Cyborg-ification and Robotic Relationships: A Conversation with Dr. Jo Ann Oravec - securing sexuality podcast episode 72
Securing Sexuality is the podcast and conference promoting sex positive, science based, and secure interpersonal relationships. We give people tips for safer sex in a digital age. We help sextech innovators and toy designers produce safer products. And we educate mental health and medical professionals on these topics so they can better advise their clients. Securing Sexuality provides sex therapists with continuing education (CEs) for AASECT, SSTAR, and SASH around cyber sexuality and social media, and more.
Links from this week's episode:
Dr. Jo Ann Oravec
Dr. Oravec - LinkedIn
Good Robot, Bad Robot: Dark and Creepy Sides of Robotics, Autonomous Vehicles, and AI
I’m Your Man
Robots in Personal Relationships: Examining the Implications
The field of robotics has made significant advancements, leading to the emergence of human-robot relationships. These relationships, which entail emotional and social interactions between humans and robots, raise important ethical questions and have profound implications for society. This blog post aims to explore the ethical and emotional implications of human-robot relationships, delving into both the potential benefits and drawbacks of such connections.
I. Ethical Implications:
II. Emotional Implications:
As human-robot relationships become more prevalent, it is essential to carefully consider the ethical and emotional implications they entail. Balancing the potential benefits, such as companionship and emotional support, with the risks of objectification and emotional manipulation is crucial. Society must establish guidelines and ethical frameworks to ensure the well-being and autonomy of both humans and robots in these relationships. Moreover, ongoing discussions and research should address the social and cultural impact of human-robot relationships, recognizing the potential for both positive and negative consequences. By approaching this topic with a thoughtful and ethical mindset, we can navigate the complexities of human-robot relationships and foster a society that upholds the dignity and well-being of all parties involved.
Hello, and welcome to Securing Sexuality. A podcast where we discuss the intersection of intimacy and information security. I am Wolf Goerlich.
He's a hacker, and I'm Stefani Goerlich.
She is a sex therapist and together we're going to discuss what safe sex looks like in a digital age.
So, Stefani, last episode you coined–and if anyone else has said this, they can argue with us. But I believe you coined the phrase the Stepford Internet.
Sure, if you wanna give me credit for that. And we even got you to admit that robots may have feelings, too. There's a line that you're like, but I can I can't believe I'm saying this. The fake influencers can also develop feelings like human beings. I'm a human being. I will acknowledge I don't necessarily know that I believe that they're real feelings, but you have won me over to the idea that some form of feeling exists for some form of robot.
Sure, so I was very excited about that to have that on record. And so the further, like delve into this idea of the Stafford Internet. What a I and uh, sex robots and virtual influencers and everything are doing to rewire our intimate connections.
I thought, Who better to have on then, Doctor Jo Ann Orok. Hello.
How's it going?
I'm feeling great. And I'm just so happy to be in the presence of people I admire so much. I went through so many of your podcasts and I've learned so much. So thank you for all your work through the years. That's so sweet.
Thank you, Jo Ann. And you are yourself an amazing person that has contributed so much.
Uh, Doctor Jo Ann Ava has spent more than 35 years as a professor at the University of Wisconsin as well as at City University of New York, teaching information technology, business and public policy.
Jo Ann, I gotta tell you, I am in my first semester of teaching a full blown class at the University of Minnesota, and I am baffled at how you've done this for 35 years. It is a lot. You have an MBA, a PhD, an MA and MS. And you have been a visiting fellow at both Oxford and Cambridge, which is amazing.
You are a scientist with in Spirit Corporation, which is an a I start up. You've written three books and more than 90 peer reviewed articles on A I robots, disability studies, privacy and more. In other words, you are now my new hero. Thank you so much for being here today. Thank you so much for the the amazing intro.
Uh, I'd like to bring up some of the, uh, MB A related points.
The reason why I put MB a in, in, in, uh, in an emphasis in the bio is that robotics?
Sex robotics will be, uh, a big part of our lives in the future.
And the money that people pour into their sex robots today and give to organisations like real doll uh, will be money that we all gain from eventually that money for research and development in this area just the same way that in the very early days of the Internet, uh, the fact that a lot of people bought P CS so they could look at pornography and not be hauled into, uh, uh, courts and all of that by the people who own the mainframes.
Uh, that was a part of the, um, explosion that we know of as the computer age.
So again, um, there are a lot of business aspects that I hope to bring in. But anybody looking at those articles would know that I emphasise the dark side of computing.
Well, later on, I want to make sure that we go to the bright side because I am very pro human.
Uh, a I and human robotic marriage.
So, II, I want to emphasise that, but the dark side, What do we mean by that?
Well, a lot of people are creeped out by computers, and this is and and by by robotics. And this isn't something that just sprung up recently has a long history. Professor Murray.
I, um, who is still alive?
Uh, back in the 19 seventies, coined the term uncanny valley to, um, uh, label this phenomenon that a lot of us face when we're, uh, faced. When we when we're looking at a robot that is so similar to a human being, Sometimes there is a very dark sense that we have a dark and creepy sense that we can't shake.
And I think that creepy sense is going to be around for a long time. And I wanted to write a book.
Uh, good robot, bad robot robot.
That, uh, dark and creepy sides of robot, Um, uh, autonomous vehicles and a i which anybody can, uh, obtain. Just email me.
OK, if you're searching and you're a researcher and all that email me and I'll and I'll get you a copy, it's it's, uh, online. But what I'd like to do with, you know, talk by talking about this is emphasising the fact that there are so many aspects of robotics that we need to normalise. And we need to integrate into our culture that we don't understand yet that have long legacies.
We basically have 100 years of modern robotics back in 1923 that, uh, term robot, uh, coming from a check term, meaning forced labour was integrated into culture. And there was a movie Rossum's universal Robots that took the world by storm.
Uh, people would see this movie on Broadway, and it also, uh, was, uh, uh, uh uh portrayed in many, uh, European venues. And of course, it portrayed robots in a in a pretty evil light. If you read the the, uh uh, the script of that, uh um uh play.
And and, uh uh, there there was a movie afterward. And all of that, you would you would, uh, see some parallels to what's happening today.
But again, in that 100 years, uh, we still have a normalised robots into our lives. They still, um, uh, shock a lot of people. I wrote an article that is even more, uh, well known than my book called Rage Against Robots on robo robot rage, where a number of people go nuts and they start throwing eggs at a Tesla, uh, autonomous vehicles and they start, um, yeah, I.
I first got interested in this because I was giving speeches on robots at at various conferences.
And I, um, appeared in front of a conference of community, um, college educators and K, 12 people and all that.
And, uh, I was talking about all these service robots that are going to make our lives so easy, easy in schools, deliver mail and stuff like that. And someone in the back of the room said that little robot up there that you're demonstrating is gonna last 20 minutes by my school.
And I said, What are you talking about?
That, uh, the young people would would rip it apart basically. And we discussed, of course, I had to stop everything. My my presentation and and a lot of people agreed that there is a very powerful, um, antipathy toward robots.
Uh, along with those anxieties that creepiness we were just talking about that can set behind a lot of the of the real advances that we need in robotics, Uh, and a need in our society and in some of the the the terrible jobs that people have to, uh uh to to do.
Uh, and and again, I think that robot marriages could help out a lot of a lot in in in that regard. I've got some case studies that I hope will prove all of this.
Now, marriage can be kind of bad, too. I know that I'm gonna get emails from folks saying, Hey, you're talking about talking about marriage. I got married very late in life to a wonderful person who's around there in the room somewhere, and and I It's the best thing that ever happened to me.
But there are marriages that are are in some countries, have women as property and that are linked to all sorts of abuse and terrible things.
And, of course, through the years, many, many, uh, societies have made marriage a lot more equitable and have brought in same sex marriage, uh, different variations of marriages other than just one man, one woman and all that, uh, but again, with that notion of marriage can come stability, it can It can come respect and people being cared for and all that.
And that's what I'd like to bring into our discussion of robotics. And I know that we have, uh, an expert developer of of a wolf on on, uh, ready to pounce on with various questions and all of that. But I just wanted to note that we we need to look at the dark side, you know, for us to paint this all over.
I know some social robotics, a lot of social robotics researchers who who say all we have to do is make the robots a little bit bigger or we can paint them pink.
You know, we'll do a study and we'll paint the robots pink. And then we will get 15 undergraduates who say that robot is friendlier because it's pink or we'll give it a name and it will make it more friendly and all that.
No, I think there is something very deep in us that's taken centuries to work itself out, in which we have, um a a natural mistrust of robots as another species.
The same way we could have a mistrust of the sabertooth tiger that is chasing us and all that, and to pretend somehow through a little bit of, uh, gyrations and all that that we can, uh, somehow straighten this all up and make the robot that is going to be friendly and do the work. And we won't be fearing and we won't worry about that.
That's the way to go Now, just to note the book that I wrote it, uh, is dedicated to the large number of individuals and growing number of in of individuals who died at the hands of robots. So it's no joke there.
We've got, uh, people in manufacturing concerns who weren't given the kind of information they were they should have been given, and they trusted the robot too much. We've got lots of people with autonomous vehicles who are dying because the the the car didn't respond the way it was programmed, uh, to operate The self-driving aspect was not operating properly.
So again, I'm hoping that, uh, in the future my work either the, you know, articles and books and all that will be used by people who maybe feel qualm about compu about computers and robots and a I and autonomous vehicles. They don't know why. They've got a lot of companions out there.
There's a lot out there and all of the marketing and all of the the research, the the surface research that's being done will not erase that long negative history of of, uh, of, uh, robotics. But we can go on to the good stuff if you'd like anytime you like.
You know, I oftentimes think of it as we're running 20 years of technology on 20,000 years of legacy. And in the tech world, people are like legacy. Legacy can't be 20,000 years.
Well, you know, our human firmware. Our psychology is so hardwired into everything you're saying and I, I like that you pulled up uncanny Valley because I've heard I was talking to, um, a psychologist.
He said, You know what?
That probably means is there was a point in time in human development where our ability to differentiate between human and just sort of human was key to survival. That the ability to differentiate in groups and out groups.
So, yeah, we've we've got that to deal with.
Uh, the anti labour, uh, biases have been going on forever and ever.
Of course, the word sabotage translates to, uh, 16th century, uh, wood clog shoes and everything.
So, you know, throwing a throwing a wood clog shoe into a machine or throwing an egg on a tesla. We've been doing that for centuries.
Yeah, I love what Wolf was just outlining about, Uh, the, uh uh, need to determine what species we are as opposed to other species and all that. You think of all these subspecies that are evolved that that evolved the nan Neanderthals and and and various, uh, uh, bridge species before our own, uh, human species evolved. And there must have been a number of periods.
We're still working it out with, uh, our sense of sasquatch.
And and, uh uh, whatever these these creatures of the night and all of that, uh, that we fear and and Dracula and all of that. We're still working out species related issues that very much get to the core of our being and, uh, fill our movies, too.
What would Netflix be without without, uh, Dracula and, um, and zombies And and, uh, uh, all of the, uh uh, the the the creatures that, uh, uh, fill our imagination.
So, Stefani, I've got to ask you because I know I'm the pro robot. You're generally the anti robot.
Paint it pink, and then it's a good marriage partner, right?
That's what I'm here.
Uh, I, I do tend to be anti robot.
And Jo Ann, I hope this doesn't change the friendship that we formed. But I am much more, you know, as as the therapist, as the person that specialises in human relationships, I'm much more sceptical about human robot relationships.
So, uh, now is your chance win me over. I'm old.
OK, let me tell you that. End of things I am old. The body doesn't work after a certain point the way you'd expect.
And I would love to have the opportunity to, um give my partner and all that what?
Um, he deserves, uh, in a way that I might not be able to because of one very bad hip.
Ok, uh, I think that older people are providing a whole different, uh, aspect to this, and I'm I'm at the various conferences where I've I've given, uh, presentations and all of that.
I've gotten a lot of feedback, uh, from individuals who say, uh, what's going to happen when my spouse dies?
And I would love to have those memories somewhere. I don't want another husband like I'm not no more. I'm not going to have another husband. It's on tape now, OK, this is the first one, you know, a one and done.
Um, and I'm I'm I'm worried about what might happen If something would happen to my husband. I would want to save all of the incredible memories. He's a a peace educator. He's got so much talent and all of that, and I as well as sexual ability and all of that and what I would want to do is have a way to store this for the future.
So again, those are two aspects that I hope that we'll get into with the examples of some movies that are that are on those targets, too.
Uh, but, um, I What I'm hoping is that we all have those those opportunities.
And I'm thinking in terms of marriage, we've got a pope right now who is beginning to bless?
Uh, same sex marriage. Not going far as far as as I would like and a lot of other people would like in that regard.
But what if we would have a pope?
That would say, OK, um, if there's AAA robot as part of your marriage because of some some, uh uh, problem that you have some physical issues or something like that.
Uh, I will bless that.
You know, the church could bless that. I was thinking, Yeah.
Does that make you feel good?
You know that your marriage would be blessed by this by this, Uh um, higher entity. This this this spiritual element.
Uh, and this this other entity could be brought into your marriage.
So again, uh, and we we we will talk about human robot marriage without the third without third party in effect.
But, uh, just bringing up the possibility of having some some sacred part of our, uh, sexual lives brought into being, uh, as as we evolve as we evolve as a species and and as we evolve, just one more note as we evolve.
Uh, I may become a cyborg, too, if I start getting, uh, that hip replaced and maybe some other parts of it replaced. And if I really am lucky and live as long as my aunt did, she lived past a year.
Uh, 100. I may be 80% robot.
OK, so whatever happens, my partner could be, uh, have as a marriage.
Uh, um uh, partner, uh, someone who is part robotic.
So again, we've got a lot going on with with our species and the way that we're we're evolving. And I'm hoping society catches up and uses these really powerful tools of the The marriage mechanism has been a powerful tool for civilising society. You think of all of the the, uh, young people who get a break in life after they get married, their income goes up, their opportunities go up.
Their stability goes up societies around them, the communities grow, uh, in in their wealth, Uh, all sorts of wealth.
Uh, the the, uh, social wealth with marriage. Let's bring robots into that and and even further strengthen what we have going on. And we've got a good thing going. So I like this because what I'm hearing you say is not Let's, um, have a relationship with a machine you're talking more about, Sort of like cyborg robotics.
So bringing the machine into the human and that I think I can get behind a little bit more than like, um, you mentioned, like, the real doll sort of thing. Like II.
I think as as a therapist, I struggle with the idea of forming a relationship with what is, you know, if we let the battery run down an inanimate object, but what you're describing in terms of, I'm gonna say cyborg education, that makes a little bit more sense to me.
Yes, that's definitely I love the way you put it.
Uh, and that's another word you you've coined. I hope that that that works its way into the heading or something like that. That you coined that because that's what that's where we're headed along these lines.
Uh, but, uh, I am actually also talking about the the human robot. A 11 on one.
that, uh, has been portrayed in a lot of, uh, movies lately, Uh, as one aspect of this, there's a spectrum.
Uh, I've got an MB a So there's a matrix, you know, of different aspects. And there is this quarter or that quarter not to joke too much about this, but again, there's a there's There are many dimensions to what I'm talking about in terms of marriage and robots. And definitely, um, I'm also talking about that that, uh, human and robotic marriage.
Now, let me give you just a case, uh, to to outlines of So we're we're We've got a specific Let's call this person Z.
Ok, uh, he's got a long, um uh, Chinese name. I don't want to mess up the name and all that. He's a 31 year old. This is a real person, 31 year old engineer, probably 33 right now. Since I got the material and it's in my book, uh, it's it's a little older now, and he married a robot that he created.
OK, he's an engineer. He put what he wanted into this robot.
Ok, uh, that that sense that mythology of Pygmalion comes to mind right from my fair lady and and all of that, uh, the notion that you've created something, And then, uh, the gods took pity on you as a as a sculptor or as designer. The gods take pity on you, and that entity comes to life. That is what this individual, um, is living right now.
Uh, with the robot, as as a marriage companion, he went through everything he could to do the the marriage legally. And the reason why I like his case is that his mother attended the marriage, his marriage.
Uh, and of course we have. We we know the demographics of some areas of china.
Uh, certainly not every area, but in his area of China, there are very few women to match male partners.
Uh, and he wanted a female partner along this line so again to design a robot of his own to have it because of a I and all of this, this wonderful technology that people like wolf has have been working on for so many years.
We've got something that was briefed to life and became animate, became, uh, living in at least, uh, with his imagination is stretching, uh, the situation somewhat and we have perhaps a happy ending, Uh, with his mother a part of all of this, a blessing, the the relationship.
So one might say, OK, um, what's wrong with this?
Um uh, should the go off and try to find other companions, should he go off and do something else?
That's that's creative, Uh, with his life, then putting this time and effort into this robot, which he he designed is a sex spot that he designed.
Well, um, maybe there are. There aren't that many other good uses for his time and and the time that he would have spent, you know, just alone and and mourning or perhaps committing suicide. Because if he's, you know, he if he's so alone, um, some of that loneliness could backfire, and he could become depressed again. I see.
I see a happy ending in all of this, and I'm I'm hoping that you could see, uh, I'm trying to try to convince Stefani here that you could see a little bit more of a reason to bring marriage. You know of human robot marriage into at least this particular scene.
I, I definitely I see it as a happy, happy story, for sure. And part of the happiness in my mind was already shaded by the fact that he brought in a two by two matrix. Because I'm a firm believer that just about everything can be solved. That's like by two by two matrix.
I've got to ask you where and how do you define that line, though, between a genuine emotional intimacy, Uh, between a human and a robot?
And where does it move from being genuine to being artificial?
That that's such a great question.
I know, In studying all of this, I've seen a lot of things that were obvious Publicity stunts.
Uh, I've I've searched, searched literature, contacted a lot of people and all that, uh, I haven't gotten the the, uh, financial support to do a full the type of full scale study that Pew research or someplace could do. But I've gotten a good sense of, of of, of what's happening in the area.
There are many people right now, and I'm thinking of the last one of the last places where I've spoken on on these issues, for example, the reimagined sexuality conference that you might have heard of, uh, where people who have sex dolls, sex robots and all of that, and have long standing relationships with these entities.
Uh uh, talk and to hear their stories now, they could be conning, conning us all or conning themselves.
Uh, there could be some sort of of of, uh, you know, fictional understanding of pseudo relationship.
OK, II, I know that that Stefani would know all the proper terms here, but I think pseudo relationship might help.
Uh, I could have a pseudo relationship with Taylor Swift or Kelsey or Travis. I've got to get the It's, uh, Travis Kelsey. Not Kelsey. Travis.
OK, whatever. I could have a pseudo relationship where I I memorise everything they do, and I watch them and I dream about them at night and all of that. We as humans have pseudo relationships. And unfortunately, some of those have those pseudo relationships with our real life spouses where that other person isn't really into us and has married us for money or for some other purpose protection or whatever purpose.
Um, yeah, uh, I can see a lot of that happening with robots, uh, with sex robots. But on the other hand, I talking to the to people who had these long term, uh, relationships. I can see some real love there.
Now, I live in a suburban, semi suburban community here in Madison, Wisconsin, where people have that type of love toward their cars. I kid you not the amount of time that some of these folks spend on just polishing, adoring, uh uh, cleaning up of detailing, uh, up, you know, putting their their time and effort into these cars.
If they could do put that time and effort into a a wife, I would I would you know, that wife would be really lucky again. We have that type of of of, uh, investment in our many of our machines and artwork.
I mean, a lot of people love the Mona Lisa.
In fact, some people have actually legally tried to marry the Mona Lisa, uh, through various schemes and all of that, uh, we we we should examine more carefully and again to to tie all of these threads up.
I hope, uh, in some, I hope, Quasi profession way.
Uh, that, uh, we've got we've got so many, so many ways that we are, uh, we have, say, pseudo relationships that aren't the gold standard that aren't the two or more persons who relate to us each other fully and completely, whatever their sexuality or backgrounds and all of that as human beings.
Uh, we have parts of that ingested into so many of the other of our relationships, including robotics, and one would hope that, uh, we can respect that.
We can, uh, perhaps have that person grow from those relationships into other relationships.
Um, and learn from that. I remember my early days with computing. I can talk as again, an older person.
Uh, in the 19 seventies, when I worked with the big iron. We have big IBM systems, the mainframes and all of that. And I was the person with the white coat behind the scenes and and writing the the card decks. And and And I love that those computers So much III I can't even describe, And I can't. I was completely addicted.
This was before any type of of advertisements or publicity about computing and all of that, and I was getting paid fairly little at the time.
I got, you know, very soon got a better, better salary and all that. But again to know that there's some some power in computing. Perhaps it's the logic. Perhaps it's the consistency, although well, we can argue about whether or not our chat IT is is is biassed and all that we've We've got machine learning machine learning expert wolf and, uh, to to some extent, myself here as well.
Um, and we again. But at least the older computers, the logic and consistency and the the sense of the future.
Yeah, I would have married that I would have married that machine, had I had I had the opportunity.
So again, we've got, uh, a lot of of of threads to tie together, uh, in a in a moving, fast moving civilization in which, um, I'm pretty sure I I agree with Dr David Levy.
Uh, who says 2050 is the year that a robotic person marriage will be formally accepted?
You know, with with papers and everything like that, and and and an avenue for divorce, we can talk about conscious decoupling with our our robotic partners. If we if we would like to, uh, to, uh, have a divorce.
But again, I would I would push it to that extent that I think the year 2050 would be a good year to aim for.
And, uh, I know that some people listening to this might say, Hey, maybe 2040. But I'm saying 2050 I, I wanna do something I don't think I've ever done. And and Wolf will be shocked to hear that you have gotten me to this point. I wanna go a little bit Freudian for a minute. From sort of a psychoanalytic perspective.
I think it's fascinating that you're you're tying together this idea of the young man in China who's living in an area that doesn't really have enough women to really find a spouse with the idea of self marriage or having a marriage ceremony to show commitment to yourself and then the idea of relationships with robots.
I'm wondering at what point this becomes an exercise in ego where, you know, kind of to speak to the feminist pushback. This idea that rather than actually compromise with another human being, rather than actually value the differences of another person, I'm just going to project my own ego into a robot form and marry that that it becomes sort of this if we go down that road rather sort of narcissistic idea.
And I'm curious what your thoughts are that, uh, you've you've stated things wonderfully and it's a fantastic argument. I would say that today's sex robots, which are very much connected to, say, the chat PT machine learning aspect, will not be as, uh, self reflective as as older robots.
I mean, I came from the I was teaching artificial intelligence for a number of years back in the eighties.
Uh, where, uh, the machine learning was laughed at.
OK, we could we could talk about perceptions and all of that. But if you went down that alley, uh, forget it, your career was done.
Um, and today's, uh a I is exploratory. It's it's throwing spaghetti at the wall and see what's what.
What fits it?
It it it It takes culture. And you know, there's that notion of culture jamming. It's culture jamming on us, uh, and in so many different ways and expanding our horizons, um, I'm getting a little addicted to, uh, the Czech GP GP T voyages myself as I as I move along in my research, uh, and so I I can see exactly.
Um, the the power in II, I hope I hope, uh, more exactly the power in your argument. And I hope that with the newer generations of artificial intelligence and new concepts of what a I really is and can can be for us that we are moving beyond this notion of just having our own, um, stereotypes and our own, uh, background and our own pre presuppositions and all that parroted back to us.
It's pretty hard to work with a I right now and work with systems. I mean anything a I and work with the system from the old school.
I mean, I'll, I'll give you some of my old programmes from the expert systems there and all that back in the eighties and and prologue and the enlisted the languages I was programming in. But those and those are pretty precise.
I could I could tell you exactly what the outcome would be, but I can't tell you what's going on with chat GP T There's so much that is taking from our culture just as we're learning, OK, just as we're learning from our cultures and we we get trained the same way these robots get trained with new ideas, and you just gave me some.
Stefani, I've got a You know, I'm coming back very quickly with answers here because I'm I'm trained as a professor to do that, but I'm going to think about what you said.
Uh uh, for a long time to come and hope I hope I can generate a better answer. Thanks. Yeah.
And And you're actually bringing up a sort of a part two to my question for me because, you know, then if if my feminist brain isn't going to the Stepford Wives, I'm creating an empty vessel I can pour my own eagle into to marry if we go into culture jamming and a I and chat GP TI. I have learned from these conversations that chat GP T can hallucinate.
I'm watching how algorithms are influencing people's understanding of history and current events. And so now you know, your answer kind of brings up a different question for me, which is equally feminist, I think.
And if it's not the empty vessel concern, then my next concern is how do we keep an A I partner or a robotic partner from becoming abusive?
How do we How do we keep an A I husband from gas lighting its wife?
That's exactly right. And and there there are theories with all the lying that's going on as a confabulation, as people are saying and hallucination that we're being, uh, gas lighted right now by some of these programmes that are laughing at us secretly, uh, lots of lots of great issues there. Let's look at both sides of the of the abuse notion. I've studied robo abuse.
Uh, probably as much as anybody has recently, and and it's just it's just emerging. People take it out and and they'll do a much better job. Young people will do a much better job that I'm doing, but I've looked at robo abuse from the very beginning. We have something in us that wants to abuse those robots.
Uh, and a lot of, uh, many of us do. It is going to be a huge issue with with, uh, uh, the kind of bullying of robots, um, and and the kind of of, uh of, uh, tampering with robots manipulation that might lead to some real sabotage in in various systems.
Um, and again, a lot of these robots that will be out in society and there will be forced to work with compulsory in a compulsory way. The robot at the at the mall, the robot that we deal with, um, as a as a, uh, a part of the police force and all that. All of this will, you know, is is is bringing out is eliciting this rage against robots.
OK, that's at the one end our rage toward it. It might be reflecting back some of that rage.
OK, uh, and I don't mean to blame the victim blaming here, and we can Oh, God, we can We can get to hold discussions here. But if those those robots could reflect some of that rage back as well as be quirky in their own ways and very dangerous to work with, Which is why I want everybody to read my book. I'll do anything today. I'll read it to you.
I'm telling the people out there listening, uh, just call me up. I'll read it to you.
Um, because II I know that there is a lot of the dark side out there, uh uh, about robots and and and all of that. And unless we understand that we, uh, will always be a little afraid. They'll it will always be a little creepy to us. And we think all the the computer technology just the the, uh, programmers are gonna solve this. The researchers, they're gonna solve this issue for us.
All they're gonna do is is figure out Oh, paint a pink, give them a different name, uh, make them taller or smaller or whatever, and and people will love them.
Uh, we need to be very wary of the robots we're working with for the sake of our lives.
Uh, in a in a machine plant.
Of course, people could die immediately. That's why I dedicated my book to the poor people who have already died along those lines. If we're driving uh uh uh uh, an autonomous vehicle. I was gonna say tesla, but there are some lower levels of Teslas that don't completely drive themselves.
But, you know, a car that drives itself.
Uh, we've got we've got all sorts of of things that can happen along those lines.
We need to keep our an our own animal instincts together and realise, OK, this robot didn't understand the safe word, OK?
And keep that in the back of our heads at all times, just as we do with our dogs.
I mean, anybody who's had a, uh, a German shepherd knows that that German shepherd has some point at which you can't push him.
You know, the German shepherds looking at you every once in a while and saying You could be my lunch and we we know that we have. We've had worked out that relationship with dogs over centuries, as Wolf was saying over centuries, we got this legacy.
We're going to have to start working on that legacy in terms of robots as well and in in in bedroom context and sexual context of all sorts as well as personal context.
The movie A I, Steven Spielberg 2001 comes to mind because, uh oh, that movie was so hard to watch how how they just trashed the robots and all that the human anger and angst and and and our more animalistic instincts came out. And one of the things that I was thinking about you mentioned them in the bedroom.
Are there gonna be things that happen in the bedroom?
Are there gonna be things that happen because of a marriage or relationship that sparks that off?
And just one example.
Um, Stefani, you've told me about this, right?
Like a couple finds out that, um, there are toys involved.
And now the man gets jealous of the toy or why?
You know, I can't, you know, last that long, or run that hard or make her feel what the toy feels.
Um, and that's just that's just a simple sex tech toy. Extrapolate that out to a fully functioning, uh, human do. Do we have some concerns, or do you see some concerns already that come from the perception of a robot basically outclassing a human in certain capabilities, Definitely in the capabilities. I love that word outclassing. And that's actually a technical term in the robot world. Brought up very early by somebody called Moravec.
OK, Hans Moravec brought the the concept up and I developed it in some of my essays.
Yeah, exactly. The the whole notion of and classic us in so many different ways out classing us intellectually out and sexually and all of that, and certainly physically in terms of how much, uh, material can be lifted. And all that, uh, by a robot that's stacking boxes in an Amazon warehouse. We're worried about our jobs. We're worried about our our futures, our sexual futures, our our personal futures and all that.
Our intellectual statuses. When we can buy, uh, you can go to to, uh I was about to say RadioShack best buy and and buy a toy of chess machine that can probably beat anybody in our family. That might not beat the the highest chess master, but certainly somebody, uh, a machine that can that can best us in in in games.
Um, there are so many problematic dimensions of that of that outclassing that we're going to be dealing with and and worries, um, that will work themselves out in in what we're doing. I just want to mention some of the movies.
Uh, since I promised to end with movies and give everybody something to do after this podcast, there's a There's a movie TIM that goes exactly to this notion.
Uh, TIM TT period, I period M period. Technologically integrated man servant, uh, is the is the, uh uh the way the acronym works out.
And this, uh, movie gets into some of those jealousy notions.
Uh, it starts with the robot getting jealous, though, I But there are other jealousy notions that can work out. Worked out as the the man servant gets integrated into a marriage and the the the ending is not is not happy.
Ok, uh, there's also the movie wife like, which is available really widely on Hulu and, uh, you know, you could probably get almost anywhere else for a for a pittance on on the internet.
Uh, which gets into this notion of the, um, the afterlife. As I was talking at the very beginning, I'm old. If something would happen to my partner, there's not gonna be a number two husband out there for me.
Uh, I would like to remember my partner the way, Um uh, I experienced him for so many years and all that, uh, the the movie talks about a a corporation that builds these robots and some of the problems that can come into play when those robots indeed, um, reflect, uh, as closely as possible the characteristics of that dead loved one.
And this is that theme is being reflected in a lot of thinking.
uh, computer related thinking as we, uh, as as many, uh, very rich scientists. I'm talking, uh, Elon musk category and all that, uh, are talking about ways to take their brains somehow download them into into a IS et cetera.
Uh, perhaps if if, uh, my, uh, husband, uh uh, lives long enough, we could just download him into a into a robot. And he can be 100% cyborg along those lines except for his mental capabilities. But a lot of that is is is really down really down. Uh uh.
The path, Uh, in terms of technological development, Another movie. I would like to make sure every lonely gal sees this movie. Anybody who's ever been lonely, Uh, it's I'm your man. A German movie.
Uh um, uh, put together by Maria Schrader who, uh, came up with an amazing plot where a woman is, uh, given, uh, to to to test a robot that fulfilled her every desire programme to to just go out and and fulfil everything that she'd ever wanted. An amazingly handsome robot, too. And the the the the way that she felt that she didn't deserve it. She didn't deserve this.
and she she was trying to give away, you know, shake this guy, uh, this robot because she didn't deserve it.
And I, I think that that's one of the reactions that a lot of us will have. Do I deserve this robot that's fulfilling my every need and all of that, uh, I need to earn I need to earn the sexuality that I receive and the kindness that I receive from other people.
Uh, that that that's just granted to us by this, this ultra beautiful robot.
Um uh, and, of course, the ending. One of the reasons why I like to bring up the I'm your man movie. It actually has a happy ending. A lot of robot movies don't have happy endings like Megan, where the robot starts going crazy and all that, and, uh um T I am, of course, as another one where the the the endings are not good. So I want happy ending.
Uh, robot, uh, movies, Uh, by by, uh, any any means possible.
So again, um, all these ideas are slipping into our culture when you can go to a, uh, a regular newspaper and find an article that that that says sex robots should should, uh, uh, production because they're terrible. And I have a reasonable discussion with the letter.
You know, the person who wrote the letter, that letter and and in in an opinion piece and all that that's moving our society pretty quickly into a world where we will have, uh, robots play substantial roles, whether or not it is indeed the case that we have them as full blown marriage partners, that's that remains to be seen.
But I think we're We're moving toward the point at which we can integrate, uh, these these entities into our lives more fully and give them more value. So lots lots to be considered there. Uh 01 another One more useful movie.
Uh, because I know there's so many people that are also interested in space. Can you imagine going up to space and and not having, um, a companion, that is, that is yours.
Uh uh, it compatible with yourself for purposes of sexuality or just companionship.
Uh, there's a movie that deals with this. It's called foe FOE. A strange name and the the fact that it was put together last year and maybe didn't get the box office numbers that it should, Uh, maybe that's part of it. But this is about a robot that is designed to take the place of a missing individual in a family.
Uh, who, uh, you know, the the man is going up to space, and the robot is designed to to make sure the wife is lonely.
Uh, but there's a lot of discussion. It's a two hour film. And there's a lot of discussion on on, uh, what the the man will have available to him in space as well as we deal with, uh, the possibility of these long space missions to Mars and and one would hope other worlds.
Uh, what kinds of, uh, sexuality can we perhaps gain from, uh uh And I would hope be enhanced by, uh, through our interactions with, uh, these intelligent and possibly uh conscious machines were moving toward the era where, uh, the idea of machine consciousness isn't just a joke. It isn't just a philos. Just a philosophical, uh, notion.
Um, it's something that, uh, we we might need to consider in very serious terms as we deal with robot, right and and other issues so many of which you've discussed, uh, and, uh, people can find as, uh in your other, uh, podcast. Stefani.
You know what we're doing?
Hey, you know what's coming up so much?
Sci fi. So much sci fi.
Where where's the historical romance, Guys, why are there never any romance?
Wait, no doctor who?
Never mind. I'm covered.
Well, uh, Margaret Atwood wrote a story about a robot marriage type of, uh, situation.
Uh, there's a lot of great science fiction I I There's a lot in my book. It's it's all listed along with all the academic stuff.
Uh, but I hope to come up with something that's a little less formal.
Uh, that will be a guide to these issues for people who would like to do a little bit of exploring. I did a lot of exploring during the, uh, pandemic, which is why the book came out so dark.
Uh, we had a family member die and all of that, and I thought, Well, what would I give the world?
Well, if I could give the world a book that would outline some of these issues and maybe it could be a comfort to somebody who was working third shift.
You know, late nights with a with a robot was scared by that robot, Uh, some comfort that other people were scared, too.
Uh, that's why I I wrote that particular book, and I I'm hoping that, uh, that people might find it a way to sort out some of these issues. I have no answers.
I know that Stefani likes it When?
When people say I don't know.
Uh, And, uh, where things are headed, I don't really know. But I'm sticking with that 2050.
Uh, the prediction. I I'm still thinking that, Yeah, we could have, uh, some type of, uh uh, formal marriage, uh, between, uh, some certificate blessing or something like that between now and 2050. So stay tuned. 2050 sounds so far away. And yet 2024 sounded so far away just a couple of years ago. So right around the corner.
Um, I know we've got just a couple more minutes to, and I just one final question I had for you. If we If we think about that world in 2050 what are some of the things that you're hoping people are researching now people are thinking about now people are are giving thought to in the legal sense.
Now, to get ready for that, I would love, and I guess we discussed it. Wolf and I discussed right before the show for people to do research on on the Children's aspect of all of this child robots, child sex spots.
Uh, there's so much research that needs to be done. I'm I'm too old to hire the the teams of attorneys or work with with the, um uh, agencies.
Uh, that would be able to to do that type of research, but it's it's so needed. And we'll learn so much about these issues through that.
But again, putting all of that aside, um, and you know, again, I'm I'm praying that somebody who listens to to this broadcast or read reads my book, uh, can can, uh, uh, uh, you know, have the resources needed, uh, to do research in that area.
Uh, but again, I'm hoping that the kind of research that's done on marriage with robots, um and and and robots in general gets past this this really simplistic idea.
Uh, that, uh, many social robot researchers have that that's possibly pushed on us because we have to do peer-reviewed articles that have to be perfectly, uh, designed.
Uh, and, uh, you know, have a clear, um, R square and all of that.
You know, just just, uh, have all that, Uh um all the statistics in the right places, we need people to understand the feelings involved.
And, uh, all those issues amazing issues that Stefani brought up that were so important.
Uh, how does dealing with a robot, uh, in a personal way, uh, enhance or or drain us?
Um, so many case studies interviews.
Um, uh, ways for us to reflect through narrative through the years, too.
I mean, it's not a one shot deal. Where you you, uh, uh uh, uh, get a AAA with a with a robot, and then then drop it. We're talking about something that will affect us over a period of time. We need those chronological studies.
Uh, and we need one more. Yeah.
Oh, I got I've got Do I do I get the three wishes here?
Um, I've got one more. We're all thinking about what it is to be older and the cognitive capacities I know for example, My, uh, lovely aunt Lil. I would bring her toy robots, and I would think, Oh, this is wonderful. She loves these.
I found out after she died by one of her caretakers that she was scared by, uh, by those robots, something she never told me because her niece developed robots and AI and all that. But of course, she When she was left to her own devices in her little her little room in the nursing home, uh, she hid these away until I would come.
You know, we have the assumptions about how old people think. We need to do research and do a lot of thinking a lot of talking because all of you folks are gonna get old and you'll be lucky to be cyborg someday.
You know, I'm I'm looking forward to the day I'm a cyborg, and, uh, I'll I hope to be back in the show in 40-50 years and tell you all about it. And I really think that that's where we're heading. We're starting out with robot marriage. By the time everybody listening to this episode is in our eighties, odds are we are all going to be some form of cyborg.
So you know, we often say the personal is political or the political is personal, but in this case, you know that's true for the science, too. We even people like me who are generally robot sceptics need to recognise that this is now a part of our life, a part of our reality, and it's going to probably be end up being a part of our identities, especially as we age.
Jo Ann, thank you so much for being here with us today. I have so enjoyed this conversation and you know everybody listening. Thank you so much for tuning into Securing Sexuality. Your source for the information you need to protect yourselves and your relationships. Securing Sexuality is brought to you by the Bound Together Foundation a 501 C three nonprofit in the Betterment of the cloud.
We're here to help you navigate safe sex and digitally Be sure to check out our website SecuringSexuality.com for links to more information about everything we've discussed here today, as well as our live events and all those movies. And please join us again for more fascinating conversations about the intersection of sexuality and technology. Have a great week