A Must-Have Robot

I have often heard people say that robots will prove immensely useful in performing household tasks, but I have had a hard time understanding how.

I have also wondered why so much scientific effort goes into making robots look like humans. It is not easy to design robots that walk on two legs, for instance.

But after reading this interview with author David Levy, I finally understand the answer to both of these questions.

The book that tells the full story is here.

See also his visit with Stephen Colbert.

(Hat tip to Spectre)


adrian

From "That Hideous Strength" by C.S. Lewis: "On this side, the womb is barren and the marriages cold. There dwell an accursed people, full of pride and lust. There when a young man takes a maiden in marriage, the do not lie together, but each lies with a cunningly fashioned image of the other, made to move and to be warm ... for real flesh will not please them, they are so dainty...in their dreams of lust. Their real children they fabricate by vile arts in a secret place."

"..for real flesh will not please them..."

I'm just saying...

AaronS

On a Christian forum, the question arose as to whether "sex" with a robot (or in that case, an anatomically-correct doll) was actually adultery/fornication--whether it was sin at all (at least any more than masturbation (which is, less and less, considered a sin in Christian circles, since we finally figured out that every boy going to do it anyway--apparently could not HELP doing it).

I was surprised by the responses!. The point was made that "sex dolls" were, really, no more than an elaborate "sex toy" And unless we were going to declare that it was sinful for a men and woman to use a sex aids (vibrators, lingerie, lotions, the works), then did we have any right to call a sex doll sinful?

Eventually, the conclusion was drawn that IF I knew what went on in your bedroom (or you knew what went on in mine), we would both likely think the other was "extreme" if they did anything we didn't. And so, so long as I don't know that you are romancing the latest model of some sex doll manufacturer, all is well. But if I ever find out...well, it would be very difficult for you to be my pastor! Ha!

Which brings us back to why gentlemen and ladies do not discuss what goes on behind closed doors--you're sure to offend someone's sensibilities.

So I imagine that robots of the future will be, um, multi-functional. That way, you can tell everyone that you bought the robot to wash the car, clean the house, take out the garbage, etc. And then, in the privacy of the bedroom, you can press the "sex machine" button, and viola!

Read more...

Lyn LeJjeune

How a Robot Saved My Marriage:

My husband and I had been in therapy for three years without much change in our relationship. Then last evening the UPS truck arrived with a big package just for me. I love, love those UPS guys (has anyone ever seen a UPS gal?). Anyway, I hadn't ordered anything, so you bet I was excited.
I nearly attacked the box, since I'm pretty frustrated as my hubby was due home any minute and all I had to look forward to was another night of arguing and no sex. Well, dang and thank the good lord I am now the proud owner of a nifty robot by the name of Lancet. He is a gift from my husband.
Lancet is fully equipped - I mean FULLY EQUIPPED - IF YOU GET MY DRIFT. He also does the housework- one of the main problems Gerald and I had (Gerald, lame name don't you think?) Lancet is also programmed to discuss any subject from foreign policy and the economy (with the press of the purple button he can change parties and argue on the opposite side of the aisle)to couples therapy with demonstrations (Lancet is unisexed). Gerald
says that by using Lancet instead of Doctor Smythe we will save enough to pay for Lancet and perhaps even buy the nifty Brianna model. I'm happy for the first time in three years. Oh, and Lancet said that he is going to teach me to speak like an adult because if he hears the word "nifty" come out of my mouth one more time I'm going to drive him straight into the arms of his robot therapist Em.C. Einstein. Thankyou technology!

Lyn LeJeune- Rebuilding the Public Libraries of New Orleans, "And All May Not Be Well, And All May Not Be Well, And All Manner of Things May Not Be Well," channeling Ignatius J. Reilly at www.beatitudesinneworleans.blogspot.com.

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John

Autoclaving costs for the robot cathouse gals would kill ya.

misterb

You might be surprised at how many people would rather have a robot that did the housework.

Michael

One of the reasons to design robots that look like humans is because you want them to operate in the human world.

If I want a robot to go from my office to the coffee room and bring me a coffee it needs to be able to grasp and twist door handles, descend some stairs, sense and avoid obstacles (like people in the hallways), reach around to do complicated operations like washing my cup, refilling the coffee machine, watching to see when the coffee machine is done, then taking the coffee and navigating back to my office, opening doors, entering security codes for doors, and going up stairs, all while keeping my coffee from spilling.

In a designed-for-humans world, having a human form makes a lot of sense.

Just my $0.02

David

Seems like Isaac Asimov already covered that in both a short story and one of his novels.

James

A bizarre but interesting interview. While I agree that they are an inevitable invention, I can not quite see sexbots as the main stream wave of the future that Levy does. I think someone who owns one will be viewed like we view someone today who admits to owning a blow up doll.
My prediction: sexbots will become the new cheap hookers. Think about it. A "pimp" could get a loan to buy four or five and charge less than real ladies because he does not need to pay them. And that would bring up some interesting legal questions about whether or not it is illegal prostitution.

Nile

Warren Ellis has rewritten Asimov's three laws of robotics:

http://www.warrenellis.com/?p=5426

It covers the oh-so-important issue of sexualising robots and I would encourage all would-be robopornographers to read it. And do something else instead.

I regret to say that the language is somewhat stronger than that permitted by the editorial policies of The Times, so I will not quote the text here.

FWPH

We're not *all* concerned with humanoid robots. Much of the robotics community would prefer that mobile robots were not humanoids. And despite its distinct lack of intelligence, the Roomba is a pretty good answer to how they can be useful in household tasks.

Kate

Generally, I am not the kind of woman who bashes men in a big way. I don't make snarky jokes. I really love my husband. I have male friends.

But, excuse me, who but a man would focus an entire book on the future of sex with robots?

If I had a robot that could take care of my laundry and dishes and dusting and the dog doo in the yard I'd have time and energy for sex with my actual factual husband.

Folks, robotics needs to be focused on the ability to sort, fold, iron, hang, and put away laundry. The women of the world will be much happier and much more interested in sex!

Andy

@adrian:
I've been sort of meaning to read that, and now my interest is piqued. For a more current cultural reference of the same idea...

Don't Date Robots!
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7714940296885574087

Lewis

I feel obliged to point out that while most robots are fine, hardworking types, there will always be a small subset, just a few bad actors, that will seek to search and destroy Sarah Conner in order to protect Skynet.

Sex doll enthusiast

"If I had a robot that could take care of my laundry and dishes and dusting and the dog doo in the yard I'd have time and energy for sex with my actual factual husband."
Strange, I never recall men ever using that excuse not to have sex. You're just using sex as a tool to make men do all the work