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Based on this question's answers, for "fembots" not causing a Singularity, they need to be "primitive".

Physically, they are weak, sluggish and not that dexterous. They can carry around objects, but they cannot clean nor cook. They can easily be knocked down, even by a kid. Their surface texture has distinct "artificial" feel to it and their "sexual" abilities are "acceptable" for most (single) men. Intelligence-wise, they are no better than modern virtual assistants. They can hold simple conversations, but anything more complicated will confuse them. Something like more advanced chatbot. So best they can do is to remember when their owner returns home, know his favorite food, and order that favorite food so it arrives right after he returns home.

The question is same : How would this artificial companion change society? How much would they cost, so that manufacturer can gain profit?

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closed as too broad by Youstay Igo, Aify, James, Zxyrra, Anketam Feb 20 '17 at 22:31

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ So kinda like a blow-up doll with a built-in Siri? :) $\endgroup$ – Erik Feb 20 '17 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ ¨They are weak, sluggish and not that dexterous¨ ¨their sexual abilities are acceptable" There is a big contradiction here,Anyways thanks for the tribute :). PS :And honestly i wont pay more than 200 dollars for dangerous sex toy that can damage my genitals. $\endgroup$ – Seraph Myrmidon Feb 20 '17 at 11:52
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexDarkshine Sure it might irrevocably damage my genitals, but it only cost 100 dollars. With a price like that, it would be foolish not to. -_- $\endgroup$ – user2259716 Feb 20 '17 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ Meh... worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/a/71701/7351 $\endgroup$ – apaul Feb 20 '17 at 17:12
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    $\begingroup$ Oh my god. He hasn't seen the video!!! $\endgroup$ – Richard Feb 20 '17 at 18:13
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This could potentially solve an impending disaster

Sex-ratios should be close to 1/1
The sex ratio at birth, if there is no manipulation1:, has been stable and near 1/1 male/female for all populations for centuries. There are usually slightly more males than females born, but it naturally varies up and down (and it is often hard to obtain accurate numbers). Reports as far back as 1710 have been verified to show ratios as high as 1.07 and the European median was 1.059 between 1962-1980, a number which often is used as baseline in studies. We are "currently"2: at a ratio of 1.018 world wide among all living (i.e., not only birth), if one instead look through CIA's fact book from 2013, then the birth numbers varies between 1.03-1.08 for most countries with some extremes both below and over.

Extremely skewed ratios
However, several countries have preference for boys meaning that, with the introduction of gender assessment during pregnancies, girl fetuses have a higher risk abortion and the child mortality for females have been reportedly higher than for boys; an estimated 67-92 million girls were missing in 2001. The fact that many girls are lost at an early age means that the sex ratio skews even more later in life for many countries (something which can be seen in the CIA fact book). In addition, China had a one child policy between 1979-2015 which, in itself is not affecting the sex ratio but together with the preference for boys, has led to an extremely skewed sex ratio.

All in all, the skewed ratio for people in marriageable age exceeds 1.1/1 male/female in many countries and the prognosis is that it will get worse in the future if we do not take action3. Millions of young men will be without a wife and majority of them in countries where having a wife and family is essential in order to be accepted in the society.

Consequences of a skewed sex ratio
The exact consequence of this is very hard to predict. For the women who reaches adulthood in those countries, there are two potential paths: Either they will have their status massively improved and they will be highly pampered in order to select the "right" husband (if they have the option to choose partner) and/or they will have the chance to switch partners as to not get stuck with a bad first choice; or they risk being married at a much younger age than before (if they do not have the option to choose partner), something which most likely will lead to reduced education for women and increased gender based inequalities. In short, the rights and possibilities for women will either increase or decrease significantly, but which direction it will take is hard to say; with the history in mind of how their status has been in most of the areas, it is likely that it is not going to be for the better (although one can always hope).

History suggests that for those men who do not manage to get a wife, they will be social outcasts and have reduced happiness. Studies largely show that most of the crimes is caused by unmarried, low status, young men. It is believed that there will be increased violence, both sexual and non sexual, and increased homicide rates. In short, if we thought terrorism is bad now, just wait and see how easy it will be for radicalist groups to recruit when there are millions of angry, under-educated, young men around.

Gynoids4 as solution
Introducing robots as companions will not solve all of the problems. For those males living in societies where it is highly important to have a family to be accepted, this will likely not be seen as an acceptable alternative of marriage - but that perception will probably change if enough men cannot obtain a wife. The improvement is that they will not feel as alone and under-stimulated if they have a partner, even if the partner is artificial, meaning that it will be a possibility to postpone most of the prognosis that suggests disaster; hopefully this will postpone the problem until the sex ratios are evened out, something which will take several decades. This could be a solution to prevent crimes, suicide and potential radicalization - provided that they are affordable. As most of the men lacking a wife will be from poorer areas, the dolls will either have to be subsidized or made really cheap.

Effects in other areas
In areas where the sex ratios are not as skewed, the effect of gynoids will be tricky to predict. I sincerely doubt that it will lead to any situations where we will have several females who cannot find a partner as men will prefer sex robots; most people will want to have a human partner. Most likely, it will be a sex toy or something those men who currently cannot find a wife would go for. Should it ever happen that men would prefer gynoids over real females, then there will be an increased market for android sex dolls (something which there likely will be anyway, there is no reason to believe that no women at all would ever want one). Worst case scenario would, of course, be that our species die out due to everyone getting a sex doll partner, but that is highly unlikely. We might simply end up on a fraction of people with sex dolls as partners, which can lead to that our numbers will stabilize at $\leq$10 billion people, which is deemed as an sustainable number.


1: Such as selective abortion or infanticide of children with unwanted gender.
2: The Wolfram data is from 2011-2013, which is relatively current but might have changed for the past years. Data from 2004 say 100.8/100, suggesting that it has been a slight increase.
3: Something far easier said than done.
4: While many argues that android can be used for both, the word andro means "male" and android means "male-like". Gyno is the prefix for females, which would make female-like robots gynoids.

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    $\begingroup$ Though I applaud your thoroughness, I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint on a few items. First, I disagree about the language of girls who "went missing" as it implies abduction; the original author used "were missing" meaning "due to abortion"... which really ought to have been the language used in their article. Second, the 4/1 discrepancy in Qatar is not a birth rate issue, that stems from imported labor and should not be used in this context; their birth mix is pretty neutral. Third, women's rights in the referenced countries are not solely affected by availability ... <cont> $\endgroup$ – GrinningX Feb 20 '17 at 13:39
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    $\begingroup$ ..., they have had a rocky path in that area for a very long time for entirely different reasons. Assuming availability is going to be a primary driver would probably require a larger imbalance, so I would moderate the word "significantly". Fourth, "increased poverty in rural areas" may not be the case as we are talking about the long-term here and rural areas are depopulating rapidly around the world as migration from rural to urban areas is much easier these days (because, again, the economics of those areas has been comparatively worse for a long time irrespective). $\endgroup$ – GrinningX Feb 20 '17 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ There already is a market for male sex dolls, you know. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 20 '17 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ @GrinningX (1/2) Thank you for your suggestions, I have revised accordingly. I interpreted the numbers to suggest an inclusion of those who died by infanticide and neglect, but you are probably correct in that it is only from abortion. It is true that the birth ratio for Qatar is good; however, the paragraph with the data is for people in marriageable age. The ratio given is for the citizens, it does not matter if they are born there or not, it is still a highly skewed number and if imported workers are to stay (which is suggested if they become citizens), then the problem persists. $\endgroup$ – Mrkvička Feb 20 '17 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ @GrinningX (2/2) I chose to delete the comment, in the end, as I don't have time to look for the more appropriate extreme. I still believe that the status of women will be significantly changed regardless of direction, although I personally believe for the worse in most regions. As for the rural poverty, that statement was from misreading one of my sources - what they really stated was that the suicide rate was higher for unmarried men after correcting for poverty and urbanization. $\endgroup$ – Mrkvička Feb 20 '17 at 15:06
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The way you describe the product makes clear they will be a niche thing, for real "tech must have". Being a fairly new product its price will be still high. As reference, think how expensive and "dull" were the first mobile phones in the late '80s.

In all honesty, why would an average single man spend so much for something like what you describe?

So, if the manufacturer manage to survive on the market, I don't foresee any real impact on society from this "primitive" gynoids.

Maybe later on, if they become a more mature and affordable product, there might be concerns raising from the conservative parties that gynoids, freeing males from the search of a female companion to reproduce with, endanger the civil society by reducing the number of newborn citizens.

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  • $\begingroup$ I removed the price and put it up as a question. $\endgroup$ – Euphoric Feb 20 '17 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Euphoric, I also edited my answer $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Feb 20 '17 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ Fleshlights / specialized sleeves already exist. The concept of inbedding them in realistic / lifelife dolls also exists. The cost of a high end doll is in the thousands. There is already a market for this. One of the main detractors for their sale is the in-humanness of it, or the artificiality. While not perfect, these bots would definitely be a step in the right direction. At 10k+ their sale would be limited, but not unheard of. If it dropped to 2k+ or the product improved their sale would go way up. If they at least matched the quality of current items, their sales would be high, $\endgroup$ – user2259716 Feb 20 '17 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ @user2259716 the actual products claim they are "more realistic than the real thing", the OP makes clear they have an "artificial feeling". This will make competition even harder, as to switch to a new product one may want some additional benefits, and considering the use case the realistic feeling is an hard requirement. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Feb 21 '17 at 7:27
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Note: I’ll be referring to the Gynoids/Fembots just as “machines”, out of personal preference (or lack thereof).


Features

Let's break down these machines by "features":

They can carry around objects, but they cannot clean nor cook.

This means, it lacks the fine dexterity to handle a hand tool.

They can easily be knocked down, even by a kid.

It either lacks strength or lacks balance. Definitively of little use as a guard.

Their surface texture has distinct "artificial" feel to it

So touch give it away, it won't pass as human if skin contact is required

and their "sexual" abilities are "acceptable" for most (single) men.

This is probably one of selling point for this product.

Intelligence-wise, they are no better than modern virtual assistants.

So, there exists technology that's better in the market. The designers didn't go for the most intelligent solution, either because it wasn't needed for the intended task or because it would have made it too expensive.

They can hold simple conversations, but anything more complicated will confuse them. Something like more advanced chatbot. So best they can do is to remember when their owner returns home, know his favorite food, and order that favorite food so it arrives right after he returns home.

This is the other selling point, they could be marketed as artificial companions.

While they could be useful to assist elderly people or even as baby watch... The fact that they have sexual abilities suggest that the market is single lonely male adults wealthy enough to pay.

Men with a bad job, that don't have time to date or don't earn enough to sustain a family could be the main market.


Employment

When introduced, as an expensive item, one of the first business models to use them is to rent them. The legitimate use would be to greet people in events, that would be expensive and sporadic.

Whoever considers that business will want to increase income by renting by the hour instead of days, adding an insurance fee, and a no-questions-asked policy... because we both know we don't want to ask what people actually do with these machines.

Note: below I use the word "programmed" loosely. Programming doesn't have to mean to write in an artificial language, it could be just setting configuration (like programming an alarm clock), some programming may mean to interface with a server elsewhere which is doing the actual work, or in some cases it could also mean to mod the device. Edit: perhaps it can be better to think about it as installing an "app".

The next stage is where people start to give more permanent tasks to the machines:

  • As receptionist/secretary: it can greet people to buildings, manage appointments, and it could even work as security camera and be programmed to trigger an alarm on unexpected behavior (e.g. unknown person entering without appointment, person entering with weapons, any activity after work hours, etc...).

  • As a teacher/lecturer: it could be programmed to repeat a speech, and even be able to answer a set of predefined questions.

  • As waiter: it could be programmed to deliver orders from the tables to the kitchen and to carry the dishes back to the table. They could recognize customers, be able to recite portions of the menu, and even answer simple questions about the dishes or do recommendations.

  • As guide: it could be used to make tours, to show people around a building, or even tours of a city if somebody or something else is driving (autonomous vehicle?)

  • Others: Cashier, Bank-tellers, Librarian, and other similar jobs could get a similar treatment.


Disruption

I'll assume that this product becomes popular in some areas where it is a good deal for business. All the impact will be local to those areas.

It will take a while since the introduction in the market to become popular... if at all. Some business will have to step up and take the risk to see how viable is to use them, and they will face the most opposition... if that goes ok, others will follow.

Addendum: Perhaps it doesn't become popular with the first bussiness that tries it, it just means that the product or its production will have to be improved so that it provides a better cost/benefit scenario. After about a generation (20 to 25 year) it probably will be good enough, and there will be new people willing to take the risk. Think Virtual Boy vs Oculus Rift.


Under the assumption that at the point where these are affordable and attractive for the single man, that person probably wasn't going to get a STD or cause an unwanted pregnancy... so, any effects on that is negligible. Although it may improve quality of life and even cut suicide rates in regions where those are problems.

On the economy, they are just another step toward replacing jobs with robots. We can model the effects using the Kübler-Ross model (a.k.a the stages of grief):

  • Denial: A) people don't see a threat in these products. They are just a novelty or a thing for weirdos that won't affect the economy overall. B) buying these things is seen as waste, and whoever does it is seen as a loser.

  • Anger: Some people start losing their jobs to be replaced by these machines, and people don't like it.

  • Bargaining: some people are willing to pay more to be attended by a real person, and some people are willing to earn less to keep their jobs. Labor unions negotiate ways to keep people employed, and laws are made to restrict the use of these machines. Soon, they need to be audited periodically by the government to check they are working correctly, adding extra cost to their use in business.

  • Depression: The jobs that were lost were lost, the times where you could get a human being at the counter were better. It is all mechanical now, no need for manners or respect. Just give up, machines win, humans are useless.

  • Acceptance: I'm unsure how this looks like, but people got to find another source of revenue. They have to accept that they have lost a portion of the job market to these machines.

Not really all jobs can be gone, it is easier to disrespect these machines than human being, and people need income, so there will more crime. Which means that security guards are in good demand.

The time frame for those stages isn't clear, although "bargaining" may last a few years just because bureaucracy and law making isn't exactly the faster industry.


Rural and industrial areas would have a lesser impact, because most if not all of the applications of these machines are in urban service and commercial areas. That would suggest that there has been no impact in traditional food industry.

Stores and markets may be cutting prices, after all people aren't earning as much and they are saving in payrolls. In some areas, it could also be a push for local food production (e.g. neighborhood farm).

So, I don't expect starvation or anything like that, people will settle to something else.

The value of the land will initially go down, as the affected areas are places where it could be hard to get jobs (people may want to move out to other areas where they can get job easily, so they may willing to sell cheaper). But it will eventually go back up.

Note: I did consider that there could be less new families in urban areas where these machine are popular, not because male prefer the machines as sex partners... but because income would have gone down due to lost jobs and human interaction would have gone down. Although I thing this effect is negligible too, because it won't affect all areas and because people will find solutions soon enough.

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Sheri Tepper's novel The Companions has something like this with "concs". They had no defined sexuality, so were equally applicable for both sexes.

The main effect of concs in the novel is to dramatically reduce the birthrate. Tepper's view from then is that there would be no such thing as an "unwanted" pregnancy, because people only wanting sex would have their needs met by their concs. Being Tepper, of course this is somewhat idealistic and the only people with sexual needs are clearly evil, but the concept is still interesting.

Tepper's concs were produced by benevolent aliens with a view to improving human society. (Tepper consistently imagines an overpopulated world, but she was writing at a time when birthrates had not yet started falling below maintenance levels in Europe.) As such, production cost was not an issue.

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