Sex and Love with Robots (book, 2008)
A quirky book. From Death Ray 12.
THREE AND A HALF STARS
David Levy/ Duckworth
Passionately argued thesis on why we’ll be happy to snag some silicone ass in, ooh, about a decade.
The Sexbots are coming! At least David Levy is convinced that they are. And they’ll be coming too, if you get my drift, as they develop ever more toward realistic facsimiles of humans.
Levy takes us through a gallop-paced review of human sexual and technological history before leaping into the future. He repeatedly states that his hypothesis – that humans will form sexual and romantic relationships with robots – applies mostly to the unloved and unlovable. But the rapid-fire rhetorical questioning of the salesman undermines what little claim to academic sobriety the book holds, and you suspect Levy thinks, perhaps even hopes, it will go much further than this.
It’s well argued, in a conversational thesis style, and some of what he speaks of is, perhaps, inevitable. However, there’s a world of difference between equating sales of vibrators with sex dolls and, by extension, robots. The latter remain the creepy province of a minority, and we reckon it’ll be the same with robots. No doubt people will fall in love with androids as a natural consequence of having intelligent machines among us, but Levy dodges the ethics of programming something sentient so that it is forced to love you, and, I think, overestimates the capacity for people to really love something that has no choice in the matter.