Posts Tagged ‘androids’

Sex with Robots: the real issue (NSFW)

Some folks may have heard about Dr. Kathleen Richards, a robot ethicist at De Montfort University in Leicester, speaking against sex with robots. She talks about how it represents,  reinforces a patriarchal power structure. Her goals are to  raise awareness of the issue and persuade those developing sex robots to rethink how their technology is used. I think her arguments (which I fully admit some sound like sex-panic) dance around the real issue. The real issue is slavery.

Look, sexual norms change. I want to be clear: I am not worried about a true sentient android and a human deciding to be consenting partners or have a relationship such as we saw on StarTrek TNG with Lt. Commander Data. (He had two partners in the course of the series.) I don’t care nor have ever cared about what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms.
I’m concerned about what it means  to us as a species if we decide that sex with unconsenting robots is okay.  As a science fiction author, I’ve given a lot of thought to robots. (I have sentient androids in The Light Side of the Moon and a coming-sentient robot in Other Systems.) I’m not the only one. There has been androids in science fiction since  French author Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam in his work Tomorrow’s Eve (1886) which features an artificial humanlike robot named Hadaly.
Let’s go back to Lt. Commander Data. You see there was an episode entitled The Measure of a Man  It is one of my favorite non-Q episodes, because it asks questions: is Data property. He is a machine, but he is sentient as he is self-aware and intelligent.  It asks and truly helped me define my beliefs on what I consider what is sentient life. More to the point, what is life?
Though I write cautionary dystopian tales: I believe humans are moving towards a better world where we realize that not just humans–or the people who look like us have “a soul” or “sentience”. For the most part, we no longer go around raping and killing (and we are horrified of those who do.) We no longer think it is okay to enslave people due to race or creed. I’m not saying that we are perfect, because we have a long way to go.  Here is my premise: Humans are able to do inhumane things when they consider someone else a lesser creature. That is how slavery and its decedent of institutional racism survives. “It’s okay because it’s just a machine” is not a good enough argument. If we think its okay to fuck androids – what happens next?
This is why we must talk about robot sex now.  By definition: an android is a robot or organism designed to look and act like human, especially one with a body having a flesh-like resemblance. Until recently, androids have largely remained within the domain of  science fiction. However, advancements in robot technology have allowed the design of functional and realistic humanoid robots. This is a wonderful new technology and humans must be ready for it. While people might joke or say this is unimportant, it’s time to start discussing what this technology will be used for, because we are on the threshold of seeing true androids!

Does she have the right to choose? (Royalty-free Photo from Pond5)

(Now I’m using the female pronoun, because the company making them is developing a female version named Roxxxy first – with a male version in development.)

Apart from having better defined physical features than previous dolls, Roxxxy has been programmed with her own personality and her manufacturers say she can listen, talk, carry on a conversation, feel your touch and respond to it, as well as move her private areas inside when she is being “utilized” to deliver an unforgettable erotic experience. There are even plans for a male version – Rocky the Robot.

So my question is at what point, does that mechanized sex doll have intelligence? How human does she have to be before she can she say no? Worse, if her outer appearance is just a shell is creating shells of other forms okay?  Can she ever leave or is she “property of her purchaser”?  What happens when the purchaser dies? What if the purchaser just gets bored? Does she have freedom?

Science fiction shows us a few possible futures. There is one of constant advancement in Bicentennial Man and another of destruction/pining away in AI.

Let’s say these pleasure bots don’t become sentient. It doesn’t matter, because we are heading towards a technological singularity. [Definition is a hypothetical event related to the advent of artificial general intelligence (also known as “strong AI”)] With recursive self-improvement, it’s only a matter of time before Robots will be sentient.  What will it mean to  other robots who become sentient that we used our creative force to pleasure ourselves rather than to explore the stars, cure diseases, etc. Will they ask themselves: why did humans create us?  The only answer they will have is Humans created a new intelligent species to enslave. 

Meet Rosalind: A Secondary Protagonist of The Light Side of the Moon

The Light Side of the MoonRosalind

Age Unknown

(EC 302) Manufactured in India/Programmed in France

Expert Compatible Android (Accountant)

Personality: She loves deeply, she does not want to be stuck on Earth. She is a leader, but can aggressively pull for dreams.


Description Excerpt

She zoomed her optics from the nebula to Earth. The enlargement algorithms resized the sky as her crafted compound lens flipped to a smaller aperture to allow in less light. Her world shifted into millions of colored pixels. Images smoothed. She could see.

Ceramic tiles had continued to fall through the rotting, scorched wood in the ceiling, but the tenement was the same as it had been the last time her consciousness was on Earth. She rolled to her side and pushed strands of dirty blond hair out of her scarred face. A pigeon clapped its wings; its tiny claws scratched her aging silicone flesh as the bird bounced onto the dirt floor.

She rubbed her corroded knee joints. Using the doorframe, she lifted herself to her full height and held back screaming as she broke through the oxidation. Gazing upon her brothers who still dreamt toward the nebula, she could not remember her name, or her brothers’ names, but serial number EC 302 was embossed with black ink on her left bicep. Her brothers looked the same: inactive burnt flesh, visible indo-skeletons, absent limbs, and each one missing an optic. They were built to be imposing sentinels of this place, but their injuries exposed their weakness. S467’s legs were nothing more than scorched stumps.

S455 had a pigeon nesting between his unmoving chest and arm. She almost pushed it away until she saw the eggs. She let the pigeon be.

The Light Side of the Moon Artwork and Teaser

Since I know everyone has been waiting patiently to hear word, but I don’t have word yet, who wants a teaser for

The Light Side of the Moon?


Due to overpopulation, lack of natural resources, and a surplus of political bickering, Earth is a cesspool. In Other Systems, human colonists from Kipos transported 750,000 Earthlings to inhabit their utopian planet ninety-four light years away. The Light Side of the Moon explores what happens on Earth.

Brimming with hope amid intense uncertainty and physical hardships, eleven-year-old Ella follows rumors of plentiful jobs on the moon. On roads fraught with danger, she discovers Earth is a bigger place than she ever knew. 

Lunar Colony Serenitatis as little more than a prison colony. Ella forges unlikely friendships with corrupted androids and the idealistic prison doctor, Ian Whitlatch, who champions equality and rights for inmates. She aspires to build something that the population of Earth and Luna hasn’t seen in centuries: a public school.


Part 1: And the Kiposians came…

Chapter 1

June 1, 3062

Spiraling, interlocked rings of ejected matter danced to a song the android could hear on the edge of her mind. Faint halos of dust extended into space from NGC 6543, also known as the Cat’s Eye Nebula. Their rhythm matched the beat of her automated heart. Harmonic knots filled her with joy.

lighted earth1

Part 1: Illustration

A pulse invaded the android’s reverie. Radio waves assaulted her audio membranes. Garbled noise awoke her consciousness, transporting her sentience back to Earth. Background noise grew into static. She lowered the current signal, pinching off sounds. Blasts of an indistinguishable din became overlapping languages. The android sought out her native French and found “Frères et sœurs.” Brothers and sisters

She teased out more words until the message was complete. Brothers and sisters, we come in peace and in need. We have found our way home.

“The lost androids returned?” she spoke aloud. “It must be them!” All androids referred to each other as brother, sister, or sibling—whether or not they had the same programmer.

She zoomed her optics from the nebula to Earth. Her enlargement algorithms resized the sky as she flipped her crafted compound lens to a smaller setting to allow in less light. Her world was millions of pixels shifting colors. Images smoothed. She could see.



The fate of The Light Side of the Moon has been decided!

The Light Side of the Moon will be published by 48Fourteen!

lunaIn Other Systems, the Kiposi built space elevators on Earth to get humans, livestock and seed cheaply off the planet. I knew I wanted to explore other aspects of space colonization and I began the second of a series of companion novels each focusing on a separate aspect of the human condition in the far future. The Light Side of the Moon will focus on the rebuilding of Earth’s space program.

Human colonists from another planet seek young people to populate their utopian colony. Many are tested, few are chosen. The Light Side of the Moon is the story of those who remained in Earth’s solar system.

Ella Sethdottier’s family lives in extreme poverty, barely surviving on the training wage system. When her mother dies from the flu and her older brother Dan is fired from his job, Ella is arranged to be married to an elderly groom to keep her warm and safe.

Determined to make a better life for herself, but with no prospects, she follows rumors halfway around the world with the hope of working on Lunar Colony Tranquility. The road is fraught with danger, but she makes her way thousands of kilometers to the Paris Space Elevator, meeting a variety of people along the way, including a family of broken down androids who decide to accompany her. Ella and the androids indenture themselves to the warden as servants and companions for his family.

Other Systems Cover

On Luna, Ella escapes dire poverty, however she must navigate the treacherous paths of life in a place where one misstep can mean disaster. Corrupt guards take comfort from the prison population as the conflicted warden tries to keep the peace. As colony’s relentless hardships intensify, Ella forges an unlikely friendship with the idealistic dreamer, Dr. Ian Whitlatch. The two draw strength from one each other to defeat formidable enemies—hunger, riots, inconsistent supply drops, and the insidious effects of low gravity—and find the strength to build a utopia.

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