One of my favorite films of all time is Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford. The movie is a classic sci-fi adventure directed by the great Ridley Scott. The film provides a glimpse into a future where man has developed the technology to create replicants, human clones used to serve in the colonies outside Earth but with fixed lifespans.
In Los Angeles, 2019, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a Blade Runner, a cop who specializes in terminating replicants. Originally in retirement, he is forced to re-enter the force when four replicants escape from an off-world colony to Earth.
In 1982, the idea of human clones was extremely far fetched, especially replicants that had the looks of Sean Young’s Rachael character in Blade Runner. The scientific reality to introduce human like clones or artificially intelligent androids for work, and play, is now fast approaching.
The impact of such a “being” entering our world would be a paradigm shift like no other. While most scientists and futurists tend to focus on how robots or clones may affect our work lives, the social dynamics of introducing human like female robots, or ‘sexbots’, into a rapidly growing population of discouraged, adrift men would be fascinating.
A recent post from Extreme Tech explains exactly how close we are to this new reality…
According to a new report that looks at how continuing improvements to artificial intelligence and robotics will impact society, “robotic sex partners will become commonplace” by 2025. A large portion of the report also focuses on how AI and robotics will impact both blue- and white-collar workers, with about 50% of the polled experts stating that robots will displace more human jobs than they create by 2025.
The report, called “AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs” and published by Pew Research, is a 66-page monster [PDF]. The report basically consists of a bunch of experts waxing lyrical about what the world will look like in 2025 if robots and AI continue to advance at the same scary pace of the last few years. Almost every expert agreed that robots and AI will no longer be constrained to repetitive tasks on a production line, and will permeate “wide segments of daily life by 2025.” The experts are almost perfectly split on whether these everyday robots will be a boon or a menace to society, though — but more on that at the end of the story.
By 2025 may find out what happens when human like robots begin taking over things in the office and in the bedroom.
While the report is full of juicy sound bites from experts such as Vint Cerf, danah boyd, and David Clark, one quote by GigaOM Research’s Stowe Boyd caught my eye. By 2025, according to Boyd, “Robotic sex partners will be a commonplace, although the source of scorn and division, the way that critics today bemoan selfies as an indicator of all that’s wrong with the world.”
The selfie’s of the future will involve robotic sex partners…that’s progress for sure. This belief that sexbots will be as common as snapping an iPhone photo of yourself on holiday means a monumental shift in the male-female balance. Simply put, millions of men will have the ability to satisfy their most basic urges, and maybe even cure their loneliness, if the bots possess advanced AI capabilities.
In short, they’ll probably be good enough to satisfy most sexual urges. What effect these sexbots will have on human-human relationships, and the sex and human trafficking trades, remains to be seen. At a bare minimum, a lot of sex workers will probably lose their jobs. If lovotics — the study of human-robot relationships — becomes advanced enough and people start falling in love with their sexbots (or rather partnerbots), then there could be some wide-ranging repercussions.
While lots of question remain to be answered and played for when the technology arrives in 2025, one thing is seems certain, the robots, human looking or not, will take over lots of jobs and human mean of production.
Basically everyone agrees that robotics and AI are going to displace a lot of jobs over the next few years as the general-purpose robot comes of age. Even though these early general-purpose bots won’t be as fast or flexible as humans, they will be flexible enough that they can perform various menial tasks 24/7 — and cost just a few cents of electricity, rather than minimum wage.
Displacing jobs with robots isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Historically, robots have been a net creator of jobs, as they free up humans to work on more interesting things — and invent entirely new sectors to work in. More robots also means less drudgery — less tilling the fields, less stop-start commute driving — and in theory more time spent playing games, interacting with your family, etc.
At the end of the day, men may have lots of free time (thanks to the robots), so they can pursue endless sex (and intimate relationships) with the female sexbots. So what happens to women (real life women) if this all plays out?
Now back to watching Blade Runner…