Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Surrogate Humans?

Elderly Japanese want to be grandparents, but few of the children they raised are having children of their own. There’s an acute grandchildren shortage and robots are filling the gap. According to sbs.com.au: “More than ten thousand of them are in homes and businesses across Japan. They’re purchased on payment plans, much like a cell phone.”

I first learned of this ten years ago when reading about demographic problems in Japan, and I thought the robot-grandchildren phenomenon very strange. It’s one thing for little girls to have talking dolls; I remember my sisters being thrilled with their “Chatty Cathy” dolls sixty years ago. The dolls had a little ring in the back of the neck so that if you pulled it and let go, it would say something childlike. But these are mature Japanese adults essentially playing with 21st century robotic dolls.

As with reading a novel, it would seem that a suspension of disbelief is necessary to “play” with a robotic grandchild. Children have little difficulty achieving this with their dolls and action figures, but it feels unhealthy for adults. I like novels, and I can suspend disbelief while reading, but I know the author is human and has created characters based on actual people — in part at least. Well-written novels can be realistic, but talking to a robot on a feeling level? I could never suspend disbelief enough to accomplish that.

I talk to Siri on my iPhone, to Alexa on my Amazon devices, and to robotic answering services on technical support lines, but I know they’re all disembodied automatons. There’s nothing human about them and I cannot imagine relating to them as if there were. An increasing number of people are though; some are even having sex with robots. Researching for this column I watched videos of people talking to sex robots about vaguely sexual subjects and I was surprised at the sophistication of the technology involved in creating these “sexbots.”

So far, the only sexbots I’ve seen are made to look female. Evidently, some males are so hyper-libidinous that a machine does the trick for them, and there are places they can go now to use robots for sex. A breitbart.com article reported robot brothels gaining popularity in Europe. At one Austrian brothel, many customers prefer a particular robot over real women and a Barcelona operation is looking to expand worldwide. Customers pay between $87 and $108 for an hour with a sexbot. Some are paying $10,000 — $15,000 to purchase one.

Sexbot brothel owners report that customers act out lurid fantasies with sexbots that they wouldn’t do with human females. This sounds dangerous, but even more dangerous are childlike robots for sex. While some think child sexbots are safe outlets for pedophiles, others suspect they’re not safe at all because they’re likely to heighten perverted desires in those who use them. Some countries ban them, but so far they’re legal in the United States. According to NBCNews: “Representative Dan Donovan (R-NY) introduced legislation that would ban the importation and distribution of child sex dolls and child sexbots.”

Good for him, I say. Think of sexbots as three-dimensional pornography. If watching two-dimensional porn is a major cause of divorce — and research seems to confirm that it is, one would think the three-dimensional variety would be even more damaging to marriages. Two-dimensional porn, however, involves images of real human beings. Sexbots are not human, but I would think users of them must, at least temporarily, believe they are. Will robot patrons declare a constitutional right to machine sex? Will an R be added to LGBTQ?

Taking a long view of all these phenomena, they amount to a further separation of the sex act from its primary purpose: reproduction. When the birth control pill started being used widely in the 1960s, it gave impetus to the sexual revolution. Sex outside of marriage lost its stigma and the results are obvious to anyone old enough to remember how it used to be. Conservatives tend to believe the results are disastrous. Liberals, however, are inclined to celebrate them as liberating.

Maybe it’s impossible to ever put the toothpaste back in the tube, but I choose to hold out hope. I don’t expect to see a turn-around in my lifetime; the nuclear family is on the ropes and being pummeled every day. The very terms “father” and “mother” are slowly being outlawed by the left. US passport applications now substitute “parent 1” and “parent 2” for those old, outdated, soon-to-be-obsolete words.

The rules of society have changed drastically over the past half-century, but Natural Law has not. It is my expectation that the latter will win out eventually, but not before we Americans experience considerably more societal suffering — and long after I’m dead.


P. C. Poppycock said...


This column of mine was published last fall. In some ways, it is grossly understated based on what we see unfolding. Still, the fundamentals are completely sound.


Anonymous said...

Who knew? Sometimes I just prefer to NOT know what’s going on, but now I can’t undo what I’ve just read and seen. Good grief, Charlie Brown!

Tom McLaughlin said...

PC: That was a great article. The comments are intelligent too, so far as I read them. Good work!

P. C. Poppycock said...

Thanks, Tom. I've written scads of columns over the years, and that one probably has more of my concerned inner self in it than any of the others.

Charles: The dilemma is that even when we think WE KNOW what's going on, and work at it, the truth likely is that we don't have a clue as to what is REALLY going on.

CaptDMO said...

Oooo....Thanks Poppycock, I forgot about American Thinker in my list of "multiple sources" when I had to manually reconstruct it from *sigh* memory.
Last disposable notebook 'puter left no survivors.)
And yeah, nice piece.

Rick said...

Tom's mind certainly dwells on some weird and kinky stuff

Susan said...

I didn't realize that Tom was a supporter of LGBTQ rights, but after seeing that he quoted MLK in saying that "any law that degrades human personality is unjust", I realize it must be so. Bravo, Tom!

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