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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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24 Responses

  1. Dana
    Dana December 11, 2008 at 10:52 am |

    Yeesh, talk about creepy, uncanny-valley desperation…

  2. Twyst
    Twyst December 11, 2008 at 10:57 am |

    Isnt this the guy that has 2 robots, one is his slave-gf and one is his sexy gf, and when he doesnt like what she says, he blanks her memory? Or is that soemone else? eeek.

  3. BeccaTheCyborg
    BeccaTheCyborg December 11, 2008 at 11:01 am |

    While I can’t really fault the concept of robot fetishism, the fact that he’s just looking for a slave (who reacts to pain, and despite being designed with sexual objectification in mind, seems to be programmed to oppose the practice) is beyond creepy.

    I suppose one could be the argument that at last he isn’t forcing these absurd demands on real women. Though it could be rebutted that he’s sure as hell perpetuating it.

  4. Personal Failure
    Personal Failure December 11, 2008 at 11:02 am |

    Can we remove “nag” from the dictionary? (Not that I don’t find a robot girlfriend both disturbing and sad.) If my husband asks me to do something over and over again, that’s “reminding”. If I do it, it’s “nagging”. Well, it was until I explained to him what would happen to certain parts of his anatomy if he ever used that word again. I can always get a vibrator, honey . . .

    I’m also voting for the removal of “hormonal” and “bitch”.

  5. Mikey
    Mikey December 11, 2008 at 11:05 am |

    One step closer to the war against the machines.

  6. shah8
    shah8 December 11, 2008 at 11:06 am |

    There has always been a substantial fraction of geeks that would rather have the invention of the sex-bot than easy interstellar transport or even digital immortality.

  7. shah8
    shah8 December 11, 2008 at 11:07 am |

    Oh, and Charles Stross’s Heinleinian novel Saturn’s Children is all about sex-bot independence….
    /me smirks

  8. Dreamweasel
    Dreamweasel December 11, 2008 at 11:41 am |

    Whoops… wrong link. Please remove my #9 if it’s not too much trouble.

    I meant to link the Futurama “Don’t Date Robots” educational film.

  9. Suzanne
    Suzanne December 11, 2008 at 11:46 am |

    Yes let’s get rid of nag. :) I’m studying Second Life secondlife.com, educational research, nothing steamy, but still, you really do get a very different slant on these things when you’re, how shall I say, open to the future? Sorry for such a lame phrase, brain is resting.
    Anyway what I’m trying to say is that robots, avatars, microworlds, people living in front of and through their computer screens and smart machines is here.
    I’m 48 to someone who’s 28 it’s rather “normal.”
    Funny though where’s the perfect man robot? Now there’s an interesting discussion.

  10. depresso
    depresso December 11, 2008 at 12:16 pm |

    Urgh, that robot looks like those sex dolls that are so ‘life-like’ The ones with nipples that have 400x stretch? Oh, I’ve forgotten what they’re called, but they even make up part of the exhibit at the Museum of Sex in NYC. (Which, btw, was a total disappointment because it seemed to mostly be an attempt to normalize mainstream porn, and has a questionable metal sculpture that seems to have an adult male receiving oral sex from a child in part of it, too. Oops, I’ve digressed.)

  11. Kristen
    Kristen December 11, 2008 at 12:30 pm |

    Okay, so the guy here is completely creepy…but imagine if we could get a completely androgynous and non-sexual robot of whatever measurements to do the damn housework. It might be a leap forward for disturbed single men with no personal lives, but it would also be a leap forward for working people (male or female, although, honestly, its mostly women) who could use a little help with the dishes, laundry, dusting, vacuuming and with any luck at all the meals.

    So while I’m weirded out by this guy…I’m also extremely happy that someday, there might be a robot at home right now hand washing the dedicates.

  12. Kristen
    Kristen December 11, 2008 at 12:37 pm |

    Delicates even.

    (If the proposed robot could assist with my spelling that would be even more awesome.)

  13. rachel
    rachel December 11, 2008 at 1:17 pm |

    How nice it must be to be so antisocial that you just don’t give a shit whether you have an actual partner who can love you and connect with you and engage in intelligent conversation with you…as long as you have a bitch to keep the house clean. it’s precisely a woman’s “emotions” that make her attractive to me; who cares if the dishes get done. that is what upsets me with men (and some women) feeling this way, the things that matter don’t matter and the things that don’t matter do. he didn’t say “she’s the perfect robot” he said “she’s the perfect woman.” absolutely perfect…

    i can understand how someone elderly or with limited mobility could benefit from having a robot help with things, especially if they don’t know anybody and don’t have a caretaker, but where does this lead? son/daughter/friend/partner feeling that they don’t need to be a caretaker when you can buy a robot? with everything a caregiver can do except feel and actually care. and as for the rest of us i don’t think we necessarily need robots. just need to learn how to do the work and get it done. if there is too much work in life that we can’t do it all, maybe it’s time to prune life back a little and work it down to something we can handle. technology has filled our lives with more stress in ways; the last thing we need is the housekeeper robot breaking down. one more thing to fix, one more bill to pay for the repair, and all the housework building back up while (s)he’s out of commission…

  14. Claire
    Claire December 11, 2008 at 1:24 pm |

    While I understand why everyone finds this so disturbing, all you have to do is pull a little duckrabbit perspective-change to see that it’s the most awesome thing ever. Why? Because for every frat boy and Nice Guy we can set up with these devices, that’s one more woman who won’t have his nonsense inflicted upon her.

    Of course, much like with the robotic/automation helping to alleviate worker alienation by replacing members of oppressed classes with machines that lack meaningful subjective experience, there’s a problem that the replaced members of the oppressed class don’t necessarily experience automatic social promotion. Just as a worker replaced by a machine doesn’t receive a wage for the machine’s work, women will still suffer from all the institutional sexism the world can muster, they’ll just have one fewer way of accessing male power.

    Plus, it will make exceptionally-good blogging fodder when these robots start teaching women’s classes at Bob Brown and Liberty universities.

    Sigh. Maybe we could program the robots to electrocute their users to death?

  15. Jennifer
    Jennifer December 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm |

    Hah, Claire, I totally wrote a short story about that premise, exactly. But the reading of it is so disturbing I haven’t shown it to too many people. I fear the creeps I might get e-mails from if I got it published.

  16. Zula
    Zula December 11, 2008 at 6:03 pm |

    I wouldn’t be surprised, given his apparent fondness for Japanese pop culture (naming her Aiko, dressing her up in Lolita fashion), if he got his inspiration from an anime/manga series called “Chobits.” The premise of the series is that, in the future, almost everyone has a lifelike android called a “persocom” (personal computer) that helps them with basic tasks. It actually addresses some of the ethical moral dilemmas around people’s relationships with these persocoms – is having sex with a persocom immoral or just creepy? Do persocoms deserve the same rights as humans? Where do we draw the line between human and android?

    Ironically, I was just discussing this show from a feminist perspective during lunch today.

  17. Darcie
    Darcie December 11, 2008 at 7:22 pm |

    Yeah, I was just thinking that she was a Chobit as well. In the end most men ended up replacing their wives and girlfriends with robots. The whole series is about how human interaction is replaced with an agreeable robot, and the pain that causes real women. Certainly men who were not looking for an intellectual stimulating relationship are attracted to machines that do all these subservient things for them.

    Is CLAMP Psychic?

  18. FeministReview
    FeministReview December 12, 2008 at 1:57 am |

    Hmmm… I wonder then what the perfect robot man is? At least she slaps men who try to touch her. That’s kind of funny, right? (looking for the bright side)

  19. Erica
    Erica December 12, 2008 at 4:14 pm |

    This can’t possibly be for real. It looks exactly like a Real Doll. And then this, emphasis mine: “Women usually try to talk to her. But men always want to touch her, and if they do it the wrong way she slaps them.”

    Earlier in the article, Le stated that he hasn’t overcome the obstacle of getting his android to walk in a human fashion (which is well known to be a huge challenge in robotics). But then he’s says he programmed her to slap programmed? I call bullshit. The arm movement required for that is just as challenging as walking, plus there are all sorts of judgment calls (how hard to hit, where to hit, who to hit) that just aren’t plausible.

    Show me a video of Aiko smacking somebody, I might believe. Show me pictures of Real-Doll-Aiko posed rigid by a mirror with a sponge, no fucking way. This guy is seeking attention, and the Sun went and gave it to him.

    As a commentary on the ideals of this creepy jerk, maybe it’s worth considering, but this ain’t a robot wife — hell, I doubt she has any wires in her at all. It’s interesting that whatever fantasy he built up around his Real Doll makes her a robot woman, though, rather than a real one…

  20. truth
    truth December 12, 2008 at 4:21 pm |

    The guy didn’t build it for any sexual reasons. He just wanted a ‘female presence’ around. Sure he’s weird but don’t just assume he built it as a ‘sexbot’ just because it’s a woman. Assumptions are bad, mkay?

  21. Helen
    Helen December 14, 2008 at 6:07 pm |

    I’m disturbed that it’s described as “the perfect woman” at least in part because it looks more like a 12-year-old girl.
    Just me?

  22. Men’s Magazine Desires World Without Meaningful Consent : The Curvature

    [...] and turned into an all submissive sex toy (read: rape victim), or if it’s supposed to be a highly realistic fembot that looks like a real woman for a man’s sexually assaulting [...]

  23. Roger
    Roger December 27, 2008 at 2:49 pm |

    I would rather have a woman tbh. This is really dumb if you ask me. When my life (22yo male’s life) hits the fan in the future mature yrs, how the hell is a robot going to comfort me?? And tell me it’s ok?

    The guy is dumb, I can’t say he hates women because he’s just not all there in the head I think.

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