from the world's big
Sexbots are coming and experts say the results won’t be good
“Sexbots” are coming. They're supposed to fill in the gap for the career focused, help undermine sex trafficking and abuse, and even curb STI rates, but are these claims true?
Healthy sex is good for the body and our psychology, too. It boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, improves sleep, and eases stress and anxiety, giving us an overwhelming sense of well-being. In today’s hectic world, it can be hard to find a suitable partner. This is truer for millennials. A 2016 study, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, finds a surprising fact about the latest adult generation: they’re having less sex than the two previous ones, baby boomers and Gen Xers.
The reasons are manifold. Mostly, it’s that millennials are highly driven and focused on building their careers. They seek social recognition. Questions surrounding consent have also made the dating landscape more difficult to traverse. Lastly, widespread use of antidepressants may be decreasing millennial libidos. This generation dates in a different way, too. They are more likely to turn to a Tinder-like experience, for fear of getting tied into something that’s hard to get out of. They don’t want to “catch the feels.” But they forget that intimacy is a core human need.
Purveyors of sex robots say, they can help people have safe sex and remove the thorny issue of consent, while at the same time, lessening exploitation and sex trafficking, decreasing instances of predatory behavior, and perhaps even curbing the spread of STI’s. Could sexbots be the answer to all of this, and millennial dating woes, too? A new British study gives us a hard no. In fact, pervasive sex robot use will probably make things worse, they find. Rather than giving us a healthy outlet with no downside, sexbots might actually increase instances of malicious sexual behavior.
Consistently using a sexbot might make it difficult for some to carry on a romantic relationship with an actual human. Image credit: Getty Images.
Virtual reality coupled with porn and many other, device-driven toys coming down the pike. Market watchers predict sex tech will quickly grow into a $30 billion industry. Four companies today sell adult, female sexbots, each costing anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000. Male sexbots are soon to follow. Sickeningly, one company even puts out “paedobots,” or child-like models. The idea is that pedophiles can enact their sick fantasies on them, instead of real victims.
Today, a sexbot is little more than an advanced real doll. Some can carry on simple conversations, but no one would mistake it for a real person. Experts say, they won’t remain this way for long. The Dickian days are coming, where A.I. and robotics are so advanced, it’ll be hard to tell who’s human and who isn’t.
A recent British study probed the health effects of widespread sexbot use. It was published in the journal, BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health. Its outlook is rather dim. Instead of instituting harm limitation or merely becoming a healthy outlet, researchers find that pervasive sexbot use would likely increase what they called, “misogynistic objectification.”
This is the idea that women are sex objects and should be constantly available for the pleasures of men. Researchers say such an outlook could lead to the further victimization of women and children. Professor of women’s health Susan Bewley, of Kings College London, co-authored the study, along with Dr. Chantal Cox-George.
Support group for former Filipina sex workers. Rather than lessening trafficking and other sex crimes, widespread use of sexbots might increase them. Image credit: Getty Images.
A search of scholarly journal databases brought up all the studies surrounding the health effects of sexbots. They evaluated “the arguments for and against the sex robot industry,” and assessed, “the potential health implications that may affect both patients and clinicians.” The researchers also wrote, “While a human may genuinely desire a sexbot, reciprocation can only be artificially mimicked.” Instead of lessening loneliness, these robots might make us crave human contact more. Researchers do admit however that sexbots may have their place. They could aid those who are extremely lonely or who want to be cured of some type of sexual dysfunction.
Eventually, those who use sex robots could find it difficult to navigate a romantic relationship with an actual human being. Researchers found absolutely no evidence that interaction with a sexbot would make children safer or decrease sex trafficking. It might, instead, normalize such acts to the predator themselves and therefore make such heinous incidents more common. There’s no evidence pervasive sexbot use will decrease other sex crimes, either.
On top of all that, there’s no guarantee it’ll stop the spread of STIs, as there’s no evidence users will care for it properly or even keep a sexbot to themselves. “The overwhelming predominant market for sexbots will be unrelated to healthcare,” researchers conclude in their study. “Thus the 'health' arguments made for their benefits, as with so many advertised products, are rather specious."
To see how far sexbots have come so far, click here:
Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.
From "if-by-whiskey" to the McNamara fallacy, being able to spot logical missteps is an invaluable skill.
- A fallacy is the use of invalid or faulty reasoning in an argument.
- There are two broad types of logical fallacies: formal and informal.
- A formal fallacy describes a flaw in the construction of a deductive argument, while an informal fallacy describes an error in reasoning.
Appeal to privacy<p>When someone behaves in a way that negatively affects (or could affect) others, but then gets upset when others criticize their behavior, they're likely engaging in the appeal to privacy — or "mind your own business" — fallacy. Examples:<br></p><ul><li>Someone who speeds excessively on the highway, considering his driving to be his own business.</li><li>Someone who doesn't see a reason to bathe or wear deodorant, but then boards a packed 10-hour flight.</li></ul><p>Language to watch out for: "You're not the boss of me." "Worry about yourself."</p>
Sunk cost fallacy<p>When someone argues for continuing a course of action despite evidence showing it's a mistake, it's often a sunk cost fallacy. The flawed logic here is something like: "We've already invested so much in this plan, we can't give up now." Examples:<br></p><ul><li>Someone who intentionally overeats at an all-you-can-eat buffet just to get their "money's worth"</li><li>A scientist who won't admit his theory is incorrect because it would be too painful or costly</li></ul><p>Language to watch out for: "We must stay the course." "I've already invested so much...." "We've always done it this way, so we'll keep doing it this way."</p>
If-by-whiskey<p>This fallacy is named after a speech given in 1952 by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah_S._Sweat" target="_blank">Noah S. "Soggy" Sweat, Jr.</a>, a state representative for <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi" target="_blank">Mississippi</a>, on the subject of whether the state should legalize alcohol. Sweat's argument on prohibition was (to paraphrase):<br></p><p><em>If, by whiskey, you mean the devil's brew that causes so many problems in society, then I'm against it. But if whiskey means the oil of conversation, the philosopher's wine, "</em><em>the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning;" then I am certainly for it.</em></p>
Slippery slope<p>This fallacy involves arguing against a position because you think choosing it would start a chain reaction of bad things, even though there's little evidence to support your claim. Example:<br></p><ul><li>"We can't allow abortion because then society will lose its general respect for life, and it'll become harder to punish people for committing violent acts like murder."</li><li>"We can't legalize gay marriage. If we do, what's next? Allowing people to marry cats and dogs?" (Some people actually made this <a href="https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/national/cats-marrying-dogs-and-five-other-things-same-sex-marriage-won-mean/dLV9jKqkJOWUFZrSBETWkK/" target="_blank">argument</a> before same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.S.)</li></ul><p>Of course, sometimes decisions <em>do </em>start a chain reaction, which could be bad. The slippery slope device only becomes a fallacy when there's no evidence to suggest that chain reaction would actually occur.</p><p>Language to watch out for: "If we do that, then what's next?"</p>
"There is no alternative"<p><span style="background-color: initial;">A modification of the </span><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma" target="_blank" style="background-color: initial;">false dilemma</a><span style="background-color: initial;">, this fallacy (often abbreviated to TINA) argues for a specific position because there are no realistic alternatives. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher used this exact line as a slogan to defend capitalism, and it's still used today to that same end: Sure, capitalism has its problems, but we've seen the horrors that occur when we try anything else, so there is no alternative.</span><br></p><p>Language to watch out for: "If I had a magic wand…" "What <em>else</em> are we going to do?!"</p>
Ad hoc arguments<p>An ad hoc argument isn't really a logical fallacy, but it is a fallacious rhetorical strategy that's common and often hard to spot. It occurs when someone's claim is threatened with counterevidence, so they come up with a rationale to dismiss the counterevidence, hoping to protect their original claim. Ad hoc claims aren't designed to be generalizable. Instead, they're typically invented in the moment. <a href="https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Ad_hoc" target="_blank">RationalWiki</a> provides an example:<br></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Alice: "It is clearly said in the Bible that the Ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Bob: "A purely wooden vessel of that size could not be constructed; the largest real wooden vessels were Chinese treasure ships which required iron hoops to build their keels. Even the <em>Wyoming</em> which was built in 1909 and had iron braces had problems with her hull flexing and opening up and needed constant mechanical pumping to stop her hold flooding."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Alice: "It's possible that God intervened and allowed the Ark to float, and since we don't know what gopher wood is, it is possible that it is a much stronger form of wood than any that comes from a modern tree."</p>
Snow job<p><span style="background-color: initial;">This fallacy occurs when someone doesn't really have a strong argument, so they just throw a bunch of irrelevant facts, numbers, anecdotes and other information at the audience to confuse the issue, making it harder to refute the original claim. Example:</span><br></p><ul><li>A tobacco company spokesperson who is confronted about the health risks of smoking, but then proceeds to show graph after graph depicting many of the other ways people develop cancer, and how cancer metastasizes in the body, etc.</li></ul><p>Watch out for long-winded, data-heavy arguments that seem confusing by design.</p>
McNamara fallacy<p>Named after <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_McNamara" target="_blank">Robert McNamara</a>, the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Secretary_of_Defense" target="_blank">U.S. secretary of defense</a> from 1961 to 1968, this fallacy occurs when decisions are made based solely on <em>quantitative metrics or observations,</em> ignoring other factors. It stems from the Vietnam War, in which McNamara sought to develop a formula to measure progress in the war. He decided on bodycount. But this "objective" formula didn't account for other important factors, such as the possibility that the Vietnamese people would never surrender.<br></p><p>You could also imagine this fallacy playing out in a medical situation. Imagine a terminal cancer patient has a tumor, and a certain procedure helps to reduce the size of the tumor, but also causes a lot of pain. Ignoring quality of life would be an example of the McNamara fallacy.</p><p>Language to watch out for: "You can't measure that, so it's not important."</p>
A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.
- A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
- Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
- This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".
Generation Ships<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a1e6445c7168d293a6da3f9600f534a2"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/H2f0Wd3zNj0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Many of the most popular apps are about self-improvement.
Emotions are the newest hot commodity, and we can't get enough.