Today, msnbc.com reports on the emergence of robotic sex-dolls that are allegedly poised to take over the human prostitution industry and alleviate the harms to women of the global rape-trade.
Did I say “reports”? Sorry, I meant acts as a stenographer for the gum-flapping of a sexologist and a “futurist with an interest in tourism” who recently co-authored a paper entitled “Robots, Men and Sex Tourism” for the current issue of Futures. In that paper, the authors
envision a future where robotic prostitutes are the solution to the sex industry’s most glaring problems, such as human trafficking, human degradation and the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
They literally envision it, and make us envision it too, by presenting a vivid scenario of Amsterdam’s red-light district in a futuristic, post-sex-robot sci-fi/porn fantasy circa 2050, “playing off the Yab-Yum, once one of Amsterdam’s most exclusive brothels before its closure in 2008”:
The Yub-Yum is Amsterdam’s top sex club for business travelers located beside a 17th century canal house on the Singel. It is modern and gleaming with about 100 scantily clad blondes and brunettes parading around in exotic G-strings and lingerie. Entry costs $10,000 for an all inclusive service. The club offers a full range of sexual services from massages, lap dancing and intercourse in plush surroundings. The Yub-Yum is a unique bordello licensed by the city council, staffed not by humans but by androids. This situation came about due to an increase in human trafficking in the sex industry in the 2040s which was becoming unsustainable, combined with an increase in incurable STI’s in the city especially HIV which over the last decade has mutated and is resistant to many vaccines and preventive medicines. Amsterdam’s tourist industry is built on an image of sex and drugs. The council was worried that if the red light district were to close, it would have a detrimental effect on the city’s brand and tourism industry, as it seemed unimaginable for the city not to have a sex industry. Sex tourism is a key driver for stag parties and the convention industry.
The Yub-Yum offers a range of sexual gods and goddesses of different ethnicities, body shapes, ages, languages and sexual features. The club is often rated highly by punters on http://www.punternet.com and for the fifth year in a row, in 2049 was voted the world’s best massage parlor by the UN World Tourism Organization. The club has won numerous technology and innovation awards including the prestigious ISO iRobotSEX award. The most popular model is Irina, a tall, blonde, Russian exotic species who is popular with Middle Eastern businessmen. The tourists who use the services of Yub-Yum are guaranteed a wonderful and thrilling experience, as all the androids are programmed to perform every service and satisfy every desire.
All androids are made of bacteria resistant fiber and are flushed for human fluids, therefore guaranteeing no Sexual Transmitted Disease’s are transferred between consumers. The impact of Yub-Yum club and similar establishments in Amsterdam has transformed the sex industry alleviating all health and human trafficking problems. The only social issues surrounding the club is the resistance from human sex workers who say they can’t compete on price and quality, therefore forcing many of them to close their shop windows. All in all, the regeneration of Amsterdam’s sex industry has been about the success of the new breed of sex worker. Even clients feel guilt free as they actually haven’t had sex with a real person and therefore don’t have to lie to their partner.
It’s difficult to digest all this depravity in one sitting, but one is left wondering about the details: how is this supposed to “transform the sex industry alleviating all health and human trafficking problems”? Some specificity would be nice, as well as some actual data to back up the claim which appears to be, essentially, that “letting men act more depraved will cause them to (somehow) act less depraved.” Adding in what we do know, the proposition could be illustrated thusly:
1. Design and build female-human-looking robots for men to stick their dicks into;
2. Further normalize and perpetuate the current working definitions of “sex” and “sexual” which appear to be “a man sticking his dick into any object under any circumstances” and “whatever sensations a man might experience while sticking his dick into any object under any circumstances” respectively;
4. Helps women.
What? The discerning non-misogynist reader is left reeling, wondering and concerned, and with a multitude of unanswered questions, the first of which perhaps being “Is there somewhere we can view this ‘paper’ — and its footnotes — without having to pay for it?”
But instead of asking any of the dozens of obvious questions that immediately spring to mind, the stenographer writing msnbc.com’s tech beat leaves us with this to ponder: (of course they aren’t even the reporter I mean stenographer‘s own questions, but the questions fed to him by the paper’s authors)
Robot sex is safer sex, free from the constraints, precautions and uncertainties of the real deal, but regardless of how good the sex is, will we always continue to think of it as something less than fully human?
Are they suggesting we would be wrong if we did?