One thing bears further thought IMO: the author mentions the false sense of achievement in games and its addictive nature as an analogy. The issue there is that, at some point the game addict has to look away from the screen: the game may end online service, fall out of fashion, the addicted gamer may lose their quick reflexes as they age, etc. And once they look away, they'll find that they have nothing; they've poured their efforts into something that has left them with no real status in society.
Similarly, people using robotic devices in this way will have poured something rather different into them but the result is still the same; at some point they'll look away and realize they have none of the status markers of society accorded a long-term committed couple / family. In short, the emptiness eventually hits home at some point in both cases. What will these addicts do then? What will become of them? I suspect nothing good, meaning that such robots aren't a long-term solution to the unfulfilled biological needs of those locked out of the reproductive pool.
>Similarly, people using robotic devices in this way will have poured something rather different into them but the result is still the same;
I agree that a stable family is the ideal but I fail to see how spending your money on sex dolls is worse than getting divorced in your late 20s or early 30s and getting stuck paying for kids for a decade or more. Those people manage just fine.
But the point of the stable family IS the kids.
The point of reproduction is kids, and they can happen without a stable family as well... Quite often in fact. And they can be raised in different arrangements too, like wards of state and in kibbutzim, which is implemented right are not destructive. Or even by single parents (but that one is hard) or by surrogates who have a stable family.
It is telling that this is how you frame "caring for your own children."
We're literally wired to seek social approval, a strategy that has made civilizations work as well as they have.
For kids with rich parents, dating was always easy. And for those in an unlucky economic situation, mating success is still out of reach, despite all the apps.
The only thing that's really easier on those apps is fraud, like using photoshopped photos, AI filters, and made up awards.
Surveys of sexual activity, marriage, and child birth all wildly disagree with your supposition.
Also, in the spirit of the article and the comment I was referring to, one could also count marriage as an indicator of low mating success, as it is a commitment which isn't usually part of a Tinder "date".
People have been having sex with inanimate (and sometimes animate but non-human) objects since forever. The focus on men and their ability to get off without another human present is a little weird, as vibrators and dildos (not to mention just plain old masturbation) are extremely popular with women.
I'd say any changes in human relationships, child count, "incel" behavior, etc have less to do with the availability of a solo orgasm and much more to do with technological, social and economic changes. If you can have fulfilling social relationships online without leaving the house, a lot of people are going to end up struggling (in motivation and skill) to strike up relationships in the real world.
What's left of this is just spinning a scifi story from a "what if" premise, and that's already been done a lot better elsewhere (DON'T DATE ROBOTS! ).
And then it goes on. Imagine writing something similar regarding human women? I'm sorry, but how is this writing not blatantly sexist? I would have flagged this if there weren't already substantial discussion here that I don't want to bury.
But what your comment nicely illustrates is that whether someone considers something sexist depends on whether or not they believe it to be true. As a result, people who are unwilling to accept certain objective truths might consider descriptive science to be sexist.
If I say "women are biologically different which causes them to have different skills", that can be argued both ways. Some people might focus on lactation and agree. Others might think about mental skills and strongly disagree.
> Human men can become aroused looking at flat images of nude women in black and white.
Dispassionate factual statement. Not sexist.
> Ever think a dog is dumb for growling at his reflection in the mirror?
Comparing men to dogs and implying they're dumb. Sexist.
Nah people do this all the time when making comments designed to put people down. Yes they didn't explicitly say they think men are like dogs... they just gently popped those two things together next to each other and left them there for people to quietly pick up what they mean, but keeping themselves clean if anyone points it out.
It's called (ironically in this case) a dog whistle. Keep an eye out for them!
It is likely that such a measure does not exist.
People’s perception therefore take precedent.
Many women are ok with deeply sexist things towards women. Doesn't make it right.
The author makes it sound like human women can't also get aroused by a black and white image of nude men.
I have a disagreement on one word choice here: “skills”. I don’t think that’s the best word to use in this context since it could be understood for one of its dictionary meanings, which is expertise.
It is! It just happens to be sexist towards acceptable targets. Since men are perceived as dominant and powerful, the sexism is regarded as a non-issue.
Rather than assuming it implies "men are dumb, like dogs" or "men are like dogs, and dumb", you could instead read it as "men can get aroused so easily. Human arousal is dumb".
I take no offense at the idea that the monkey-brain arousal mechanisms of men and women is "dumb", in the sense of simplistic. Logically, we know a picture is not a valid mating target, but still we can get aroused.
Yes, if you read it as calling men dumb, it's a little sexist. But if you read it as a commentary on human arousal, well, that's not a thinking feeling target, so you can be no more sexist against it than against a rock.
>But market innovation has already created something dreadful on the other side of the coin: a large segment of men that have no prospect of satisfying their most basic desires.
Though this comes at the end, and without much else said about it.
"Humans can become aroused looking at flat images of other humans in black and white” is probably a better way to put it.
> Zoologists have found that the males of many species will court an enormous range of objects having a vague resemblance to the female: other males, females of the wrong species, females of the right species that have been stuffed and nailed to a board, parts of stuffed females such as a head suspended in midair, even parts of stuffed females with important features missing like the eyes and the mouth. --Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works
1. Ever think a dog is dumb for humping a stuffed animal? Human men can become aroused looking at flat images of nude women in black and white. <- Comparing dog vs. human arousal to external stimulus
2. Ever think a dog is dumb for growling at his reflection in the mirror? Human men can become aroused by looking at themselves in the mirror. <- Comparing dog vs (unusual) human reaction to seeing their own reflection.
Is that statement actually true for a significant plurality of human men? I've never heard anyone say this before, and it has 0% resonance with me personally.
But porn today is freely available.
And yet, most people still date and form families.
And those males who cannot ,might be less violent, but they are not happy. Because humans need love - and it's hard to see a robot offering that.
So I suspect sex robots won't offer a big change over porn. Maybe a gradual continuation of current trends.
It is legalized or decriminalized in many countries (Australia, Netherlands, Germany...), so sex is widely available to those who need it and the price is not particularly high either. Especially in comparison to current sex doll prices.
So my guess is that this article is unnecessary alarmist and reductionist and that its predictions are unlikely to become true because what men want out of a relationship or even just a sexual encounter is more than just a quick discharge.
But even if we had that, simulation isn't love. Deep down we'll know it's a lie.
Second, even those who master those "subtle social cues" (which have the important feature of plausible deniability) have to learn them at some point, and nowadays the price of error is extreme.
So, just as airline pilots "fly" in simulators, I suspect that someday people will have to spend time with something several generations improved over current sex robots learning to have a relationship before trying it with an actual human.
For people who pick up on these cues the point isn't plausible deniability but quick, effortless communication. If you demonstrate you can't pick up on the cues you are a less desirable match -- not undesirable but less desirable -- because people around you will have to put a lot more effort into communicating with you than they do with other people and there will be more instances of miscommunication. This is unpleasant. It's not fair that people with a communicative handicap should be found less desirable but them's the breaks. It isn't fair if you're born poor or graceless or self-centered or too fat or too thin or with ugly features or bad skin or a gut that produces too much gas or with an inclination to be cruel and so on ad infinitum. The people judging you know it isn't fair, but they also know there are other choices. Also, there are plenty of unfortunate women willing to give the unfortunate men a chance to show their good qualities.
Similar to what this article is talking about, what happens if you can program your perfect partner, with enough AI for it to be a pretty realistic representation of a real human. Seems like it'll remove a lot of the underlying motivation for many things we do today.
> When there are more men than women, women are much less likely to have casual sex. The majority sex (in this case men) competes for the minority sex (in this case women) and the minority sex calls the shots. When there is a female majority in the population, women compete for access to mates with casual sex. Whereas a male majority competing for access to scarce women compete with long-term commitment.
It doesn't have to be an either or. It isn't a binary switch from men require mates to females require mates. During the transition phase we might actually reach that "equality" certain groups like to preach about. Why would you be against that?
Also, the article doesn't describe all men as being in need of sex robots. In fact, it doesn't mention any study estimating the percentage of men who might be interested in these robots. The number might well be in the single digits and just like non-heteros, they will always be around.
Anyway, in my opinion, what people do to themselves or other unforced, uncompelled, consenting, sentient and intelligent creatures without creating immediate dangers for non-participants shouldn't be anybody's business.
To argue the other side of that, there are some behaviors that are destructive to society as a whole. Everyone can easily picture why drug abuse or alcohol abuse is bad for society. There are subtler things too though. For example divorce is bad for society because single parenthood is hard and those children grow up with a disadvantage. That doesn't mean the state has the right to interfere, but it might mean having more requirements for marriage or a public contraceptive policy is a good idea.
In this particular case these (presumably men) would be out of the dating pool and would be less likely to have children. I don't see an awful lot wrong with that. They're mostly the low status men that were functionally out of the dating pool anyway.
Or maybe the sex robots are so good, people stop marrying and having children to such an extent that the population collapses, the economy shrinks, and human population drops until it reaches some new, lower equilibrium. Given how we destroy our planet, it's hard to get upset at that outcome.
More likely some cultures would do that, and others (e.g. Mormons?) Don't and then the breeding culture eventually replaces the non breeding culture. Unless you're part of that group, it doesn't seem like an improvement. But it is very much the way of nature. Which we're still a part of no matter how smart we think we are.
However, many Western countries still have growing populations because of immigration, and while those people retain some of their culture, they also adopt some of ours. So I don't think "Western culture" is in danger of dying out. Plus we export it everywhere thanks to the Internet and TV, film, and books.
White people as a race seem to have their days numbered, but I think an inevitable part of globalization is people are mixing to such an extent now that we'll eventually all be some shade of tan. One less thing to divide us.
Because more plenty of folks it's less the mechanics of the pleasure and more a fantasy expertly written, illustrated, or filmed that gets the motor running.
Your basic, high-quality toys can get you over the line if desired when appropriately paired, and those are infrequent purchases.
I like to see ways for more money to be thrown at hard-working content creators so there's always something new to keep things from being boring, and to offset freeloading/theft.
Even worse if children result in said broken marriage: he will pay for their upbringing and their mom lifestyle for at least 18 years. Actually, children will cost him even if they are born outside a marriage or relationship altogether, in a random encounter let’s say.
Marriage isn't a necessity for this to happen. In some jurisdictions (e.g. Canada) you even don't have to have been married to pay alimony in the case of a split.
So, beware. On the other hand, being poor-ish makes you realize that possession don't matter so much after all. And drinking will pave over a lot of unhappiness.
As for sex toys and porn, there's a lot to be said for them. We might actually be far happier if we reserved man/woman sex just for reproduction. And even then, maybe artificial insemination would be the way to go.
One of the best things about the Internet is that one can read literally thousands of tales of relationship woe if one cares to. If that had been available way back when, it would have saved me a lot of grief.
I think it'll be just the opposite.
Genetic engineering will evolve to the point where it will be irresponsible to rely on the random variation of sexual intercourse to reproduce. Instead, methods like IVF and the like will be the only way to responsibly (ethically/morally) reproduce. Sex will then be solely for pleasure/connection.
I've never missed a meal. And a precious person in my life gives me a roof over my head, use of her car, food, and most importantly, her support.
At the same time, all of my cash is gone. I've had to drain my retirement accounts, and it turns out that alimony/penury is not a valid excuse, so you pay the 10% penalty for early withdrawal. It's embarrassing to explain to HR why I'm taking 30 allowances on my W-4 when everyone else takes only a few. I can't take the company 401k matches, because I don't have the money to do so. More money lost. The deductions for alimony are mostly wasted, because if alimony takes most of your income, you didn't owe taxes anyway. You can't use it in a future year--you just lose the value of it.
A lot of "normal" financial/tax regimes are stacked against you when you're under alimony. Had to explain to family why a contribution to my 401k would cost me 10% of the contribution in taxes, right away. Seems inconceivable, but that's how it works out. Alimony? Fuck you, buddy.
If you want my lesson, don't get married. Nor live in any sort of common law situation.
I have nothing to say about kids. If you get someone pregnant, expect to pay for the next 20 years. I have no particular problem with that. Children are always the highest priority. (Better not to bring them into the world, though.)
unless you're not able to afford it, in this case the government will step in with food stamps free lunch etc. the public raise your kids instead.
the system punishes those who work hard and follow rules, and awards those who breaks them, it's called equity, social justice, etc.
I live in a society where obesity levels for women and most men are essentially 0% - due to lower prevalence of processed food and societal pressure to remain slim - and everyone is 'f*ckable', to put it bluntly.
By contrast in a typical Western society the bottom 30% of society is typically very sexually unappealing due to obesity. This also has strong negative impacts on equality, since obesity is usually correlated with education and income, so poor (overweight) women are much less likely to wed wealthy (slim) men.
The solution seems to be to place a large tax on sugar, 1cent per gram - in the same way that we tax other products that have negative health outcomes like alcohol, tobacco, gasoline. Use the proceeds to fund national healthcare or displace existing sales taxes.
The problem is, those practices are still better scalable for bigger groups. So if we could escape the individualism of cooking more cheaply somehow... Yes we did. It's just the mainstream has decided that you have to pay a tax on a healthier, better food.
Why is a proper salad or a soup twice as expensive per calorie than a burger? It's not the amount of work and definitely not the price of the materials.
Soups and salads have pretty low calorie density compared to a burger. You can get a plate of rice and beans pretty cheaply at most Mexican places, which will go further to meeting your energy requirements if not the micronutrients.
These things can be true, but what is their relation to a disrupted dating market?
I don't buy this. Social norms are a product of the group to which the apply. In this passage, that group is "all single people". For argument's sake, lets say heterosexual men make up 40% of that group. The author's claiming that a typical member of that subgroup will not understand the rules? This seems like an extraordinary claim, and I'd really need to see evidence of such a thing happening any time in the past to believe it is plausible.
Taking it a step further, too often I've seen hand-wringing arguments that look awfully similar to this author's used as an excuse to minimize some of the worst behavior of men. It is, in fact, possible for the average man to understand things like boundaries and consent. I'm not saying that's what this author is doing, but it sound similar enough that it sets off my BS meter.