The brave new world is coming:
If you're younger than 35, you'll probably live long enough to put David Levy's prediction to the test. Levy says that by 2050 we'll be creating robots so lifelike, so imbued with human-seeming intelligence and emotions, as to be nearly indistinguishable from real people. And we'll have sex with these robots. Some of us will even marry them. And it will all be good.
Levy lays out his vision of a Brave New Carnal World in Love and Sex With Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships, which, despite its extended riffs on sex toys through the ages, is a snigger-free book. Levy's no Al Goldstein. Rather he's a 62-year-old British chess master turned artificial-intelligence expert persuaded that robot sex can brighten the lives of many, many unhappy people. "Great sex on tap for everyone, 24/7,'' he writes on the final page of the book. What's not to like?
"It will all be good" and "What's not to like?" indeed. From Playboy to Internet porn, we have always been searching for ways to enhance masturbation, our own sexual pleasure without all that messy human involvement. Sex with a robot would be even better than sex with a prostitute -- no awkward financial transactions, no sweaty nights worrying about witnesses or blackmail, no silly guilt about "cheating."
I recommend "Cherry 2000," an early, little-known Melanie Griffith film. She plays a "tracker" in a post-apocalyptic, near-future, helping a nebbishy inhabitant of the shrinking civilized world travel through the dangerous wastelands in search of a new robot body (the previous one was destroyed) for the uploadable programming of his "true love." Along the way, he discovers the joys and agonies of caring about a real woman, and you can probably guess most of the plot and the ending. Pure schlock, but fun.