Will Sex Robots Ironically Make Most Men Genetically Obsolete?

Unless mankind redesigns itself by changing our DNA through altering our genetic makeup, computer-generated robots will take over our world.” 

Stephen Hawking

There are more and more headlines about robotics and how they are changing the face of the workplace.  Experts predict that many, if not most, jobs will be replaced by ever-increasingly sophisticated robots which will eventually incorporate artificial intelligence. At the same time we see economic and social trends that are resulting in fewer marriages; and thus fewer births. There is a dramatic social upheaval taking place. Oh, and one other dramatic development…advances in biotechnology and the ability to alter our own DNA. What do all these trends have in common? They will usher in a new way of living, as well as a new way of making humans.

In my recent thriller, “The Destiny of Our Past” (Amazon link here: http://amzn.to/2nrU3Ng ) I present a society that has, ironically, abandoned robotics in favor of relying on creating slaves in the lab to serve both the commoner classes as well as the elite. The reason? It is easier to control people designed out of synthetic DNA than sentient robots. I am not sure which direction we will take in reality but I would bet that we will go the route of using robots as a slave class…one that could ultimately rise up and end humanity.  

Should humans take the advice of Hawking and use genetic enhancement to create a more advanced human that will more intelligent and skilled to make sure robots will never assume power?  It might not be something policy-makers decide to implement, but today’s trends may take us down that path anyway.

For example, why are we seeing so many stories about sex robots lately? Why are companies rushing to make them more advanced, more lifelike, more like real humans? Well, the answer is sex. Sex has a way of getting people to pay attention to a product. When VHS players came out they were relatively expensive. One of the biggest reasons for people to purchase such machines was that it made it possible for a husband and wife to rent a pornographic movie and watch in their living room in anonymity. Secrecy was impossible to insure prior to that. Then when the public use of internet was still in its infancy one big enticement to learn how to install and use the technology was the availability of pornography. And I am sure that once virtual reality is as advanced as the “interactors” in my novel that sex will dominate its use. 

Yet again, how does all this relate to sex robots and the future of humanity?  Well, already we see many young men hesitant to settle down in permanent relationships.  Traditionally, men saw marriage as a socially-approved agreement between two people in which sex was approved and encouraged by God and state. For a variety of reasons men are no longer seeing the benefits as outweighing the possible costs. Once you develop sex robots, real robots that can speak, can perform in the bedroom, and maybe even pick up the proverbial socks on the floor a much higher percentage of men will opt to skip a living, breathing, human partner with real emotions and go for a synthetic substitute instead.  This will leave a gender-gap in which men who wish to settle down and marry will be greatly outnumbered by women desiring the same. 

So assuming that most women will still wish to have children what would the options be? Some might choose polygamy, and others might form polyamorous unions, but many will decide to remain single and go in for sperm donor services. Add to this the growing number of couples in which the husband is infertile and lesbian couples and one can see that males who meet the criteria for contributing their DNA are going to be much busier in a decade or two than they are now.  

Of course, this will normalize the idea of a separation of romance from reproduction. It will also usher in the acceptance of employing technology in the process of making families. So as we get better and better at editing characteristics in, or out, of early-stage embryos, women will avail themselves of these technologies.  If you are already going in to time your ideal ovulation, choose the male donor with the best characteristics you desire, and get artificial insemination or IVF anyway why not take advantage of an upgrade as well? Sure, you might be athletic really bright, and your donor might be an Olympic athlete and have a super-IQ but technology will make it possible to insure your offspring will leap beyond either you or the man you chose to make a baby with. In fact, the children may be designed with traits that benefit other mammals, such as excellent night vision. Nobody said it has to be human DNA; in fact you might even use laboratory-created synthetic DNA. That might even make it easier to create children who stop aging in their 20s and have incredible lifespans…as in the days of Noah?

So what happens when these children grow up and are ready to make the next generation? Most would probably take the upgrades even further.  Who knows what three or four generations of enhancing the already enhanced population would give us.

Oh, and as for the advances in robotics my prediction is that we will soon reach the level of the TV series “Westworld” where the robots are so advanced they start becoming self-aware.  Maybe then a single mother will get a male robot to help take care of the children created with an anonymous sperm donor. And perhaps she might like to be more like him so she could opt for cybernetic replacements the same way people go in today for plastic surgery. I once asked a group of young women the question that if you could remove your brain and put it into a synthetic body would they consider it. Several enthusiastically said would as long as you could have all your senses; well, maybe not eating since that would not be necessary anymore…maybe some sugar and nutrient capsules for your brain functions.

All of these developments would change society in profound ways.  We made tools originally to be able to free ourselves from work, which gave us the ability to create machines to make every day living even easier, although more complex. Now we want to both create machines that we can be intimate with, or even merge into, at the same time we can use our technology to redesign even ourselves. The amazing part is that most science fiction takes for granted that humans will pretty much stay human in the future.  I am not so sure they have considered the trends taking place today and what they will ultimately usher in.

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