Sunday, January 27, 2013

Does Being With a Robot Make You Feel Better?

It just gets scarier.

So, I've been reading Shelly Turkle's Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, which maps the progression we're currently undergoing from, say, real life to the online personas that tend to freak me out, being a constriction and dampening down of reality in my view. And I am a big proponent of reality, even if it displeases, because...life?

Turkle shares my reservations about prioritizing distance and technology over, say, getting together with friends in physical space--I just did that again today, what a relic!--and in particular, she was not so thrilled with David Levy's Love and Sex With Robots, the premise being...well, you can probably gather it from that title. The stated premise, as quoted from this how (please?) not to guide:

"Love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans."

The sad thing is how many people she talks to who seem not only unhorrified by this thesis, but actually enthused about converting to such a planet. I mean, people are, like, so annoying, the way you have to, like, talk to them and actually respect, like, differences that even though I'm also a people, I'm ready for something with labor-saving attachments. For a loose paraphrase.

I've had a few friends talk to me about the game known as Second Life, also discussed in this book, as if it were, you know, real, at which point I said something to the effect of, "You're mad about someone you've never met but are married to on the internets cheating on you with another avatar and are actually admitting this out loud?" thus closing the conversation.

I know. That sounds judgmental. Because it is. And I feel fine about being a bit judgy on this topic, especially after reading whole passages about one avatar husband--well, he's an avatar who's also married to one, on the internet--but he's also married in real life--who went so far as to say the latter is what has kept his real-life family together, seeing as how Second Life is where he feels more at home, with "Jade," who may or may not even be a woman and who he will never meet and doesn't want to, except for through the screen, the screeeeeeeeeen.

Wow, that sounds just like this internet dating people in NYC seem to swear by, with the notable exception (thank you lord) of men from Brooklyn (from Brooklyn).

Now I know what I've been doing wrong all this time?

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