Beyond sex robots: Erobotics explores erotic human-machine interaction

Beyond sex robots: Erobotics explores erotic human-machine interaction

Science fiction films such as Blade Runner (1982), Lars and the Real Girl (2007) and Her (2013) explore the advent of human-machine relationships. And in recent years, reality has met fiction.

Powered by advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and social robotics, artificial social agents are learning to communicate, learn and socialize, transforming our societies. Yet research on human-machine interaction is still in its early stages, particularly in the areas of intimacy and sexuality.

In addition to our research on the topic, we have also been involved in spearheading initiatives to remedy the lack of knowledge on intimate human-machine relationships. In this spirit, we organized the first colloquium on erobotics at the 87th Annual Congress of the Association Francophone pour le Savoir. There, researchers discussed various themes ranging from media and gender representations of sexual technologies to their medical and therapeutic potential.

A new erotic revolution

Interestingly, intimacy and sexuality may just be some of the most important areas to consider when it comes to the AI revolution, because new advanced technologies increase the possibilities of human interaction with artificial erotic agents or erobots.

The term erobot characterizes all virtual, embodied and augmented artificial erotic agents, as well as the technologies that produce them. This definition includes — but is not limited to — prototypes of sex robots, virtual or augmented erotic characters, artificial partner applications and erotic chatbots. The word erobot is a portmanteau of erôs (a historically rich philosophical concept referring to love, desire, sensuality and sexuality, bot (a software agent), and robot (a machine capable of autonomously performing complex series of actions). The term erobot is meant to emphasize the agential and relational aspects of new erotic technologies and highlight the fact that artificial agents are becoming social actors in their own right.

More than sex robots

One of the most (in)famous type of erobot is the human-like sex robot. However, sex robots represent only a fraction of what erobots are and can be as a result of the advancement, combination and the interconnectivity of new technologies. For example, progress made in conversational agents (programs that interprets and responds to users in ordinary natural languages), soft robotics (a field that constructs robots similar to living organisms), cloud computing and virtual and augmented reality will increasingly expose humans to new kinds of erotic partners.

These partners will be able to manifest themselves through various interfaces such as cellphones, computers, gaming consoles and virtual reality equipment. They will be able to take a variety of forms and enact unlimited behaviours in simulated worlds. The ability to think and learn in fundamentally different ways than humans will allow for a wide new range of intimate human-machine relationships, redefining what it means to fall in love and have sex with artificial beings.

In the 2013 film Her, the protagonist develops a relationship with his operating system.

And that, in itself, should be considered an erotic revolution. It is also the ground for the creation of a new research field called Erobotics.

The study of human-erobot interactions

Erobotics is an emerging field of transdisciplinary research exploring our interaction with artificial erotic agents, as well as the technology that produces them. Erobotics focuses on the social, relational and agential aspects of artifical agents and the fact that we increasingly treat them as social actors in their own rights.

Not only the use of advanced technology in sex and relationship, but the artificial erotic beings that emerge from these kinds of technologies.

Erobotics develops theoretical, experimental and clinical research methods to study all phenomena related to human-erobot interactions. The field is interested in questions such as: What kinds of relationships will we develop with artificial agents? How will erobots transform our erotic minds and behaviors and influence our relationships? What regulations should be implemented regarding erobots?

As it has been suggested regarding the employment of sex toys, dolls, and robots, Erobotics operates under sexuality and technology positive frameworks. This means that Erobotics emphasizes the importance of pleasure, freedom and diversity. Erobotics also aims to develop technologies that improve our well-being and guide the development of artificial erotic agents. Moreover, Erobotics is concerned with the ethical and social implications of erobots: for instance, who should be allowed to interact with erobots, what forms and behaviors should be possible and how will they transform our social norms regarding sexuality and intimacy?

Future applications of erobots

Erobots could have applications in health, education and research.

Erobots could be used for individuals who have trouble finding partners, who may prefer artificial agents or simply want to experience pleasure. Erobots could also be used in medical and therapeutic settings to help with intimacy-related fears and anxiety or to help trauma victims get reacquainted with their body and sexuality.

Erobots could be employed for exploration and practice to help people discover their erotic preferences. They could also be developed to provide validated interactive sex education and help people learn about respect, consent, diversity and mutuality in an innovative way.

Erobots could be used as standardized research tools to help researchers overcome ethical and methodological challenges related to sensitive research programs. They could act as both stimuli and recording instrument in research protocols and reduce risks associated with human-human erotic interactions.

Erobotics incorporates a positive sexuality approach, exploring questions that include other ethical and regulatory approaches to human-technology interactions. Shutterstock

Transdisciplinary futures

But ultimately, to harness erobots’ potential, we must build transdisciplinary collaborations to tackle the complex phenomena related to erobotics. This means bringing inputs from across disciplines — from computer engineering and programming to social sciences and humanities — as well as bridging academia and the private sector.

A collaborative future is the key to develop erobots that contribute to our individual and collective well-being.

https://theconversation.com/beyond-sex-robots-erobotics-explores-erotic-human-machine-interactions-118555 

At the bottom of web page some other interesting articles on sex robots to link to and read.

Reminder-Next Tuesday-Oct 15-The Erotic Literary Salon Live / Adult Sex Ed, Is There A Universal Sexual Desire?

Hope to see you all Tuesday; planning another evening of shared verbal pleasure and sex education.

Dr. Marty Klein in typical fashion, educates his interviewer by dispelling myths. The only suggestion – (1) I don’t agree with, since people with responsive libidos don’t always know if they are interested in sex until they are sexually aroused. More on libidos in my forth coming book, Does Sex Have an Expiration Date?

Is There A Universal Sexual Desire?

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I was on a podcast yesterday when the interviewer (call her Claire) said something like “Well, of course everyone wants to feel connected during sex.”

“No,” I replied.

“Well, no grownup really wants sex to be like, just two bodies hammering away at each other.”

Again I disagreed: “Sometimes grownups do,” I said.

She was both exasperated and curious. “Well, if connection isn’t the universal thing people want from sex, what is?”

“There isn’t a universal thing that everyone wants from sex,” I said. She was incredulous. “Not love, not pleasure, not gentleness, not roughness, certainly not reproduction, there are no universal desires involved in sex,” I continued. “Not in our time or place, not in another time or place, not ever, nowhere.”

“Then why,” Claire asked, “if connection isn’t a universal desire in sex, why else would someone bother to have sex?” (Note: we were talking strictly about consensual sex.)

“People have sex for a jillion different reasons,” I said. “In fact, the same person may have sex for very different reasons during the course of a month, and certainly during the course of a lifetime.” She asked me to name some, so I did. Here are reasons that people have sex that don’t involve emotional connection:

~ Expressing or experiencing autonomy;
~ Wanting to feel manly or womanly;
~ Validating one’s heterosexuality, homosexuality, or other sexual identity;
~ Wanting to feel graceful, adequate, youthful, or normal;
~ Wanting to acquire power
~ Wanting a physically intense experience
~ Wanting to feel or be creative
~ Wanting to forget about or contradict one’s last sexual experience
~ Wanting to feel aroused
~ …and of course, raw physical pleasure

“That’s quite a list,” Claire acknowledged. “But sex without emotional connection is meaningless,” she said.

“Yes, for some people it would be,” I said. “But sex itself is meaningless. We give it meaning. Or to put it differently, people try to arrange sex that is meaningful to them. What that involves is different from one person to another; it can even be different for the same person from one sexual episode to the next.”

“But sex has to have meaning,” she said.

“Why?” I asked. “Why do we assume sex has meaning, or should have? And further, why do we assume that what makes sex meaningful to Mary will make it meaningful to Leticia? People go out to dinner for different reasons, they buy cars for different reasons, get a dog for different reasons, and go to the gym for different reasons. And those reasons may change over time. Why should sex be any different?”

“Because sex is different,” she said.

“That’s a common cultural idea,” I said. “Sexual exceptionalism: that we need special ethics for sex, special decision-making for sex, special spirituality for sex. And a special meaning-making psychology for sex. But that just isn’t true,” I emphasized. “Sex is like everything else in life, only different.”

We approach sex with all the life skills we have, which are rarely enough. We bring our willingness or hesitation to communicate; our acceptance or rejection of our bodies; our shame or pride about who we are; our fears or comfort about men or women; and our beliefs about how much people can be trusted, just to name a few.

Everyone having sex does it while being an imperfect human (living in an imperfect body). Feeling ashamed (or angry) to be imperfect interferes with sexual relaxation and enjoyment just as it interferes with parenting, friendship, and other significant activities. Judging or rejecting ourselves isn’t something we save for sex—for those so inclined, it’s a 24-hour option.

My interviewer Claire had one more question, a common and deceptively simple-sounding one: “What’s one tip you have to help a person have fantastic sex?”

“Oh, I’d never try to help someone have fantastic sex,” I replied. “My advice is to give up that dream, and instead to desire sex that’s more enjoyable. And here’s how I would advise people to make sex more enjoyable:”

(1) Don’t do it when you don’t want to, or when you’re too tired;
(2) Accept your body exactly as it is;
(3) Tell your partner one thing he or she doesn’t know about your sexuality or your body; and
(4) Relax.

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Press Release-October 15-The Erotic Literary Salon-Adult Sex Ed

Philadelphia’s Erotic Literary Salon / Adult Sex-/Ed -Live, Tuesday, October 15.

PCSalons@gmail.com– contact: Susana Mayer, Ph.D., Founder and Host,

www.theEroticliterarysalon.com– guidelines for reading.

www.theEroticliterarysalon.com– blog: events, Salon notices, erotica, and guidelines.

The Erotic Literary Salon will be held Tuesday, October 15. The evening will start with Adult Sex-Ed Salon, a one-hour program devoted to sex and sexuality. The audience will have the opportunity to pose any questions regarding sex and sexuality anonymously. Sexologist Susana Mayer, PhD, along with co-host Walter will facilitate the Adult Sex-Ed Salon and attendees interested in sharing their knowledge and experiences will join in the discussion. This is always an extremely lively, audience driven Q & A period.

PHILADELPHIA: Since 2008, The Erotic Literary Salon, unique in the English-speaking world has launched a growing movement mainstreaming erotica. Salons attract a supportive audience of 60 or more individuals. Approximately 10-15 attendees participate as writers, readers, storytellers, spoken-word performers of original works. The audience has the opportunity to participate sometimes reading sexuality quotes from various books or they can just listen, enjoy and applaud. The attendees also have the opportunity to create caption for erotic cartoon specifically designed for the Salon. Sign-up to read at the door; guidelines can be found at the Salon’s website.

 

Salons gather the 3rd Tuesday of every month atTIME (The Bohemian Absinthe Lounge), 1315 Sansom Street, Center City, Philadelphia. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., for cocktails, food and conversation. Adult Sex-Ed between 7:00-8:00, readings begin at approximately 8:30- till approximately 10:30. Admission is $12, discounted for students and seniors to $10. Salon attendees must be 21.

 

Creator of this event, Dr. Susana, is Philadelphia’s best-known sexologist. She lends her voice to the Salon by offering relevant information to support the discussions that arise in the Salon and blog.

 

…surprisingly comfortable….Salon devotees praise her for the space she has created….”

“I think Susana is doing a very brave thing.”

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 10, 2010

 

“There are laughter and tears along with the hot rush of blood – to the face.”

Daily News, March 15, 2010

 

“I never knew such a life of honesty could exist. I finally found a home I can be comfortable in…this event changed my life.”

First-time attendee and reader 2013

 

“First time attending but I really enjoyed myself, great crowd, love the transparency and openness. Looking forward to next month with great anticipation.”

First-time attendee 2018

 

“Finding my voice in such an amazing community has been such a light in my life. I’m feeling whole and full of love.

Attendee 2019

 

Last Day-Sept 22- Reserve Seat-Between the Sheets: Table Talk Series

Special $75 offer has been extended. Tomorrow is the last day to reserve your seat (must pay in order to reserve)- see below for details.

Evenings of Taboo Table Talk: How to Please and Be Pleasured – September 24, 6pm-9pm

You are invited to be part of a community interested in developing their optimal sexuality. Discussions will be based on thought-provoking questions from attendees. The goal is to eliminate shame and normalize the joy of sexual pleasure through examination and discussion. Susana Mayer, PhD, founder and host of the Erotic Literary Salon, will facilitate the evening. Susana will introduce her “sand box” homework (pleasure behind closed doors,) which she suggests to all her clients.

The focus of the evening is on topics usually considered taboo at the dinner table. Please email your questions (pcsalons@gmail.com) or come prepared with a question in mind to be submitted anonymously.

Come with an open mind, open heart and empty belly. There will be 3+ courses of aphrodisiac inspired yumminess. CBD infusion will be provided for lacing your food and/or drink. (You may opt out of CBD infusion, but price remains the same.) Food accommodations cannot be made for allergies, intolerances or preferences.

Bring your own libation of choice. Selection of non-alcoholic beverages provided.

* Payment is non-refundable $75 

Download the Venmo App for payment – https://venmo.com/Secret-Table

Payment includes:
3+ course dinner (Food accommodations cannot be made for allergies, intolerances or preferences)
Non-alcoholic beverages
CBD infusion (You may opt out of CBD infusion, but price remains the same.)
Admission to the Erotic Literary Salon, one free reserved seat worth $24.
Goody bag
A few secret surprises
Discussion on Optimal Sexuality

PLUS

Email consultation with Susana Mayer, Ph.D. – one question will be answered worth $50-75 dollars

Free Samples

Free raffle ticket for $50 Gift Certificate from Passional https://www.passionalboutique.com/passional/.

Free raffle to win 2 tickets for entry to Tantra class from Connect-om, aka Dvora and Paul, “Partnered Pleasure Meditation” held in Mt. Airy, October 19.

Attendance to the event will be limited to the first 32 people to pay via Venmo app; please reserve your seats early.
* Seats will only be reserved with full payment.

Proud sponsors of this event:
The Erotic Literary Salon – https://www.theEroticliterarysalon.com
Secret Table – https://www.meetup.com/meetup-group-DJNmusxS/

* Important information