Entries in futurist (4)
After reading Gizmodo's interview with a technosexual I thought it was as good a time as any to look at an article from the July-August, 1997 Futurist about sex with robots.
Joel C. Snell wrote a piece called, "Impacts of Robotic Sex," which describes many of the same reasons for wanting a robotic sex partner as Zoltan does in the Gizmodo article. Alimony, disease, and a sense of shifting cultural norms all lend themselves to a tone of inevitability in both pieces. The more tomorrow changes, the more it stays the same. The Futurist magazine article appears below in its entirety.
(The robot to the right is a painting my girlfriend, Malorie Shallcross, did for Valentine's Day.)
Robots that provide sexual companionship are likely to become common in the future. Prototype models have already been reported from Japan.
The future "sexbots" will have humanlike features and will be soft and pliant, like the latest dolls for children. Sexbots will contain vibrators to provided love talk.
Sexbots will be disease free; they won't judge one's sexual performance, and they won't say no. They will never have a headache or demand alimony.
They could certainly alter human relations. Here are a few potential impacts of sexbots:
Marriages may be destroyed by sexbots. A husband chooses sex with the sexbot, alienating his wife; the jealous wife destroys her sexbot rival and sues the manufacturer.
Individuals may change gender orientation. Heterosexual people may use a same-sex sexbot to experiment with homosexual relations. Or gay people might use other-sex sexbots to experiment with heterosexuality.
Robotic sex may become addictive. Sexbots would always be available and never say no, so addictions would be easy to feed. People may become obsessed by their ever faithful, ever pleasing sexbot lovers and rearrange their lives to accommodate their addictions. Eventually, support groups will likely form.
Technovirgins will emerge. An entire class of humans may emerge who not only will never have sex with other humans, but won't even desire it.
Robotic sex may become "better" than human sex. Like many other technologies that have replaced human endeavors, robots may surpass human technique; because they would be programmable, sexbots would meet each individual user's needs.
Would electronic and robotic sex reduce teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, abortions, pedophilia, and prostitution? The jury is still out on these implications. However, boundaries, barriers, and beliefs will be challenged.
For the October, 1980 issue of The Futurist Ted Peters, associate professor of systematic theology at the Pacific Lutheran Seminary (Berkeley, CA), wrote a piece titled, "The Future of Religion in a Post-Industrial Society." An excerpt appears below.
Western society is so pre-occupied with the consumption of goods and services that even religion may become just another commodity, like the packaged tour to an exotic island. If so, the world may lose a possible solution to its great crises.
What is to become of religion as our society moves further and further into the post-industrial period? Certain trends are fairly easy to identify. For example, an extension of Islamic influence due primarily to the sudden expansion of wealth in Muslim hands. But I would like to bypass trends of this type and focus on something else, namely, the potential interaction between religion and the current understanding of the human self which has developed during the now passing industrial period.
My thesis is that as our civilization becomes increasingly post-industrial, our preoccupation with consuming goods and services will most likely commoditize religion. There is now a strong trend - which I believe will continue - toward treating the moral and spiritual dimensions of life as commodities to be acquired and disposed of according to tastes and whims of shoppers in the religious marketplace.
Excessive consumption, however, whether it be consumption of material goods or spiritual values, is the root of the crisis we call the "world problematique." In addition, as long as the consumer mentality prevails, we will be condemned to a prostitution of the essential religious vision, a vision of the transcendent unity of all things which requires a sacrifice of the human ego. It is just such a vision, however, that holds the greatest promise for resolving the world problematique.
"'You will definitely see this returning to a more human scale society,' said Hazel Henderson, a freelance futurist, from her post in Gainesville, Fla. 'It will be more effecient [to] do things locally. It won't make sense to buy Wonder Bread baked in Illinois'"
That prediction couldn't have been more wrong. Today our food travels further than ever.
If you have a TimesSelect subscription you can read the entire article here.