20 votes

What do you think about "robot affection"?

After watching this and this, and dealing with the cringe and shock, I wondered about whether these things, including this but also stuff like sex robots or other robots whose purpose is some sort of affection, will ever take off. I know the phenomenon where in Japan adult males date handheld gameboy-like computers (wut?), but apart from that, I'm not sure anybody will prefer these stuff instead of the real thing. It also feels deeply weird, bizarre and cringy. What do you think of these tech?

23 comments

  1. [11]
    Bullmaestro
    Link
    In regards to sex robots specifically, I think there's a big market for them, especially when a lot of men can't get the real thing. Put it this way, in America young men are having far less sex...

    In regards to sex robots specifically, I think there's a big market for them, especially when a lot of men can't get the real thing.

    Put it this way, in America young men are having far less sex than women, with 28% of males between 18 and 30 reporting having had no sex in 2018. In addition, 27% of young men have not had sex with a woman since turning 18. That is over a quarter of young men who are either virgins or exclusively homosexual (The poll does nothing to account for gay men, which could skew the results a lot.)

    Britain's facing a similar trend with 1 in 8 young adults remaining virgins by the time they reach 26. Japan meanwhile is facing an even bigger crisis, which may be more exclusive to its own economic and societal woes.

    There's been a lot of debate as to why this is. It could be the stresses of working in an increasingly oppressive corporate environment where workers rights and job security is being eroded, it could be economic woes, it could be the decline in people getting married, it could be that male testosterone levels are dropping by as much as 1% per year, it could be that women rate 80% of guys as below average attractiveness, which is something that Okcupid found when analysing their own user data.

    I actually think that experts are right in predicting that sex robots could soon replace actual couples. If trends keep going the way they are while the technology reaches the point where these robots can behave and move like an actual human, we'll soon reach a point of no return.

    15 votes
    1. unknown user
      Link Parent
      I want to speculate here (and to make clear I'm doing so, IDK what I'm talking about): might it be a transitory period in between a largely patriarchal world where people married early on and men...

      I want to speculate here (and to make clear I'm doing so, IDK what I'm talking about): might it be a transitory period in between a largely patriarchal world where people married early on and men never needed to really be attractive & women never do much to be attractive towards a more egalitarian world where every party has more choice and as women get more independent both actually and subconsciously (think tradition) they'll look less for the prince on the white horse or the guy with the suit and wallet.

      Even the language has something to say here: women are beautiful and men are handsome, which is not really equivalent in its semantic sense.

      8 votes
    2. [3]
      Octofox
      Link Parent
      Its interesting that however horrible incel communities are, their arguments and problems are actually grounded largely in facts. If you take a look at the selfies from these groups, many of them...

      Its interesting that however horrible incel communities are, their arguments and problems are actually grounded largely in facts. If you take a look at the selfies from these groups, many of them are less than average attractiveness or average and given that the stats say that bellow the 20th percentile is perceived as ugly these people really had very little chance even if they did have desirable personalities since they would be swiped away before even having a chance to show their personality.

      I wonder what kind of role robots could have here. My speculation is they won't be anywhere near the level of a real person to person interaction but they very well could be much better than being totally alone which it seems a lot of people have to face now.

      Maybe instead of building sex robots we should try and work out how to solve the actual problem but I don't have any idea where to even start where as building sex robots and AI is almost a solved problem already.

      8 votes
      1. Bullmaestro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        The same goes for the MGTOW and Red Pill communities. Their arguments seem to be based quite a bit around an interpretation of evolutionary psychology, or the notion that men and women are the way...

        Its interesting that however horrible incel communities are, their arguments and problems are actually grounded largely in facts.

        The same goes for the MGTOW and Red Pill communities. Their arguments seem to be based quite a bit around an interpretation of evolutionary psychology, or the notion that men and women are the way they are because evolution is a slow process. The brain has had relatively little time to evolve around modern life compared to the life of a hunter/gatherer that not just homo sapiens but simians in general have been living for millions of years.

        The difference is how these communities cope with the arguments and problems they're presented with. MGTOW refuse to date and focus on themselves, Red Pillers study seduction strategies from pick up artists in an attempt to adapt, while incels are the ones who have really gone off on the deep end and internalised all the resentment they've felt for a gender that has constantly rejected them.

        I think the problem is that society has spent too much time demonising these people instead of looking at why they're frustrated. We live in a society where men have to really struggle to date and have sex while ladies can go so far as to exploit male desperation and sell their own used panties, nude photos, affection (which is exactly what girlfriend experience is), or even dirty bathwater online. There is clearly an imbalance that needs to be addressed.

        8 votes
      2. jgb
        Link Parent
        Incels get a lot of things seriously wrong, but in the stopped clock sense they might have hit upon a few truths. Dropping testosterone and sperm count levels should be viewed as seriously...

        Incels get a lot of things seriously wrong, but in the stopped clock sense they might have hit upon a few truths. Dropping testosterone and sperm count levels should be viewed as seriously concerning (possibly even existential) problems facing humanity. Equally, I think that (now famous) OK Cupid blog post is a sobering and perhaps more accurate than we would like to admit reflection of how the dice are loaded in the dating world.

        3 votes
    3. [3]
      Empusa
      Link Parent
      I think this is a really interesting problem to consider. We seem to be getting more and more isolated as individuals and I don't think there's one simple explanation for why. I think there's many...

      I think this is a really interesting problem to consider. We seem to be getting more and more isolated as individuals and I don't think there's one simple explanation for why. I think there's many factors driving it from working longer hours to turning to people turning to the internet for companionship and much more.

      I wanted to comment on though on your mention of the Okcupid finding that women rate 80% of men as unattractive. I think that's a perfectly valid point to raise, there are definitely difficulties men face finding connections online. But I don't feel that finding translates to real life.

      With dating profiles you have very little idea of the person you're viewing and you're basing your entire judgement off of essentially a few pictures. I think this puts a lot more focus on looks than you would have offline, where there's much more to base your judgements on. I think in addition to that in online dating women tend to receive far more matches than men, forcing them to either be pickier when matching with people or just not respond to a lot of their matches. Of course that just leads back to the same issue of the difficulties men face finding a partner, but I think it's one that is only exacerbated online.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        Bullmaestro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        The funny thing is that Okcupid used to be a good dating site, at least until they kept changing their site for the worse in reaction to Tinder gaining market share. The site now resembles a...

        The funny thing is that Okcupid used to be a good dating site, at least until they kept changing their site for the worse in reaction to Tinder gaining market share. The site now resembles a second rate Tinder clone which nobody uses anymore.

        Some of the things they did include: changing QuickMatch from rating users out of 5 stars to a simple like/dislike system, requiring users to mutually like each other before they can message, forcing users to post under their real name rather than an alias or username, bad advertising, etc.

        I wanted to comment on though on your mention of the Okcupid finding that women rate 80% of men as unattractive. I think that's a perfectly valid point to raise, there are definitely difficulties men face finding connections online. But I don't feel that finding translates to real life.

        When it comes to online dating, it's not about personality at all.

        That same site did a "Love Is Blind Day" as a promotion for their short-lived blind dating app. During the day where they disabled photos entirely, people had a lot more meaningful conversations. Many of these conversations dropped off when the lights were turned on the next day and people discovered who they were talking to. As Christian Rudder concluded: “people are exactly as shallow as their technology allows them to be.” Their other earlier findings showed that words only affected someone's ratings by as much as 10%.

        This seemed congruent with later 'chadfishing' experiments on Tinder, where people would pretend to be incredibly attractive men (think male models, jocks, etc) and get swarmed by women matching them. It first started on the Bodybuilding.com forums until more extreme and offensive examples called 'atomic blackpills' surfaced on the incel subreddits which tried to push the narrative further. It eventually gave rise to the (now banned) r/chadfish subreddit.

        4 votes
        1. Empusa
          Link Parent
          I think that's a big flaw in online dating, like you say it isn't about personality at all. Instead, it's incentivizes people, women I think in particular, to be incredibly shallow and plays into...

          I think that's a big flaw in online dating, like you say it isn't about personality at all. Instead, it's incentivizes people, women I think in particular, to be incredibly shallow and plays into the insecurities of everyone. I'm not saying looks don't factor into attraction, but to make them the only thing people focus on just sets it up for failure. I don't think this is the only thing to blame for the statistics you mention earlier but with more and more people turning to apps like tinder for relationships I think it definitely contributes.

          4 votes
    4. [3]
      kate
      Link Parent
      Wow, that’s eye opening. I also notice you said men were having less sex than women. If 28% of males 18-30 report having no sex in 2018, what is the percentage of women?

      Wow, that’s eye opening. I also notice you said men were having less sex than women. If 28% of males 18-30 report having no sex in 2018, what is the percentage of women?

      1. [2]
        Bullmaestro
        Link Parent
        The graph I linked to showed the female percentage was 18%, which is a full 10% lower.

        The graph I linked to showed the female percentage was 18%, which is a full 10% lower.

        1 vote
        1. kate
          Link Parent
          Thanks, must have missed the link. I’ll check it out.

          Thanks, must have missed the link. I’ll check it out.

          1 vote
  2. [2]
    CALICO
    Link
    I think it's a fascinating display of human empathic capability. See also, this post. We empathize with animals on the daily, the fact we can empathize with synthetic constructs that mimic living...

    I think it's a fascinating display of human empathic capability. See also, this post.

    We empathize with animals on the daily, the fact we can empathize with synthetic constructs that mimic living response isn't all that surprising to me. Though I welcome it. Assuming our trajectory of improvement keeps on going, we're going to see continually more and more realistic displays of sentience among robots. Especially as and when they grow to look and act more lifelike. A relationship of symbiosis is preferable to discord. It does raise interesting questions of isolation in certain contexts, and some people will for-sure find greater relationships with robots than they may otherwise with people. How much of an issue that will turn out to be depends, I think, largely on how many people it happens to and what emergent effects on society come about through it. When it comes to isolated individuals such as the hikikimori phenomenon in Japan, I suppose there's an argument to be made that it could be beneficial to such individuals. They'd be receiving a higher level of sociability than they currently are, which surely would be a positive change for their mental states. On a macro-level I'm not overly concerned about it, but I'm not sure I can articulate why.

    11 votes
    1. unknown user
      Link Parent
      One vague question in my mind is about consent, agency of loved ones, and how these stuff train people w.r.t. these concepts: with these robots, consent is bought, affection is bought, and the...

      One vague question in my mind is about consent, agency of loved ones, and how these stuff train people w.r.t. these concepts: with these robots, consent is bought, affection is bought, and the things don't have agency. If these ever become widespread, would they make it harder to teach kids how they should react to a "no" or other negative situations in affectionate relationships with other humans? If they grow up with a doggo that never disobeys and never disappoints, how will they react to an actual dog that never bothers to sit when you tell it to or pulls on the leash incessantly when you take it for a walk? When you look a kid react to a cat, for example when it does not want to be petted and hisses or jumps away, tells a lot about how the kid is raised. If they are pampered and never taught empathy, they become upset or even attack the animal. If they are raised well and taught empathy, they don't care or even laugh at it. When affection and consent is something to be bought, something sitting on the shelves in a supermarket, how will they react?

      11 votes
  3. [2]
    Dovey
    Link
    Funny, I just came from watching Sharmander's latest video featuring a robot-ish cat pillow with lashing tail that responds to stroking. My mother, age 85 and still living on her own, has said the...

    Funny, I just came from watching Sharmander's latest video featuring a robot-ish cat pillow with lashing tail that responds to stroking. My mother, age 85 and still living on her own, has said the cat she has now will be her last. She really enjoys the companionship of her furry friend, and I can see getting her something like this in the future when her cat is gone but she still wants a "pet."

    6 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      Agreed. One of the difficulties of aging is that pets become much harder--eventually nearly impossible--to adequately care for. Everyday tasks like bending over to put down a water bowl or scoop...

      Agreed. One of the difficulties of aging is that pets become much harder--eventually nearly impossible--to adequately care for. Everyday tasks like bending over to put down a water bowl or scoop up poop, for example, become difficult or outright risky. A robotic "pet" that offers companionship without an added care burden could go a long way towards mitigating loneliness in elderly individuals.

      6 votes
  4. [2]
    nsz
    Link
    I see this robot as a child's toy, and well kids toys have been simulating pets for years. Tamagotchi, and later plenty of video games, I remember playing an aquarium game on my parents...

    I see this robot as a child's toy, and well kids toys have been simulating pets for years. Tamagotchi, and later plenty of video games, I remember playing an aquarium game on my parents palm-pallet.

    This is just the next step, but only for people with more money then sense. Had those Tamagotchi been released 30-40 years earlier, they would have been stupid expensive and by necessity half marketed toward technophile adults with the money spend.

    That said it is a bit weird seeing dudes in there 30s-40s fawning over a kids toy like that, but imo, it came of forced, probably says more about the yt review style.

    Sexbot, well are a whole other can of weird lookin' worms.

    5 votes
    1. unknown user
      Link Parent
      The shouting youtuber phenomenon by Coffee Break talks about this. It is a trend among youtubers to yell and scream with a fabricated excitement b/c it drives views. It is crazy annoying these...

      That said it is a bit weird seeing dudes in there 30s-40s fawning over a kids toy like that, but imo, it came of forced, probably says more about the yt review style.

      The shouting youtuber phenomenon by Coffee Break talks about this. It is a trend among youtubers to yell and scream with a fabricated excitement b/c it drives views. It is crazy annoying these rubber-duck youtubers.

      8 votes
  5. HanakoIsBestGirl
    Link
    Sex robots could have potentially disastrous privacy implications for those that use them. And if there is an internet connection, there is a chance of unauthorised access to them as well. Which...

    Sex robots could have potentially disastrous privacy implications for those that use them. And if there is an internet connection, there is a chance of unauthorised access to them as well. Which could potentially end badly, possibly even physically.

    5 votes
  6. ainar-g
    Link
    This is an inevitable product of the disconnection in modern society. It will take off and not touch down until it is replaced by a better piece of tech.

    This is an inevitable product of the disconnection in modern society. It will take off and not touch down until it is replaced by a better piece of tech.

    4 votes
  7. Loire
    Link
    It's a symptom of the disconnect many people are feeling from their fellow humans, the anxiety they experience when faced with human interaction and an easy way out, further reinforcing that...

    It's a symptom of the disconnect many people are feeling from their fellow humans, the anxiety they experience when faced with human interaction and an easy way out, further reinforcing that anxiety by allowing these people to avoid difficult social situations.

    Add it to the list of things we as a society need to solve. In the meantime. Sex robots.

    3 votes
  8. ubergeek
    Link
    Honestly, I feel this is just natural selection at work. Humans are causing an enormous imbalance in the ecosystem of the planet. I cannot recall where right now (I suppose I could google), but...

    Honestly, I feel this is just natural selection at work.

    Humans are causing an enormous imbalance in the ecosystem of the planet. I cannot recall where right now (I suppose I could google), but historically, even in animal populations, when the population becomes too large, mechanisms such as homosexuality start to become more common.

    I feel the same is at play here, since we're just animals at our core. Nature is trying to put the brakes on our reproduction.

    So, the robot affection is (as Calico stated) just an extension of that, and shows our ability to anthopmorphize pretty much anything, and then extend affection/care/concern to it.

  9. mrbig
    Link
    We might feel love for robots, but robots cannot feel affection for us since there’s no intentionality there. So it’s kinda sad.

    We might feel love for robots, but robots cannot feel affection for us since there’s no intentionality there. So it’s kinda sad.

  10. DevNull
    Link
    What do I think? I think my robot is a tremendous slacker and under-achiever and that I should upgrade right away!!!

    What do I think? I think my robot is a tremendous slacker and under-achiever and that I should upgrade right away!!!