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Start Date

8-5-2020 12:00 AM

Document Type

Poster Session

Department

English

Advisor

Benjamin Bertram, PhD

Abstract

The “sexbot,” a new product on the market that has artificially intelligent capabilities, allows male consumers to customize their chosen artificial lover, catering to male fantasies and posing a threat to women. As anyone familiar with Ovid’s Pygmalion knows, the hazards of such narcissistic male projections have caused concern for at least two thousand years. Yet, as science fiction writers in recent decades have suggested, new technologies, and artificial intelligence in particular, threaten to make male fantasy more harmful than ever before. This presentation will refer to current social and psychological research such as the essays in John Danaher and Neil McArthur’s Robot Sex and look at influential works of science fiction such as The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood and the film Ex Machina in order to explore the psychology behind the desire for sexbots. Sexbots in both fiction and nonfiction give us a glimpse into a bleak future where human women are mistreated by men due to the ability for artificially intelligent sexbots to reinforce controlling and misogynistic male fantasies.

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May 8th, 12:00 AM

Sexbots, Artificial Intelligence, and Male Fantasy

The “sexbot,” a new product on the market that has artificially intelligent capabilities, allows male consumers to customize their chosen artificial lover, catering to male fantasies and posing a threat to women. As anyone familiar with Ovid’s Pygmalion knows, the hazards of such narcissistic male projections have caused concern for at least two thousand years. Yet, as science fiction writers in recent decades have suggested, new technologies, and artificial intelligence in particular, threaten to make male fantasy more harmful than ever before. This presentation will refer to current social and psychological research such as the essays in John Danaher and Neil McArthur’s Robot Sex and look at influential works of science fiction such as The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood and the film Ex Machina in order to explore the psychology behind the desire for sexbots. Sexbots in both fiction and nonfiction give us a glimpse into a bleak future where human women are mistreated by men due to the ability for artificially intelligent sexbots to reinforce controlling and misogynistic male fantasies.

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