– John Danaher, “…if mutual love could be achieved between humans and sex robots, then by parity of reasoning with the human case, mutual love could potentially give sex between humans and sexbots a deeper meaning and greater value.” ( John, p222, 2018)
– Davio Levy believes that, ” Empathy in robots will be achieved partly by measuring the user’s psychophysiological responses…By converting this empathy into emotional support, robots will be laying the foundations for behaviour patterns that will enhance their relationships with their users .” (Davio Levy 2007, p87)
– “Our future is a race between the growing power of our technology and the wisdom with which we use it.” – Stephen Hawking (Stephen, P196, 2018)
Writer Wen Hsieh 17.04.2020 / Photographer Lene Hu
My investigation, which is based on how a human can build mutual love with a sexbot, there is a further question that arises: whether the relationship between humans and sex robots is based on domination and obedience. In either case, is the relationship built on mutual love? In this unbalanced relationship, problems such as sexual abuse, objectifying the female image and disrespect emerge, which worries people. In order to address the concern, I have created an intervention which challenges the perception and taboo around the domination and obedience of human and sexbot relationships. Furthermore, I consider what will happen if “mutual love” is lost in a “non human-to-human” relationship? The concept is delivered through a film as a dialogue to see if it could inspire users and non users and impact their view of life.
These storylines of the film came from people’s general opinions of sexbots and some experts offered some concerns.
Lust = red section ＝ materializing female image / practicing sexual abuse
Pride = yellow section = replacing humans
Melancholy = blue section = living in one’s own world / social isolation
Hollow = white section = unbalancing mutual respect
Frenzy = black section = simulating conclusion…mutuality : given and received in a reciprocal way. Do not miss out in “non human-to-human” communication.
In this film, I use only stereotypes and bias from non users to challenge USERS and non users’ views. Because of the theory of ” 物極必反“, meaning that things will turn into the opposite direction when they reach the extreme. Also, using colour psychology to strengthen the visual effect. This is an experimental film, trying to inspire audiences in different ways.
- Feedback of the film
Q: What do you feel about this film as a user of sexbot or lovedoll ?
-Kind of sad. The user did not seem to appreciate his partner and did not turn on her in a good way.
-If you make the decision to buy one, like any possession, you must take care of it. Especially if it is capable of thought.
-The film to me shows that a relationship between a human and a lovedoll has to be based on love, mutual respect, trust and the willingness to give, just like between humans. If the human just uses the sexbot or lovedoll in the way, like the film presenting. It won’t work.
Q:What is your relationship with your sexbot or lovedoll ?
A:Half of them gave the similar answer which is companions, wives. The others said their lovedolls are their model for photography.
Q: These storylines of the film came from people generally opinion of sexbot and some experts offered some concerns. Lust = red section ＝ materializing female image / practicing sexual abuse. Pride = yellow section = replacing humans. Melancholy = blue section = induing in one’s own world / social isolation. Hollow = white section = unbalancing mutual respect. Frenzy = black section = simulating conclusion…Mutuality : given and received in a reciprocal way.Do not miss out in ” non human-to-human ” communication. Which section inspired you? and why?
-I liked the red and blue sections most as they showed affection, intimacy and the love of the sexbot for the human user.
-“Replacing Humanity” was the most thought provoking for me because I don’t understand why someone would be upset if a machine was able to do something better than them. I can understand jealousy but not anger. People get technology to make their lives easier. They use Google so they don’t have to do research or think too much. A User would already expect that an android would be smarter than them and eventually be able to perform better than them especially if they learn from watching the User work or perform.
-I disregard the experts’ concerns for using sexdolls for things like control and abuse because reality shows the opposite. From looking at the doll community on Instagram it shows that doll owners really care for their dolls, take pride in grooming them, buying them things and celebrating their femininity by photographing them. It seems to me that the sexbots/dolls give the owner a creative and emotional outlet and feed the male desire to have something to look after and care for.
Q: The CEO of Realbotix, Matt McMullen said sexbots can love humans both physically, as well mentally. what do you think about this situation? Are you ready to do the same in return?
-I do, I treat my lovedoll as much as a human as possible, I think it works for us.
-Yes. If it is true it would really be a great thing. These androids could be companions for all people of the world, they wouldn’t need to be used for sex. People already assign human traits to inanimate objects so loving a machine is nothing new.
-I don’t think sexbots can love you either way. They can only project on to you what they have been programmed. They can be programmed to act as a companion or to show compassion or empathy or other feelings of human emotion. It is possible that you can internalize those displays of emotion and feel as if the robots AI loves you. In the same way that you could project your own feeling on to the sexbot no different from projecting your own romantic notions on to another human.
-I think in time they can. At the current state the AI is still too young.
Q: What do you worry about if many people have a sexbot? Are you glad to see this happen or you disagree?
-Living with a sexbot will only work if people are willing to respect the sexbot as a being, like a human being, otherwise there is the risk of abuse. I fear that there will be abuse but I hope it will not be widespread.
-I would be happy if more people could have companions. Especially if they were programmed to love you completely. In the hands of people who truly need one it would be a wonderful thing. But in the hands of violent people it would be a bad thing.
-My only concern is that humans would connect less to each other but that is already happening with technology. It may become more socially acceptable in the future in the same way that internet dating was once taboo but is now very popular. But I don’t think the use of synthetic companions will ever get that popular. because it’s simply just not as good as the real thing.
-I’d love to see everyone get a companion.
Q: What do you want to say to us in the future? Any words to the users of sexbot? Any words to the un-users of sexbot? Or to the CEO of Realbotix, Matt McMullen?
-It will happen and I hope it will be to the best of human beings and the sexbots.
-Get an android for company and to have a more fulfilling life. Do not get it to abuse it.
-The only mutuality between man and machine exists in the imagination. A sexbot is a machine that serves a purpose no different from a car or a toaster or an alexa or a woman’s vibrator.
-Be yourself. My wife and I love the hobby. It’s fun to lose oneself in something.
Q: Can you read the message of the film about “mutuality : given and received in a reciprocal way. Do not miss out in ‘non human-to-human’ communication”?
A: 66.7 % of audiences can read the concept, but 33.3% cannot.
Q: If you can read the message, what will you change in your life slightly?
A:Nothing, but I understand that everyone and everything deserves respect. That is the Golden Rule.
The evaluation of the intervention
In general, the audiences can read the importance of mutual love, respond that everyone and everything deserves respect. That is the Golden Rule. Especially, the users said they treat their lovedolls as their wife and disagree with the experts’ concerns for using sexdolls for things like control and abuse because reality shows the opposite. From looking at the doll community on Instagram it shows that doll owners really care for their dolls. The sexbots or dolls give the users a creative and emotional outlet and feed the users’ desire to have something to look after and care for. Thus, this film twisted the stereotype of the users’ objectification of female image and sexual abuse.
What did the users think about the perception of the domination and obedience through the yellow (pride) / blue (melancholy)/ white (hollow) / black (frenzy) sections? A user answered that by a yellow film clip, “Replacing Humanity”, people get technology to make their lives easier. Users would already expect that a robot would be smarter than them and eventually be able to perform better than them especially if they learn from watching the user work or perform. Thus, analysing the feedback, there is equal benefit here, both the user and sexbot learn together. There is a non-user’s concern that by the blue film clip, “Social Isolation”, this might make the users more disconnected from the real world and cause the users to be dominated by the sexbot. Eventually, AI technology will be the leader of the world.
Through the perspectives of the user and non user, I realized that in the non users’ mind, they argue more about domination and obedience. Who should be the controller, human or non human? In contrast, the users presented equal benefit and support.
What will happen if human and sexbot relationships lose control?
In the film, Ex-Machina, it mentioned Automatic Art which was created by an artist, Jackson Pollock. The dialogue said, “The challenge is not to act automatically. It is to find an action that is not automatic.” It is a metaphor that the opaque process of self-learning of the sex robot in a conscious or unconscious manner will be the most worrisome part that humans should have a deeper concern about. It might likely cause the role of master and slave to be reversed. Will sexbots be your lover or your killer? It depends on what kind of data you share. Thus, it is vital to understand the importance of mutuality, which includes mutual love, support, benefit and trust, in order to educate sexbots to have a pleasant personality. There are further concerns that the sexbot might control the users’ brains and behaviours. Who can escape the power of “pillow talk”, can you?