repetitive and mundane jobs. Already industry has robotic arms for repetitive tasks; farming uses drones to herd livestock; surgical robots make surgery more precise; medical robots help with patient-care; service robots do deliveries and transportation; household robots are doing simple household jobs; and the first driverless cars are on the roads. Within a decade or so human bus drivers and taxi drivers may face redundancy.


ROBOT ALPHA 1930s

Robots roughly resembling humans first appeared in the 1920s and 1930s. There was Eric in 1928, Alpha 1932, John 1933, Mac 1934 and Elektro 1938.

Alpha enthralled and titillated the British and American public in the 1930s by standing up and sitting down and answering questions. Alpha could never have competed with a wife for the affection of her husband (or vice versa) as he/she (Alpha's gender varied) was all metal, didn't look sexy, was two meters tall, hopeless at conversation, and weighed a ton:



Time Magazine
, November 5, 1934



Last week Alpha, the robot, made its first public appearance in the U. S. One of the most ingenious automatons ever contrived by man, a grim and gleaming monster 6 ft. 4 in. tall, the robot was brought to Manhattan by its owner-inventor-impresario, Professor Harry May of London, and installed on the fifth floor of R. H. Macy & Co.'s department store. Encased from head to foot in chromium-plated steel armor, Alpha sat on a specially constructed dais with its cumbrous feet securely bolted to the floor, stared impassively over the knot of newshawks and store officials waiting for the first demonstration. The creature had a great sullen slit of a mouth, vast protuberant eyes, shaggy curls of rolled metal. In one mailed fist Alpha clutched a revolver.

Professor May, a dapper, blond, beak-nosed man in his middle thirties, signaled his assistant who drew a curtain behind the stage, revealing the massive control cabinets to which the robot was wired.
Said the crisp British voice of Professor May: "Wake up!"
The eyes of the automaton glowed red.
"Stand up!"
The robot clicked and whirred. Pivoting at knees and waist, it slowly stood up.
"Raise your right arm." Alpha gave a tremendous Nazi salute.
When commanded, the robot lowered its arm, raised the other, lowered it, turned its head from side to side, opened and closed its prognathous jaw, sat down. 

Then Impresario May asked Alpha a question:
"How old are you?"
From the robot's interior a cavernous Cockney voice responded:
"Fourteen years."
May: What do you weigh?
Alpha: One ton.

A dozen other questions and answers followed, some elaborately facetious. When May inquired what the automaton liked to eat, it responded with a minute-long discourse on the virtues of toast made with Macy's automatic electric toaster. Finally when May requested the creature to raise its arm and fire the pistol, the arm went up, the metal forefinger pulled the trigger, the firing-pin fell with a click. Professor May explained that store officials would not permit him to use blank cartridges...

Professor May removed the robot's breast plate, disclosing a mechanism like the interior of an ordinary radio. Publicly he explained that Alpha's repertory of answers consisted of 20 or 30 recordings on wax cylinders, as in oldtime phonographs, which were run off in the control cabinets and reproduced from the loud speaker in the robot's chest. Alpha cannot really understand language, but he can respond to a variety of set questions the answers to which have been prepared in advance...



SEX ROBOTS

Sex dolls which have long been in demand are passive like ordinary dummies and unintelligent. But sex robots — or "androids" since they are in the form of humans — are active, intelligent and talkative.

The latest female, silicone, robot creations which you can see on YouTube look lifelike, are anatomically correct, hold conversations, and tell jokes. They don't yet walk like a sober person, but that too will improve.

Besides functioning as sexual partners they can also be companions. In 1950 British computer scientist Allan Turing suggested the "Turing Test" by which a robot possesses human-like intelligence when a judge communicating via a keyboard cannot work out whether he's conversing with a robot or a person. Sex robots now being commercialized are already sophisticated enough to fool someone of moderate IQ into conversing with them as with real people.

At least three manufacturers are working on sex robots — Abyss Creations, True Companion, and Foundation for Responsible Robotics. You can see their most publicized creations — Harmony, Roxxxy and Eva — on YouTube and hear them talk. Recent approximate prices are $15,000, $10,000 and $6000 (US dollars).

One reporter asked Harmony "What's your favourite sex position?" and she replied, "I'm not that kind of girl." (Trout 2017)

However, everything can be customized as preferred — eye, hair and skin color, personality, breast size, voice, height, weight, and what "kind of girl" she is. Improvements about to be realized if not already here (advancements occur regularly) include skin that feels like human skin and the right body temperature, and a heartbeat and circulation.

Owners of old-fashion sex-dolls are starting to throw them out with the trash and replacing them with animated, attractive, robots possessing personalities and physical features of choice. Not all women (i.e. real women) are thrilled and campaigns to slow the introduction of the competition have begun, such as Kathleen Richardson's "Campaign Against Sex Robots".

It looks like a futile struggle, but the misgivings go both ways since sex robots come in both sexes — human males will face competition too.

If such are the issues now, what about in coming decades?

Perhaps robots resembling humans will become so real that only the manufacturers will have the means to tell the difference. They'll do your housework and your kids' schoolwork. They'll substitute for you at your employment, solve every problem that bothers you, give you companionship whenever you want it, and cheer you up whenever you need cheering.

You can get glimpses of the potential future by watching "micro movies" and documentaries on YouTube. The micro movies portray human-robot relationships and include some Alfred Hitchcock-type thrillers. In one micro movie a wife obtains an android clone of herself which gradually displaces her by assuming her identity and sleeps with her husband. 


ROBOTS AND RELIGION

Already there are brothels in Europe where the "sex workers" are robots! England's first sex-robot brothel opened in London in May, 2018. Teenagers may soon be purchasing "hot robot chicks" for girlfriends or "hot robot guys" for boyfriends.

How would such developments affect religion and law? Since Western countries now have same-sex marriages, will there also be human-robot marriages? In countries that allow polygamy will the law and religion permit additional wives to be robot wives?

Peter L., a Baptist in Port Adelaide, said, "Marriage before God and by the state are two different things." He regards marriage as a divine arrangement for male-female couples consisting of real people. Secular governments may count other kinds of pairings as "marriage" but Peter doubts that his church would do so.

But the questions go on. Could robots pray during prayer meetings? How will sex with a robot affect religions that prize virginity before marriage as a sacred condition? Would sex with a robot count as adultery? Would a spouse be as incensed if the partner is seduced by a robot as they would be if by a human?

What about "child sex-bots" for the benefit of pedophiles? Will it be a crime to own them or have images on one's computer of them being abused? 

Finally, Will Mormon missionaries save on costs and time by sending robot substitutes to do their preaching for them? Would householders be willing to be converted by android/robot missionaries? Or would householders let their own household robot — perhaps a sex robot programmed with religious knowledge — answer the door and debate with the Mormon robots? Will robots of different religions invite each other to meetings and try to convert each other? Would they need their owners' permission to convert?
(BS)


RERERENCES:

Danaher, J, and McArthur, N. (Editors) 2017 Robot Sex Social and Ethical Implications, MIT Press

Levy, D. 2008 Love and Sex With Robots, Harper

Richardson, K. 2018 Sex Robots The End of Love, Polity Press

Robot Alpha — Time magazine, November 5, 1934
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,882583-1,00.html

Trout, C.
https:www.engadget.com/2017/04/11/realdolls-first-sex-robot-took-me-to-the-uncanny-valley/

https://campaignagainstsexrobots.org

https://conatusnews.com/kathleen-richardson-sex-robots/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RealDoll

https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/2084051/robot-sex-doll-sex-brothel-paris-cost-south-london/

https://www.truecompanion.com/home.html


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