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Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships Paperback – November 4, 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this wide-ranging examination of the emotional and physical relations between humans and the inanimate objects of their desire, AI guru Levy (Robots Unlimited) first addresses the question of love with robots, and moves on to consider the mechanics of actually having sex with them. In order to put the reader at ease with the possibility of human-robot love, Levy compares the phenomenon to the ways in which humans fall in love with each other, their pets, and even their motorcycles. From there, Levy argues, it is a short emotional step to the affection people can be expected to display towards robots. Some readers may be turned off by Levy's fairly graphic descriptions of the mechanics of having sex with robots, and may wonder why Levy chose not to include recent research on the human genome that could one day lead to replacing human "parts," potentially making us more robot-like ourselves. Though Levy's topic is undeniably on the fringe, it will appeal to readers keen on pondering futuristic scenarios.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Fascinating. It raises important questions about the future of robots…and what our interactions with them might teach us about ourselves. --New Scientist

[Levy] comes up with so many rational, scientific, and sociologically sound arguments that the deeper you get into the book, the more difficult it becomes to dismiss his thesis. --Chicago Sun-Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061359807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061359804
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #783,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Levy's book is divided into two and unequal parts, both in length and in interest. Most readers, I would imagine, if told that a book was divided into a longer section about future emotional relations between humans and robots and a shorter section on sex with robots would guess that the more interesting would be the latter. For me, at least, the opposite was the case. I was barely able to stay awake while reading the sex chapters, while I found the chapters dealing with potential emotional connections with robots to be fascinating. Levy makes, I believe, a convincing case that robots will play an increasingly important and essential role in human social life. If nothing else, the comparison between pets and robots is telling. There is no question that millions of humans treat pet animals as friends and have strong emotional connections with them. That we will feel similar ties to robots when the A.I. has developed to an extent to make genuine interaction possible seems to me to be impossible to debate. Or, rather, some may debate it, but many others will nonetheless employ robots as companions or more.

Much of the book is dedicated to detailing the reasons why humans and robots will before the end of the 21st century - indeed, Levy believes it will be around the midpoint of the century - humans will fall in love with and have sex with robots. He addresses issues such as the grounds for attachment, the technological hurdles that remain to be overcome, and the status of work on artificial intelligence. The sex portion of the book is a rather dull catalog of the use of inanimate objects to achieve sexual climax.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before purchasing this book, I read some of the mixed reviews on amazon.com, so I didn't have particularly high expectations going in. At the same time, I remained hopeful that there would be something of interest in this book. However, as I suspected, and as the reviewers already stated, this book was a little disappointing.

Basically what the author does is spend the whole book trying to build a case as to why it could be possible that people will eventually have sex and develop relationships with robots. Chapter by chapter, he tries to assemble the different pieces of the argument: humans have relationships with pets... humans have relationships with AI robots and computer simulations such as Tamagotchi, Furby, AIBO, and KISMET... humans use machines (e.g., vibrators) and sex dolls for sexual pleasure... attitudes toward various sexual practices (e.g., masturbation, fornication, homosexuality) have evolved over the years. Put it all together now: in the future, there's a good chance people could develop relationships and have sex with robots, and we'll be cool with that.

As other reviewers already stated, he does not raise any ethical questions about whether this is a good idea or whether this is where the human race should really be headed. It seems that these types of questions were beyond the scope of this book. But even for what the book is, I kept waiting for it to get better, but it never really did.

If you're looking for better books about the interaction between humans and computers/robots, you're better off reading "Alone Together" by Sherry Turkle or "The Shallows" by Nicholas Carr.
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Format: Paperback
Towards the end of this book, Levy described a project within the MIT Media Department dedicated his topic, "the technology of sexual-emotional simulation." The description of the goals and individual characteristics of those accepted to participate were precise, and demanding, including "personal experience with a wide array of sexual activities." I was taken aback that the developments that he expected to reach fruition only in a several decades was so accepted in the academic community. Then he told us that, as realistic as it was, it was a hoax, it was satire. There is no such project at MIT or anywhere else. In the same vein while every part of this book is extensively researched, Levy's tome is most useful as a mirror on our own conflicting revolutionary post 1950s era. Satire may not be the right word, but the most valuable effect of this informative compendium is that we think about just why humans and robots will never marry, and in doing so have a new insight into the lightening speed changes that have occurred in our unique brief moment in cultural history.

I fully accept that those who were depicted in the novel and films, "The Stepford Wives" who happened to be robots rather than human could be technically approximated in Levy's general timeframe. He talks about the great advantages, but here he is either satiric or clueless, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt, and call it brilliant Swiftian satire. While same sex marriage, however we may view it (and the cultural objections have been consigned to the work of evil psychopaths afflicted with the disease of homophobia) is a commitment of two humans who choose this relationship. Sex robots can not be a member of a marriage whether such realistic objects can be created in a few decades, centuries or millennia.
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