A Transhumanist View of Sexual Relations
I love sex. A lot! I'm sure you do too. We are literally built to love it, though many of us have apprehensions about it for a wide variety of reasons. Complicated emotional baggage - both our own and that of others. Social awkwardness, the stresses of courtship, and fear of rejection. Fears of getting knocked up, or knocking someone else up, pills failing, condoms breaking. Fears of getting STDs from a partner, secretly wondering if they're lying to you; or being spurned because you have some incurable disease and wondering if others will still wanna fuck you if you tell them.
Even just seeing or hearing the word "fuck" is enough to collapse some people into a fetal position, rocking on the floor, sucking their thumb like an infant.
There's the fear of getting raped, or being falsely accused of rape, and how that will impact your life. The politics of abortion and the problems of childrearing. Wondering if even being alone in the same room with a member of the opposite sex is safe for fear of what might happen. Worse still if they're a minor (or if you're a minor). So much is packed into sex; and even one tiny mistake, one error in judgment, can fuck you over for the rest of your life.
All this fear stems from issues of trust, or mistrust, as the case may be.
I've often said that trust and communication are the twin pillars of any relationship. That if one fails, the other must bear the full weight of things or there can be no relationship.
As House, M.D. should have taught us, everybody lies. Moreover, everyone has reason to lie, which is small comfort when coupled with all the things I just listed above (and still more left unsaid) that work to erode our sense of trust in prospective sexual partners. A situation not made any better - and indeed made infinitely worse - by the recent flood of allegations of sexual harassment, assault, rape, and pedophilia unleashed in recent weeks and months.
The bad news is, I don't see this situation as getting any better anytime soon.
Before I progress with this article, I feel compelled to point out - just in case there were any doubts - that sexually-based offenses are especially heinous, as Law & Order: SVU taught us. Pretty much everyone who's not a sociopath or psychopath should all be in agreement that such behaviors are bad and ought to be condemned.
"Consent makes the law between the parties," as the legal maxim goes.
Likewise, I think we all agree, or should all agree - assuming we're not partisan ideologues - that the real-world practice of processing sex crimes is incredibly messy. For the victims, there's the immediate emotional paralysis and confusion coupled with societal pressures and the need to gather evidence and establish credibility because "he-said, she-said" isn't gonna cut it, and unfortunately we're not mind readers.
It's difficult for either side - and well it should be difficult for the truly guilty party, but how do we know who is telling the truth?
On the one hand, we're told loudly and often to believe women. Really? All women always? If you think that, are you saying women never lie? Never do things vindictively or out of spite? Never would accuse someone falsely to punish them for other real or perceived injuries, or even to avoid facing personal embarrassment for regret sex (or anything else for that matter)? That women never act irrationally or maliciously, never experience hypergamy, or exploit their sexuality just to pan for a bit of gold?
I'd say that's too generous (or too naive).
Again, that's not to downplay the real victims, of which there are many (and indeed, far many more than we know), but it's not so simple as one side is always right all the time without question. For one thing, who should we believe in the Mariah Carey scandal?
One of the benefits of not revealing my gender identity online is that any would-be critics can't call me a sexist or internalized misogynist / misandrist for such comments. At least not without looking extremely foolish, since they don't what I am (at least at the time of my writing this). So they would be triggered by my arguments and thrust into cognitive dissonance. If they tried to attack me instead of my arguments, they would only reveal themselves as irrational partisan ideologues.
Of course, a more generous interpretation of the line "we should believe women" would be to say we should believe victims regardless of their gender (or alleged victims if you wanna get technical), because both men and women rape and get raped and lie and are lied about. But that's an equally problematic statement. All victims always? Indeed, we should have sympathy for the difficulty victims of sexual abuse face, for the courage it takes to come forward, and believe them ... but only if they're telling the truth.
Again, how do we know who's telling the truth?
"One is not credited unless they are sworn," but people lie under oath all the time and polygraphs aren't reliable, so in most cases, justice remains undone. Microexpressions help a bit, but the technique's not quite ready for court just yet as it's still imperfect in many ways, and countered by still others.
On the flip side, we should obviously disavow and punish sexual offenders as the garbage humans that they are; but it's an unfortunate state of affairs in our society that to be accused is to be convicted. One might be acquitted of a crime, but they can never be unaccused, and so that impression will always remain in the minds of the public, even if they were truly innocent all along. Such a stain on a person's reputation can continue to taint them for the rest of their lives. For this reason, it's important that we encourage victims to come forward, but only if they are telling the truth. To do otherwise only serves to hurt genuine victims by casting doubt and making it harder to believe them.
Then there's the messy business of consent and the nebulous concept of what constitutes an offense.
Just to take one dimension as an example, we're told often and loudly that a woman can't give consent if she's drunk. That if a guy has sex with her while she's drunk, that that's rape.
Ok, fair enough, but what about if the man is drunk and the woman is not? You don't hear a lot of feminists talking about that, do you? Surely, he can't consent either under such circumstances, so did she rape him? In that case, and by the same logic, she'd be the one at fault and he would be the victim, right?
"No, because he's a man and power and patriarchy and hierarchy and rape culture and ..."
Shut up! Just shut up and go away, you screeching harpies. You're not helping anyone with this.
I'd call you autistic, but that's an insult to people with autism, so you'll just have to settle for man-hating scum instead. You are part of the problem and why there's so much mistrust between the sexes at the moment. You are the corollary to people who think women are objects to be used, in that you seek to dehumanize men by treating them as mindless automatons in a collective. So just shut up and go away. Fuck off to some far away place like Saudi Arabia for a while and kill two birds with one stone. Believe me, the women there would be far more appreciative of your activism.
Returning to our example ...
What if they're both drunk and have sex? By that same logic, neither of them could consent, so did they rape each other?! How does that work, exactly? It's sort of impossible for that to happen, since the key factor in determining rape is consent, and if neither party is objecting, but both are actually actively participating, then that would suggest mutual consent. Or do we punish them both? Is that really fair?
Wouldn't justice suggest that them paying the stupid tax in terms of regret sex be the just consequences of them both getting sloshed? But then, if that's the case, we can't really blame drunkenness as the problem, so it must be something else.
Maybe you say that it doesn't work the same if both are drunk versus if only one of them is drunk; and sure, ok. There's a certain kind of logic to that. But doesn't the person who got drunk at least have some culpability as a moral agent? It's not like we don't know what happens when you drink in excess.
While the not-drunk person is clearly in the wrong, isn't the drunk person at least the proximate cause? Because it's not like you got slipped a roofie. You chose to impair your own judgment in as much as we don't feel bad for people who make other stupid decisions. Should people who get drunk not be held accountable for the fact that, if you get fucked up, it'll severely impair your judgment and one of the consequences of that is you might get further fucked up?
"Who sins while drunk shall be punished when sober." ~ Legal Maxim
We hold drunken wife beaters and child abusers responsible. We hold drunk drivers responsible. We hold Kevin Spacey responsible. So is being drunk an excuse or not? Do you apply consistent principles, or are you just being a partisan ideologue who favors your own side over the other?
You see how complicated this all gets? And that's just one dimension among countless issues that factor into our sexual relationships.
Or maybe that's just because he's a white man, regardless of how gay or straight,
drunk or sober, innocent or not he might be?
Notice how vocal George Takei was until he faced accusations of his own and then how quickly he started making what seem like equally weak excuses (being drunk, can't remember, Russian bots, etc.) and how quickly people turned on him for that. Same with Ben Affleck, Johnny Depp, Louis CK, and many more.
I'm not a mind-reader, so I can't say with any kind of certainty what the truth is in these situations. I wasn't there when it happened. At best, I can only stand by the principle of innocent until proven guilty, and let the judiciary do its job in sorting it all out as well as anyone can.
Personally, I find this all deeply troubling. I liked a lot of these people, despite disagreeing with them on certain things. If they're guilty, justice demands they be punished like anyone else and I can't let my affections for them prejudice morality; but more than anything, I find all this terribly tragic and damaging to social trust.
Again, I don't see this as getting any better. If anything, I think it'll get a lot, lot worse.
More victims will come forward and expose offenders, and that's a good thing, but it'll have profound ripple effects on society as a whole and our consciences. Not to mention, there's also the bandwagon effect and just vindictive, hurtful people who will create a plethora of false accusations to defame the reputations of otherwise innocent men and women. The flood gates will be flung open and it'll be a nightmare trying to ride the current and wade through all the muck to get at the truth, let alone justice.
As sad as it may be, I can't shake the feeling that a wedge is being driven between men and women because of shit like this. Women will continue to double-down on their mistrust of men, keeping their distance, becoming more radical in their feminism for fear (rightly or wrongly) of abuse. Men in turn will see being with a woman as too risky and also keep their distance, becoming more radical MGTOWs for fear (rightly or wrongly) of entrapment or just being in a compromising situation where they either lose control or prey upon others or however you wanna phrase it.
(Probably some mix of both, if we're being honest.)
Right, I promised you a transhumanist view on the topic, so we'll touch on that now.
My feeling is that things will begin slowly at first, with society becoming more socially conservative. Best case scenario, we adopt more strict customs like what Stefan Molyneux has advised - a return to bygone practices that serve as supervision, impulse control, and delay of sexual gratification, all of which went away following the sexual revolution. Worst case scenario in the short-term, society becomes partly or wholly segregated along gender lines akin to regressive fundamentalist religious societies as Scott Adams has predicted could happen.
Even as I write this, Paul Joseph Watson just put up a video echoing the same sentiment, with such puritanical standards being called for by the far left, of all people:
How often do you see the far left and the far right agree on anything, let alone something as bleak and terrifyingly regressive as the idea that we need to turn the clocks back on social interactions?
PJW's admonition that innocent men not give in to the collective guilt levied by collectivist feminists is well and good, but may not be enough in the end. Again, as he himself said earlier in the video, and I said earlier in this post, to be accused is to be found guilty. Some men, many men, will probably cave in to their demands, not wanting to risk their reputations and livelihoods; and the sex-negative feminists and the religious right will only further fan the flames in that direction.
Isolation and abstinence will lead some down the path of predation, as we're seeing in Europe, wherein many migrant men from regressive cultures succumb to their lust and their will to dominate, resulting in apologetically-named "sexual emergencies," known to any sane, moral individual as rape, sexual assault, and pedophilia.
The fear, mistrust, and isolation between the sexes will, I feel, be a negatively-compounding downward spiral in terms of human sexual relations.
Herein enters the technology.
We all still have sexual desires, and I don't know about you, but I can hardly go a day without getting off at least once, even if that means having to do it myself if my partner(s) won't; but in such a dystopian future as what's looming on the horizon, it'll be too risky for many to have normal human interactions (or even if it's not, it'll certainly feel that way). So some will be driven to find alternative solutions. Among the most likely are advances in VR, augmented reality, online porn / porn video games, and sexbots.
To some extent, we're already seeing the emergency of this, and a great deal of pushback as well, with the far left suggesting such technology serves to create unrealistic standards of beauty, objectifying women, and encouraging the sexual subjugation of women to men, with fembots being seen as a threat to female independence; while the far right decries this detachment as a breakdown in traditional social values and customs such as marriage or family, or at least serving as a replacement for men.
Suffice to say, it's a double-edged sword that cuts both ways. The polarization of the issue is merely an exercise in confirmation bias.
In another strange union of opposites, the far left and far right both generally seem to believe that violent video games and violent fiction lead to an increase in criminality, but the reality is, this is not only patently false, but the exact opposite is true.
The reason for it is not actually all that surprising.
It may be tempting at first blush to think that exposure and indulgence in fantasy violence encourages violent behavior; but in truth, if there is some innate, immutable part of our being that craves violence, giving it an outlet in a fictional realm where no real human beings are harmed is actually quite healthy and productive.
If you've ever played a Sims game, a first-person shooter, GTA, or even Dungeons 3, you know what I'm talking about. Chances are, you've done some sociopathic shit in-game that you'd never in your wildest dreams imagine yourself capable of doing in real life. Whatever rage you're feeling inside, you get to project onto a digital victim, while real humans remain unharmed and largely unaware. It's cathartic and you feel a lot better afterwards, which is why people do it.
I don't see a lot of people randomly murdering the police as a result of playing Assasssin's Creed, for instance.
Obviously, it's better to deal with our emotions head-on if at all possible; but when you can't do that, ask yourself this question. Would you rather someone take out their aggression on you or on a few pixels?
Even if you dislike violent media, I think we all would agree taking it out on the pixels is better.
The evidence actually bears this out. It's why prisons give televisions and video games to criminals in prison. It's less about making sure they're living comfortably and more about giving them something to occupy their time so they're less tempted to lash out on property and people in their frustrated rage of being trapped in a case. We know from history that bread and circus pacifies angry mobs.
In a similar way, if someone is trapped hormonally within their own body, undergoing a "sexual emergency," would you rather they take it out on a sex toy or a real live human being? You don't see a lot of feminists complaining about dildos, do you? So then why should they care if men prefer sexy robots? Women certainly enjoy them, even if they're still in the uncanny valley.
As Lauren Southern put it, women of quality have no need to fear being replaced by robots:
Most likely, all the bad people will probably have sex bots of their own,
as they're slowly ostracized from the rest of civilized society.
I would expand on Lauren's sentiment to say that's equally true of both sexes. In terms of your looks, personality, values, ideology, preference, and various other factors of human existence, if you are someone of quality, you could probably still have a quality interpersonal relationship. And somewhat more charitably than Lauren and Faith probably meant it, it would be an end to feminism in the sense that technology would be a great equalizer of people, leading to less of a need for feminism since the problems are solved by it.
So what about people not of quality? Well, whether you're quality or not, the good news is that, long-term, sexbots and augmented reality will benefit you in several ways.
Firstly, you don't have to worry about getting raped or charged with rape from those things. The tools are completely under your control as glorified dildos and pocket pussies. They don't have real human consciousness, real baggage, real trust issues or apprehensions. They don't get jealous or drunk, and if they do, it's all pretend anyway, and most likely because you were looking to dabble in a little BDSM. They won't beat you or force themselves on you if you're not in the mood. And, while they might still smell a bit, and wear, and break down overtime, it won't be as bad as the mental and physical illnesses, disease, decay, aging, and annoyances of real human beings.
Secondly, your own quality doesn't matter to them. Your sex toys won't be prejudicial. You can be a fat, ugly, nasty piece of shit, a total garbage human, or a social outcast, and your sexy techie toys will give you an orgasm all the same and never say no. You can rape and beat them if you like, and they will take it like a champ, without taking you to court, much like the army of pixels you just genocided in DOTA 2.
Eventually, within the next fifty to a hundred years, we'll have AI good enough to program custom personalities and quirks to be compatible with your own.
Thirdly, you'll be able to trade up and fuck outside your range. You want your very own Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie? In a few decades from now, you'll be able to have it. You'll even be able to have full on orgies in whatever kinky, fetishistic, or pansexual fluid experiments you want, regardless of the sexual desires and orientations of the originals.
Fourth, you can let your fantasies run wild. This, in my opinion, is where transhumanist sexuality will overtake conventional sexuality. I'll leave the full potential to your imagination (in part, because I'm not nearly as wild and weird as your inner freak), but to give you an idea of what I'm talking about, I'm personally partial to the idea of nine-foot-tall shapeshifters with demon horns that I can grab and ride like handlebars. Ya know, things you can't actually get in real life even under the best circumstances.
(I'm sure PornHub can help supplement your understanding if need be.)
Anyways, these are but a few of the upsides to transhumanist sexuality. Couple them with the fact that we'll also have technology to allow people to augment their bodies to be whatever ideal version of themselves they want, and a lot more people will feel comfortable settling into some niche.
If you think we're a degenerate society now, just wait until we can dive into cyber-bodies.
At this point, you're probably thinking the robot sexual revolution sounds pretty good - and by and large, it'll be really, really good for a lot of people ... for a while. But there's a down side to it. A dark side. Such individual freedom comes at a steep price socially and existentially, and it's a Pandora's Box that, once opened, can't be resealed. The bad news is, we've probably already opened it, so we may as well ride the wave and hope we don't face-plant on the shores of future tragedy.
Indeed, I used to think the robot revolution was nothing but utopia until I saw the movie Obsolete. The same issues they raise apply here.
As I conveyed in the built up, the shift to transhumanist sex will be born out of mistrust for our fellow human beings, and that's not something transhumanism can fix. Humans are flawed by their nature. We're imperfect. There's a reason we switch them out for robots in the workforce. It's because they're not suited to purpose. They make mistakes - innocently or not - and that is unacceptable to us if we have the means to render such mistakes unnecessary.
The same is true, or will be, with regards to interpersonal interactions. If we have the technology to fulfill our needs, why wouldn't we use it? It'd be reckless and masochistic to do otherwise.
"Nature aspires towards perfection," as the saying goes, and so do we, since we're part of Nature.
But just as we wouldn't think of going back to the days of using humans for most labor, we won't return to peer-to-peer interactions either, which will only further inure our mistrust of organic people when compared to their cybernetic or wholly-mechanical counterparts.
What the future of sex will look like is hard to say. It could be like Tron: Legacy or it could be like Vice. It could be like Gattaca with humans undergoing eugenics and being born in a lab, or it could be like Blade Runner in which people bang replicants. Maybe it'll even be like Weird Science or that one episode of Batman Beyond or Futurama in which we essentially 3-D print ourselves a perfect partner.
Sadly, one of the more likely visions of the future is to be found in Demolition Man:
Of course, the way the scene is portrayed, we're supposed to feel bad for John Spartan. He's from our timeline, our world, in which peer-to-peer sex is the norm. We relate to him more than we relate to aptly-named Lenina Huxley.
Like most of you, I don't want to see that go away if at all possible, but the part we're left to piece together are all the events that led to the transition from his world to hers. In the context of the film, much of that is socially-engineered by Dr. Cocteau, but we don't know what other factors might have otherwise contributed to such a cultural shift.
For instance, we know what AIDS is, but we don't know what NRS or UBT are. Are they another hoax created by the fear-mongering Dr. Cocteau or are they a legitimately terrifying dystopian epidemic that would scare people out of having sex? Speaking for myself, the threat of even current STDs is horrifying enough to get me to use protection, let alone these others, regardless of how rarely they might actually be transmitted in reality.
Add to that all this business we're seeing in the media about actual sexual assault, let alone the mind's capacity to expound upon it and make it seem that much worse. I know I'm not helping in that regard, and believe me, I'd love nothing more than for someone to talk me out of it; but deep down, you know I'm right about this.
Aside from rampant paranoia of fellow humans, the transhumanist sexual revolution will also include side effects such as a general breakdown in families and cultural traditions. Some of that may be good, but a lot of it won't be. At least not to those who care about preserving such things. It depends on what the trade-off is, and if we wind up with something better in exchange.
Some people enjoy watching Primitive Technology videos, for instance, but only from the comfort of behind their screens. Like the Huxleyan savage reservations, they may give us an appreciation for our relative privileged existence, but the reality of such a life is truly harsh and we'll quickly remember why we abandoned it in favor of modern convenience.
As concerns families, the whole point of families, like anything else, is to aid in survival of the species. So far as we know, robots still won't be able to replicate the same growth and reproductive abilities as humans, despite advances in artificial sperm, womb transplants, and the like. Even if we make major breakthroughs like helping transexual people to overcome the unfortunate problem of sterility, they're at least mostly organic to begin with, unlike robots.
If society becomes physically detached between members of the opposite sex, we'll be seeing people bred in labs to combat a trend in global population reduction and the threat of human extinction. That may be true regardless of whether we take the Ghost in the Shell path to become cyborgs, or the Gattaca path to use CRISPR:
If you value naturalism and identity, you can add that to the list of problems as well. If you're a social conservative and care about a devolution into degeneracy, there's that too. Even if you're not; even if you're a social liberal who thinks society is far too prudish and uptight as it is, you can still appreciate the notion that such a thing could eventually be taken too far, leading to a Rat Utopia wherein people just hedonistically hook up to a dopamine drip and drug themselves into extinction.
Much has been made of the importance of family for the rearing of healthy human beings as a social species; but part of me wonders if that's really true or if it's simply nostalgia. Another form of savage reservation - to be engaged in as a novelty, rather than necessity.
A lot of people say they prefer reading books to reading ebooks, for instance, but most of those people were raised on books, whereas it's conceivable a younger generation could grow up only ever reading from digital sources, accomplishing the same goal of knowledge transfer and vicarious experience, while making a convincing argument that paper and ink is a gross waste of resources with little to no practical benefit.
(Not saying it is or isn't, just saying you can make the case for it.)
Would families and social interaction be the same way? Most of us would say so, if judged by our actions and how much time we spend online.
Another concern with this transhumanist trajectory is that people will become emotionally distant and isolated - even more-so than they already are thanks to social media. It's already become something of a trope that people sitting in the same room all have their faces planted in their phones. If you could get the same physical and emotional stimulus from an ideal robot partner, would you necessarily need to interact with organic people at all?
I don't know about you, but I can think of many instances where I have a deeper connection with someone I know only from the internet or a book, versus someone I have personal interaction with in the real world. Sure, it'd be better if we could have the best of both worlds, but short of that, long-distant contact is better than bad (even abusive) in-person contact or none at all. At the end of the day, isn't that the important part?
My take is that human interaction serves as an amplifier to your emotional energy levels. If you feel good, hanging out with friends makes you feel on top of the world. If you're feeling lousy, being around people could be enough to ruin your day. Sometimes you may even get a person who comes along and completely flips your mood around, for better or worse.
All that's true whether it's online or in-person. Those who've ever experienced the dopamine high of a new notification or the frustration of dealing with internet trolls know what I mean. We are a highly-programmable species.
I'm a child of the internet age too. We all are at this point - well, most of us anyways - though some are more entrenched in it than others. Still, most people would agree there's a danger in going too far down that road if it leads to things like Closed Shell Syndrome or the society from Wall-E:
Not sure if you caught it, but there's a scene in the video in which a robot is shown indoctrinating children to accept their lord and master Buy n Large. Obviously, such a prospect should terrify all who stop to think about it; but is that necessarily our destiny?
For one thing, that far into the future, one would expect we'd all have wireless cyber implants in our brains. Ok, sure, that's a strawman. I get that it's a visual shorthand for the overarching idea of centralized learning from machine overlords. But why would machines be narcissistic unless we programmed them with it? More likely, we'd program them to be skeptical, and to teach us skepticism as well, since that's how science works.
A great deal of valuable things I've learned, I learned online, and that includes things like morality and peaceful parenting. Most parents, let's be frank, are not the best of parents. They're often vain, broken, narcissistic, ideological, impatient, dealing with emotional baggage, instead of logic and reason. They might claim to be doing the best they can - and indeed many of them might actually be doing just that - but even in the best-case scenario, it's still imperfect because we mere mortals lack knowledge on how to do this parenting thing better, and there's only so much tim in the day to learn, so again, technology seems like it would help with that.
For all our political talk of the need for government schools, I've long said that systems like Khan Academy will completely obviate the need for such programs. The government seems more akin to an indoctrination camp at that point, desperately clinging to relevance, posing as your friend. So if, even now, we're all connected to the internet anyway, could we eventually program humans with positive courses like that?
Could robots help us to think better and more freely, instead of merely being Borg-like indoctrination centers? If so, then again, what need have we for families at that point?
By 2047, some futurists predict we'll hit the singularity.
I think that's probably accurate, but even if it's not; even if it takes another fifty or a hundred years beyond that, we'll get there eventually. And what then? We'll all be jacked into the machine like in Transcendence or The Matrix, and so maybe that'll solve the problem of dopamine addiction, as we can just copy our genes like software without having to have sex. We won't even really miss it at that point, and so on one hand, you could claim that humanity will live on and survive; but on the other hand, will we still be human at that point?
Maybe we won't have to worry about reproduction if we can just build robots and live inside them forever as demimortal digi-gods. Maybe humans as we know them will go the way of Neanderthals, to be replaced by a new and superior species better capable of adapting to its environment. So maybe in that sense, humans will be obsolete and are destined for extinction either way.
Such existential questions dominate my thoughts and keep my up at night writing articles like this. It saddens me that so few people are willing to even talk about them.
There will still be a place for humans having organic relationships built on trust, even after the robot sexual revolution, but it won't be the same as it is now. It'll be rarer. How much, I can't say. Will it be an improvement, I also can't say; but I'd have to imagine that, if it wasn't, we wouldn't be going down that road in the first place.
Maybe like the sexual revolution, we'll one day come to find that the transhumanist revolution was a mistake, but the ghost in my shell tells me otherwise. That transhumanism is here to stay.