Love and Sex With Robots Or Sherry Turkle’s Inquisition of Digital Evangilists

Okay so I was reading this book by Sherry Turkle, Alone Together – Why We Expect More From Technology And Less From Each Other, and it really does merit a little blog post. See when she talks about technology and social media she is like a Christian talking about the Antichrist… Harsh, ruthless and judgmental in a very “I am a psychologist so I just want the best for you poor people who do not realize to which state you have become addicted to a lonely life of screen watching and mouse clicking replacing your human friends and lovers with computers and robots” way… I cannot decide, cause there are obviously pins of truth in her musings, and I am certainly not trying to be cleverer than a professor and a psychologist but it is just a little too much. I do agree with the fact that texting and Facebook chatting can be annoying. As I mentioned in an older post it sometimes feels like modern dating only exists in virtual online life. You wait for a text instead of a call and instead of telling someone on the phone (cause that is a good old voice to voice technology item, not nearly as dangerous as robots) how you feel you write ❤ ❤ :-p ;0) ❤ in a text (I wish i could make these virtual smiley pieces of art where it reassembles a panda or a thumbs-up, but I am not that talented)… Okay well maybe that is a little excessive, I almost never use smileys in my texts, I also don’t really tell people I like them on the (i)Phone, but you get my point. It is true that when communicating sometimes it would be nice to hear a voice or instead of deciphering weird text messages and wondering whether he was being sarcastic or honest or playing the game of “must not text back before at least 12 hours” and then waiting around for a response and then wondering whether to put x or xx or xxx at then end of your text or just putting nothing or “take care dude”. Ah yes living in virtual life can be quite exhausting, with the rules of texting and the stalking of Facebook and Twitter and, oh my, there are so many. Maybe that David Levy is on to something about exchanging men (yes yes or women) for robots (NB from his book Love & Sex With Robots). They would definitely be longer lasting in bed and apparently know more than all the worlds knowledge of sexual positions (which seems to bed one of his main points), but maybe I’m not so much into cold metal between my legs (when it’s not my bike of course)… Maybe I’m old-fashioned because I still think of R2D2 or 3PO when I think of robots and I really wouldn’t want to have sex with them, they are cult robots not to be thought of in a sexual way (and 3PO would honestly just piss me off in the end..). Maybe David Levy’s robots are cool plastic silicone ones, but then isn’t that just like having sex with a working, walking and talking dildo… Can’t decide, maybe that’s the whole point of robots in bed, that they are just performers. I am still not sure about that idea though, I kinda like real flesh and blood men (hoo maybe David Levy’s robots are also made out of flesh and blood… Sick shit dude!!) and kinda like that they don’t know all there is too know about all the worlds sexual positions… Just imagine the pressure: “no robot don’t know that one, no robot don’t know that one, no robot don’t know that one, do you just wanna do missionary..? no, oh okay… Yeah definitely not keen on the robot sex, but I like how it has become some men’s (aka David Levy’s) fetish or at least that it is now on the market like S/M, Latex, Swingers or Golden Showers… I dig the whole ‘free choice’… See the thing is Sherry Turkle talks about people praising the internet as heroic narrators… “Effusions of digital evangelists who confuse technological advance with human progress” and then she decides we as humans have become blinded so much from the need for technological advancement and more and more social media, that we can’t see clearly anymore and that we therefore get sucked into virtual life and can’t even choose our life outside online cyberspace anymore. First of all, stop with the whole cyberspace… There is no cyberspace and online activity does not necessarily mean we alienate ourselves from “real” life… And why do we keep having to make that distinction, online activity is just as big a part of “real life” as “real life” is a part of online activity. We don’t go to Cyber every time we log on or go Wifi (even though, man, it does sound like a cool place… Cyber: Where the milk is fresh and there is always free ice-cream, stop by any time) Frankly that whole cyber statement is getting old. And then maybe Turkle, maybe give people some credit. Stop thinking that as soon as the first sex robot is on the market we’ll all go and buy ourselves one and stay home for weeks and weeks and have constant sex with our over talented robots. I’m not saying people wouldn’t buy them, they probably would and a lot (especially if Steve Jobs was in over the design) but it is always like that with the newest technology fling. Something new comes out, gets overhyped and then people move on… Funny how when society is changing there are always these critics who thinks the apocalypse is now near, and wait, listen, they can almost hear the trumpets… And so they write books like Sherry Turkle’s warning us about the digital Evangelists as if they were the devil trying to fill us with evil cyber thoughts. Here is a counter example: I have a friend with whom I have had an email revival, in the space of circa one week we have in total written about 36 emails, and these are not rotten little short emails these are actual essays (well most of them at least). Hope you are all out there thinking oh my goood she’s been sucked into the Space of Cyber… Now we don’t live very far apart and we do see each other fairly regurlarly but there is just such a difference in writing than in speaking, also keep in mind that this is not stupid texting it is just like writing a letter, yes, that is what e-mailing is… Maybe Turkle wouldn’t call this a counter example, maybe she would say we are a perfect example of technology gone bad. I’m gonna say the opposite. I find it refreshing that the old art of writing a letter has actually become present in my emailing my friend, I sit down I have a coffee and a cigarette and I think about my answer. So put that in you bong Sherry Turkle and inhale…. Stop talking about separate cyber divided online virtual lives in an alone togetherness, where the only communication form is through our phones, and where we dig robot sex and give people some credit!!! Maybe this is not the end of all human common sense, maybe this is not the end of the world. Maybe people are actually capable of finding their way through technology and The Space Of Cyber while still caring for and keeping human contact a factor in their lives… Maybe I’m wrong…


To send or not to send…

I spoke to my brother yesterday who had a pretty strong opinion about how these last posts where all about the same thing… At that point I had already written this one and so I’ll put this one up and then I’ll stop… It wasn’t actually me; it just sort of had a life on its own… Open the ‘relationship men women’ bag and the avalanche comes rolling down, getting bigger and bigger for every time. But I should try and tone it down a notch.  Oh and please note that the rainbow photograph isn’t mine, you can see the mouse in down right corner… The proper photograph is from here

So after ending that last post I still felt like the subject hadn’t exactly been exhausted fully. I was, then, considering the relationship between men and women and, let’s face it, probably stereotyping a lot, but why stop there? … Men and women is just the cliché example and this was where I started thinking about some of my other friends. I have a few male friends with a different but similar point of view and I think they’d also like to have a say in this. Also another question arising in all this… How long into a relationship does one have to be for it to be okay to write the other person’s name on one’s belly and sending the picture in an MMS? Please dear god let it at least be someone with a nice six-packed belly and not just writing on a love handle!! I know that I might be going a tat too fast so I will try to slow it down. I have a very good friend with whom I share a lot of intimate details, especially the crude ones, cause they’re always the best! We are in many ways very similar, both single, both very liberal and both very picky. We are also both trying to find our way to somewhere in whichever way possible and maybe we are both slightly neurotic. My friend was until quite recently only dating women that is until he came toLondon. Then something shifted and he found himself suddenly being very open to all kinds of different things, more specifically men. I don’t exactly know where it started and how, probably with a shy kiss in a dark corner of a club somewhere but pretty soon well the last thing he told me was that he met a guy that wrote his name on his belly (this well evidently after several times of pass 21 behaviour), took a picture of it and send it to him (he must really like him). Still haven’t seen that picture but my god I hope it’s good! Now when one of my other friends met this friend, the first question he asked me, after my friend in question left, was “is he straight or is he gay?”… I don’t know why but the more I’m considering this, the more that question bothers me. I realize or assume that gay people (not really into the generalizing thing so please correct me if I’m wrong) like straight people usually know that they are gay pretty early on. Like straight people know they are straight. Sometimes maybe admitting it to ones surroundings can be hard but it is something one knows. If you’re not straight you’re gay or you’re bi but do all these labels really matter? I have another friend who rarely tells us about his relationships and who refuses to decide whether straight gay or bi for that matter. And why is it necessary that he does. That my friend asked me that question about my friend; “is he straight or gay” obligated me to pick a flavour, “strawberry, chocolate or vanilla?”, so I shrugged and said “pistachio” (come to think of it I should eat more pistachio ice cream, the forgotten flavour). Is it us that designates the labels or are we being designated by them? Does the fact that I respond “gay”, “straight” or “bi” mean that I thus put my friend in a certain category? I didn’t want to give him a label so I said “neither” (of the three) and vaguely explained that he is just open-minded. But I still felt my (very straight… no judgement) friend wasn’t satisfied with my answer. In a world where everything is changing at light speed is it still necessary to label people (I did label my bike “Ella is cool” but that’s just cool so it doesn’t count)? Do we need these labels for some kind of systematization or isn’t that just being narrow-minded? I’m not saying my friend who asked me that is in any way narrow-minded but isn’t it interesting that we really like putting people in boxes…? Maybe I’m overreacting; maybe the moral of the story should just be… Chocolate, strawberry or pistachio, hey let’s throw cookie dough in there for the fun, they’re all damn good. Maybe the worst part of this is still how we continually judge ourselves. Could it be that we are ourselves afraid to choose a flavour because that would mean we limit ourselves to just that? I know that to my friend this is all new, unknown territory, terra incognita, and that can obviously be incredibly scary, it has to be I think. And this is partly because no matter which flavour he chooses he is afraid of what some people might think.  That some people might not like strawberry or chocolate… Maybe he is gay he told me the other day, maybe he is just afraid of admitting to himself, afraid of what his parents might say or the friends he see every week but who has no clue about who he really is. True some people might judge, that is even almost a given. The worst judge is however still him towards himself. If we never learn to accept ourselves for what we are (sorry if this is cliché and cheesy) it being fat, skinny, ginger, black, white, to small or to tall, gay, straight or bi… If we never learn to do that then how can we accept others?

So maybe we (men, women, dogs, penguins) should try and learn to be just a little less judgmental towards mostly ourselves and we could all have a little ice cream… I’m gonna say mint and vanilla… Any takers? Oh and to that let me just add; if there are no love handles involved (and even though I was slightly judging the name writing which might be a tat over the top) a cute guy sends you a picture of his six pack you take it… No, sorry, I can’t end it like that, it is just too much. Don’t send pictures of your tummy, don’t!!

Choice of choice

Okay so after that last post I started thinking about that whole who has the power thing… See who decides who is in charge… Between men and women I mean not between us and penguins even though that could easily have been the case (maybe there is actually something there for another post…). We like to think we live in a society where women turn into power women, alpha bitches (bitch in the original etymological sense of the word) and cold blooded 10″ heels, leather skirt wearing business wo’men’… (Maybe the leather skirt is over the top but you get the picture) Men on the other hand are allowed and even praised for having a more feminine side, they do yoga, they are aware of how they dress, they take paternity leave, they buy skin care and a man who can’t cook today isn’t a man! Everything is supposedly more equal but just to which extent does that argument holds… Take a common example… Boy and girl meet in bar, they decide to go for a (cheap of course) beer. The week after they do and she takes him home for a night cap aka – well we all know what that means… The guy leaves afterwards because he has an early meeting or whatever and everyone are happy. In this case… Who picked up who…? And who decides? Let’s say the woman already knew she was gonna sleep with the guy; she will therefore state it was her idea. Now this is where it gets interesting because I was gonna write, the guy thinks the same thing only I just realized maybe, probably, even most certainly the guy doesn’t care… Women spend so much time analysing this and that and how and why when the guy will probably go home, be happy he got laid and have a big breakfast the day after (with bacon cause boys eat bacon). He’ll either think it’s hot it was the woman who took charge or he’ll feel like a stud because it was so easy and well because he’s a man… He’ll probably feel both, but he will certainly not think about it anymore than that, oh except for when he tells his friends (wait am I stereotyping too much I can’t decide). Funny cause this was not where I was actually going with this post, and I think the moral of the story just shifted. I’m probably putting things on a stick again, let’s be fair if it is a one night stand then even women wouldn’t analyze because there would obviously be nothing to analyze on… What I was wondering though was… How fine are we actually with the whole women having sex like men thing? Not towards people in our surroundings but to ourselves? (The two of them probably go together… If we judge ourselves we will feel judged by everyone else even if that is not the case) Do we judge ourselves as sluts or are we capable of being just as free and open minded as men? I want to say yes, yes of course we are, and I think that we really are; only I also think it is intriguing to which extent that will be what we think… Are we done judging ourselves or does it still sometimes creep in…? And do we care if other people do judge, cause they do. Maybe that is something we can never really escape caring about. I was obviously writing this from a woman’s point of view and funnily enough before I had shared the idea of this post with anyone else I had a very similar conversation with a friend, a guy who in many ways reminds me of myself. He suggested that men who sleep around will just automatically be written of as twats with no feelings… I can’t decide, maybe we judge them not to judge ourselves…? This is of course strictly one night stand speaking, cause if we drag the whole relationship business into this discussion it becomes way bigger. Maybe it’s easier to blaim the man cause it will make the women look better… Or maybe all that mars venus stuff is just a load of crap. That is actually pretty much a certainty.

Maybe it is not so important to decide who decides who has the power. Maybe the important thing is just to get behind the choices we choose. Not only taking responsibility for our actions but realizing that we always have a choice, not about what we do and how but a choice of choice. The choice of choosing that our choice is our own and that we are behind it. The choice of choosing no judgment, at least not towards ourselves… That is most certainly easier said than done and also everyone wants the power…