Could Fembots Replace Women?

One day, when my boyfriend and I were first dating, I asked him if he’d ever consider dating a robot woman.

“She would look and act just like a real woman,” I explained, “She would even be programmed to disagree with you every once in a while, just to keep up the illusion.”

He pondered this for a moment before saying, “Sure, why not?”

“Because she’s NOT real,” I said with no small amount of exasperation.

“But if I couldn’t tell, then why would I care?”

“Because you would KNOW she wasn’t real!”

He shrugged his shoulders as I stared at him, perplexed.

I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea. How could you be satisfied by a relationship with a partner without free will? On some level, you’d have to know they didn’t really care about you.

You couldn’t have won them over with your charm. They can’t accept and love you for who you are, because they don’t have the capacity to “accept” anything. “They” are just a fancy machine that’s been wired to be nice to you.

Completely baffled, I posed this question to a group of people when I was visiting friends at a local pub. All of the women present were horrified by the notion. Some of the guys said no, but some thought it was a reasonable idea.

Since having this conversation, I’ve started noticing the strange fembot trend.

EDI
She even has a suggestive seam

Take video games, for example. In Mass Effect 3, the space ship Normandy’s Artificial Intelligence unit, EDI, is put into a hot robot body that looks like a 1960’s pinup girl, complete with winged eyeliner and suggestive android lingerie. The player gets the option of starting a romance with this character.

There’s a similar character in the just-released Fallout 4. This time it’s Curie, a female Mr. Handy robot with a coquettish French accent who can be put into a synth body that is indistinguishable from a real woman. Again, the player has the option to romance her.

But this concept spreads beyond video games. This past year brought us Ex Machina, a film in which the protagonist falls madly in love with a stunningly beautiful, extremely realistic-looking android (brilliant film, by the way).

fallout_4_curie_romance_640x36018
You can even dress Curie to your tastes

And lately, the Men’s Rights Activists have been threatening the female gender with redundancy. I don’t want to give those guys extra hits by providing a link here, but they’re essentially arguing that women need to shape up or else we’re going to be replaced by female androids once the technology improves.

I don’t think that argument is getting them anywhere, however.

Maybe it makes sense to them, but to women, it sounds a lot like “You need to act more subservient, banishing free thought in order to better cater to our whims, or else we’re going to build machines to do it for you.”

Most female responses I’ve heard sound something like, “Go get ’em, Tiger. If all you want is a facsimile of the female body that says and does whatever you want it to, then please do us a favor by removing yourself from the dating pool.”

Some women have also brought up the fact that in an age of realistic android girlfriends, there’s no reason to think there wouldn’t also be realistic android boyfriends.

Which is true, though pondering the idea made me realize that there aren’t any video games or movies where a woman has an android boyfriend.

Or are there? I’m not a huge sci-fi aficionado, so maybe I’m missing something, but I can’t think of a single male robot that has ever been anything but asexual.

I don’t know if that’s because science fiction tends to cater to the male audience, or if women simply don’t fantasize about perfect cyborg boyfriends. Because of, you know, the whole free will requirement.

I guess you could argue that vibrators represent robot boyfriends, but we know exactly what those are for. Women don’t pretend they represent actual relationships or fall in love with them (and definitely wouldn’t make movies about it if they did).

Though it does bring up an interesting idea: say we lived in a world with androids that were indistinguishable from real people, and you’re the kind of person who never gets a date. So one day you break down and buy one of these androids to be your boyfriend/girlfriend…

Do you try to cover it up? Do you pretend it’s a real person, because it would be embarrassing for people to find out your boyfriend or girlfriend was programmed to pretend to like you?

If you dated a real person who seemed out of your league, would everyone be secretly gossiping about how he or she is probably a robot? Would they try applying the Turing test to figure it out?

What about gay men, do they fantasize about robot boyfriends, or is this just a straight male fantasy?

It’s all very puzzling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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24 thoughts on “Could Fembots Replace Women?

      1. The film’s Ex machina and Her definitely make you discuss this topic. When they recently stated that the new robots wouldn’t be sex robots I was alarmed that such a notion would even need discussing. But then you have blow up dolls and men seem to put it in all sorts of things.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haven’t seen Her, but Ex Machina was a great film and it brought up some interesting issues. I’m reluctant to post spoilers, even thought it’s been out for a while, but I love the twist–the idea that if you make a fembot complicated enough, she might end up with free will after all. So now she’s a normal woman except with superpowers and no sentimentality.

        I can understand the “private” use of dolls (creepy as it is) but what gets me is the idea of wanting a relationship with one. So strange.

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      3. Maybe you’d forget they were a robot? But it would take a lot. I can’t imagine that they would have that kind of technology in our life time. You surely only want to be with someone that wanted to be with you by choice not by programming!

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  1. Hey! ….Its horrible to date an unreal person …A no is better than an artificial relationship….
    But you know what I think the guys may be okay with it…Even I have experienced a relation which continued till the time I said everything he wished to listen…at the end I realised it was not even a relation…it was nothing..it was just following orders like a robot you mentioned..Now I don’t recall anything abt that …as it was just artificial and I would never be on page with it again……😞😞😞😞😞

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    1. I know–I find the whole idea nightmarish. Everyone woman I’ve talked to is horrified by the idea of a robot partner. Many of the men are too, but a disturbing number of men seem to think it’s a fine idea.

      It make you wonder how they really see relationships–are we a pack of walking body parts to them? Is it like playing a fun video game and pretending the whole thing is real? It’s one thing in fantasy, but to want to live that way seems so empty

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      1. I agree but you know what…men are less sensitive than us therefore they are just fine with that unreal relationship….I am not saying this abt every man…..but yeah as per my experience…..some of them never put their real feelings in such unreal relationships…
        Like you said it’s like they are having a robot partner…
        But trust me they are fine with it…they are happy they enjoy and when it ends they take it very casually…

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      2. Definitely true of many men. The robot talk spooked me… Seems obvious why it’s a bad idea, but some guys thought it might be an improvement- like a newer model of car.

        Maybe we should ask all prospective boyfriends how they feel about a robot woman. It might save time 🙂

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  2. So, let’s say my lady-bot can cook, clean, mimic sexual activity physically – but lacks the human element, or mimics it to a minor degree. I’d be all over that, and I would laugh at the fools who stigmatized it. But, then, my slavebot would only be a stop-gap until I met a woman who was compatible with me – then it would just be a utility player, and presumably a stand-in for when the woman is being sexually selfish.

    Now, if we’re talking about a fully sentient.. I don’t know the word.. android? An AI that has the “human element?” I wouldn’t necessarily be comfortable with that, since, I presume, I would “own” the android. Which would mean I would “own” a sentient being. But, if the android could choose whether or not to be in a relationship with me, and we were compatible, and I was not it’s “owner”? Why not?

    As to the stigmatization: I honestly don’t care what the majority of people think about anything: they’re almost always wrong about everything, so I don’t care.

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  3. Well for me, the interesting part of the argument is 1) whether men are more interested in slavebot relationships than women are, and 2) whether women should be threatened by this, since MRA’s like threatening us with the idea.

    Most women I’ve talked to are creeped out by the idea, whereas men seem open to it. I don’t really get how a “relationship” with a non-sentient being could be fulfilling, but I’d much rather a guy who wants to be in charge of everything act out his fantasies on a machine than try making actual women subservient.

    Some men threaten women with the idea that we’ll all be replaceable someday, but most women kind of shrug this off… we’d rather hook up with men who want a partner with free will, anyway. It would actually make our lives a bit easier by weeding out our dating pool.

    In terms of an AI so advanced that it practically has free will… well, then you’d end up with the same issues as dating actual women. The fembot fascination seems to involve the idea of “owning” a female, but a fembot with enough free will wouldn’t want to be owned either. Using her as a stand-in for a gap in sexual desire would be the same as cheating, and since she has free will, she wouldn’t necessarily be on board. In fact, since she’s physically perfect and has free will indistinguishable from any human, she’d may not be interested in a relationship anyway–certainly not as a stand-in for whenever your GF doesn’t feel like having sex.

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  4. Some men just can’t connect with real women or they’re too shy around the opposite sex. Some are very lonely and not good at having real or long-lasting relationships. This is why some men long for a synthetic woman, a gynoid or fembot. For them this is the best choice. I don’t see anything at all wrong with this. You’re all thinking in terms of today not the future when technology will make this possible and eventually it won’t be seen as something wrong. For some people, man or woman, whether they buy a female robot or a male robot, it is ultimately the best thing for them and they will never be lonely again.

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    1. Actually, I’ve seen many more comments from men talking about how angry women are about the idea of fembots than any angry comments from actual women.

      I think that women, contrary to popular belief, tend to feel that any guy who would rather have a female object to control than an actual female should go ahead and be happy with a female robot.

      If anything, I think women don’t understand how a man could cure loneliness with a robot, since the robot isn’t a real person.

      Frankly, the more I’ve delved into this, the more obvious the pain both men and women are feeling has become. I don’t know how we’ve all grown apart like this. Women seem to fear men don’t really care about them since they want us replaced, and men seem to feel we don’t care about them, since we reject them.

      Here’s hoping we can all start communicating better in time. In the meantime, I don’t think women are as angry about fembots as many men believe. Just confused.

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      1. feminism(3rd wave) fucked up relationship between the sexes .and as for me i love to have a fembot. And no i don’t want to control anyone.

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      2. I keep hearing about third wave feminism and have yet to figure out exactly what it means. Frankly, I don’t see eye-to-eye with them, because i’m more worried about parental leave and universal health care than writing “don’t objectify me’ on my naked breast in public.

        But sure, have a fembot someday. The whole point of this article was saying I don’t really care if some men would rather have fembots and that it isn’t as big a threat as some MRA’s like to believe it is. Personally, i can’t imagine having a satisfying relationship with someone thing without free will and the capacity for abstract thinking, but to each their own.

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  5. Just make everyone who buys a bot make a sperm/egg donation in case of a population crisis.

    Honestly, a fembot who gets no headaches, won’t lose interest, can’t “oops” you for child-support, won’t reject you, badmouth you behind your back, cheat on you, take your money, or sexually blackmail you?
    Yeah, sadly enough, I can get behind that. Especially when modern American women want to be treated like queens but still respected like other men.

    I am also more than depressed and shy enough to believe that no one will ever love me in real life without condition, so being removed from the gene pool by something other than suicide is good for everyone.

    Women love to say men are insensitive and stupid, but rejection and being made to feel unneeded or unworthy hurts, almost literally (same part of the brain). We just try not to show it until we snap and kill ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Argh, Gordon… as a female writer growing up with all the female conflicts in this world, I typically find myself holding my own for my randomly-assigned team.

      And then occasionally, I come across a comment like yours that leaves me ambivalent.

      For example, on the subject of fembots, I see far more men talking about how much fembots piss off the feminists than i see women who actually seem threatened by them.

      And I hear you talk about women who get headaches or “oops’ you for child support, and instantly want to defend our position, because it isn’t easy to be a woman either and there’s so much counterargument to what you are saying.

      And then I read about how some of you want to kill yourselves because you feel so rejected, and my defenses melt.

      Is it possible we have more in common than other of us realize?

      I mean, men deal with horrible women and women deal with horrible men, but neither of us care about the horrible members of our own gender because we aren’t trying to be truly vulnerable with them? Plus, we know WE aren’t horrible, so we don’t figure that horrible person represents the lot of us.

      I think women feel quite rejected by the idea of fembots, in all honesty. We think fembots men men only want sex parts to control and a definition of womanhood to create, which is apparently even more important than a thinking, feeling human being with enough consciousness to be aware of a relationship.

      We read about how American women are unacceptable, for example, and they’d rather pick up third world women who are trying to leave the country at any cost, and feel dehumanized… as though men would rather have a body part that looks a certain way and plays to their ego than deal with a real woman with independent feelings.

      And it all paints a picture of a dominant man who doesn’t really care about us. Not a lonely man who feels rejected. I don’t know how to respond to someone vulnerable.

      Except wonder if maybe we shouldn’t be on separate teams. I don’t know how we got here. We’re supposed to be a counterpart that naturally attracts each other, but we’ve ended up feeling mutually hurt and rejected and believing each other’s defense mechanisms.

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      1. Well, I don’t really try to ignore my own gender’s flaws as much as others may think. Given something that almost happened to me, I have little tolerance for other men’s cruelty. In my mind, any proven, sane and sobre rapist should be hanged or even surgically emasculated, 8th Amendment or not.

        Yes, we should attract each other as opposites, rather than clash, but there are so many problems with both of us in this fallen world.

        One, (usually men, but not always,) needs more sexual affection and the other (usually gals, but not always,) needs more emotional affirmation.
        These needs are hard-wired, making men “horny swines” and women “whiny and needy.”

        When one ends up witholding what the other wants in exchange for favors. If sexual or emotional support is witheld, affars happen.

        One sees a “flaw” in the other’s character (the girl who loves the “bad boy”) and tries to “fix” or “change” their spouse, which is impossible.

        One likes to spend; the other likes to save. Arguments happen.

        One wants to talk it out when she’s feeling hurt. The other withdraws to his cave to ride out the storm. Communication is either composed of yelling, or simple silence.

        And we constantly, constantly take each other’s bodies, beauty, paychecks, chore-work, cooking, and childcare for granted.

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      2. My father once told me something that stuck with me forever. He said, “women’s biggest mistake is thinking they can change a man and men’s biggest mistake is thinking a woman will never change.”

        He was so right. You get women running after bad boys, as you said, and staying in horrible relationships for years. Then you get men who don’t understand that tackling all the stress and hardships of everyday life means the woman they marry won’t always be the happy, cheerful, dolled-up girl they were dating.

        Mostly, it feels like men and women are on opposite teams these days. I don’t know if it was always like that or not, but it feels like men and women are locked in battle to prove which one is better or worse. Or, they’re arguing that they aren’t different at all.

        I think there are general differences that just don’t apply to everyone. But the whole relationship seems combative, like the grown-up version of playground fights.

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  6. i would consider these androids ,because they can provide care for me.I’m a computer science engineer,and i can promise you if there’s a need for it(in large numbers) then capitalists will see it as an opportunity .And they can make the illusion real.Best example would be westworld (hbo series).But there’s difference between neural networks running a really smart program and an actual machine that is designed to feel pain for the realism .I won’t support the later because it is no different than slavery . And as for why i prefer these machines over actual women ,It’s because
    it’s a long list of bad experiences i had with women.
    Alot of terrible feminist and mra articles i read online (i honestly wish i didn’t,now everytime a woman asks me a favor i feel like i’m being used. If you really want understand why alot of guys hate feminism all you have to do is watch the documentary ‘The Red pill’. And no i don’t want women to be subservient ,my mother is a career woman and i do admire her, though i do hate the fact that she was never there when i needed a shoulder to cry on.But if it wasn’t for her i wouldn’t have gotten into a college .I don’t hate her it’s just that i never had that motherly experience everyone talked about. I don’t want women to be forced into becoming care givers .And i don’t hate women who follow their dreams. In-fact the person i see as a career role model is enya . May be i’m being too emotional here i don’t know honestly )
    Alot of women are more shallow than men when it comes to physical appearance .Alot of times in school and college days i’ve seen this same scenario over and over again Girls chasing good looking guys who have a bad reputation .And couple of times i’ve seen guys proposing girls ,and these girls won’t say a yes or a no they just use them boys to do their errands . After they realize that they don’t have a future with these bad boys they choose guys with good financial conditions .My father was my mother’s second marriage and i’ve seen my sister doing the same thing.Just recently my father was ill ,and it was late night my mother asked for my help and i was there.My father said he was fine and he didn’t want to bother anyone.My mother on the other hand had private conversation with me she said if anything happen to him overnight his sister would be all over her for not taking care of him.I was shocked i know how sincere my father is to her .I’ve seen him heartbroken when she was sick .I wonder sometimes if women are truly capable of loving someone .The stories like mine are not rare ,they happen all the time .I honestly don’t even have any hope of finding genuine love .So yeah a simulation might be the thing that i’m looking for.I don’t want to end up like my father who worked hard but yet ended up living a lie .At least if i can have these androids than i know what i’m walking into.And no i don’t hate my mother some times i feel like she didn’t had a choice.

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    1. I appreciate hearing from you and honestly, I go back an forth on whether to identify with feminism or not. On the one hand, I think women have legitimate gripes and that everyone could use a good advocacy group in the Darwinist nightmare we live in, and on the other, I disagree with many feminists on several issues.

      The main problem, as I see it, with radical feminists and MRA groups both, is that they tend to create a victimization narrative where people get whipped up into a fury about how the other team is hurting them. This kids to feeling as though we have little control over what happens in our own lives and a general sense of powerlessness, which isn’t very helpful.

      I think if we’re being logical and objective, we can see that there are very nasty people on this planet, as well as good ones. Thing is, straight women are vulnerable with men and straight men are vulnerable to women, so we have a higher stake in what the other sex could do to us, plus they are more foreign. So… even though you know there are horrible men in this world, you realize that you aren’t one of them, so you know it isn’t *all* men. But you aren;’t so sure about women.

      The same is true in reverse. Women get hurt by a mean father or a few terrible boyfriends and start to believe that all men are potential monsters.

      I really don’t think either men or women have a monopoly on good or evil. We’re always taking risks with whomever we get close to. I may want certain things in the system to be more fair, for example, but I definitely don’t think all women are good and all men are evil.

      As far as being shallow is concerned… I’d ask you to consider our social expectations. Men are *supposed* to be a bunch of shallow pigs, according to society, so whenever a guy is interested in more than physical appearance, he’s beating the expectations.

      On the other hand, women are *supposed* to be above all that. We know that isn’t true. Some people are very shallow, women included, but I think expecting women to not care about physical appearance sets people up for more disappointment.

      I guess i’m saying I think men and women are more alike than most people believe. There are good ones and bad ones, shallow ones and those with depth. I don’t think we should be enemies, but there’s a tendency to want to know who to trust and who to be careful around… I don’t think life is quite that easy.

      I don’t know your mother’s story but I’d remind you that she’s human as well as one woman among more than a billion, even though parents tend to represent our understanding of the opposite sex as a whole. When I found out my father cheated on my mother, for example, i was convinced for years that i couldn’t trust any man, ever, because if a man i thought I knew could do something like that, then none of them could be safe.

      It made me angry at men who didn’t deserve it. It’s a vicious cycle where I hurt men who were innocent who probably turned around and hurt women who were innocent too. I think it’s important to try to understand that no one is responsible for the crimes of their entire gender, no matter how much it feels that way at any given time.

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