Sex with robots is becoming a thing about 50 years too late as far as I'm concerned! JK, this is a terrifying and confusing reality.
Dr. Helen Driscoll, a senior researcher and lecturer for University of Sunderland's Psychology Department who lists herself as an expert on the psychology of relationships, sex and sexuality, makes an interesting and hard-to-argue point in a recent article for Huffington Post.
She claims as technology moves forward, especially in regards to advances in artificial intelligence and “sex tech,” having sex with robots could become a totally normal activity in the future.
Dr. Driscoll thinks so-called “Robophilia” may be frowned upon nowadays, but only because we think of it as an incredibly foreign concept.
As a society, we have made major advances over the past 100 years in what we consider to be appropriate within the realm of sex.
There is really no evidence to suggest humans won't take robo-lovin' off the sexual taboo list at some point.
Dr. Driscoll thinks that point could come in as soon as 50 years.
She points out,
As virtual reality becomes more realistic and immersive and is able to mimic and even improve on the experience of sex with a human partner; it is conceivable that some will choose this in preference to sex with a less than perfect human being.
The case of Scarlett Johansson's voice in “Her” is brought up as a potential scenario for how we eventually might completely stop loving humans.
If humans eventually get to a point where operating systems can be tailored to fit exactly what we are looking for in partners, what's stopping us from finding romantic connections in them?
Furthermore, what's stopping us from finding deeper connections in them than with other imperfect humans?
Not that I'm shaming humans. I would never human shame. I'm proud of how I'm a human, and we should all embrace that.
You may argue it would be a one-sided relationship, but if a robot is built, and its objective is to grow, learn and adapt, how can you claim the computer may not figure out how to love?
This whole discussion is intense and kind of scary, but it is something we will probably have to deal with in the future.
Having the ability to essentially build a suitable mate has an incredible amount of benefits, Dr. Driscoll points out, saying,
We should also remember that there are already many people living alone, people who perhaps have not been able to find a partner, or have lost a partner. Virtual sexual partners may provide significant psychological benefits for them -- after all a virtual partner is surely better than no partner at all.
But for those in relationships, she predicts problems. She writes,
Most people successfully integrate other forms of virtual reality into their lives, but virtual sex -- not to mention love -- will be seen by some as infidelity, and this will present real challenges to some relationships.
Society has already started to shift toward this reality. Dr. Driscoll says there is an increasing amount of people choosing to live their lives inside of virtual realities.
The article cites cases of Japanese men taking their virtual girlfriend apps with them on vacations.
Dr. Driscoll ends her article by saying she believes we could one day choose to love robots over fellow human beings, but won't be negatively affected "if we are not able to tell the difference."
Good luck sleeping tonight.