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What Sex is Your Robot?

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the battery-powered dept.

Robotics 263

Ant writes "Technology Review has an article about how the more robots interact with humans, the more important their apparent gender becomes."

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263 comments

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MY WOBOT IS MALE, HIS NAME IS CHOLLY (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072733)

SOLLY CHOLLY!

Shemale (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072736)

mm, yeah

What sex? (1)

Proctal Relapse (467579) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072743)

Catcher, of course.

Do you have to ask? (5, Funny)

digitalamish (449285) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072744)

"...this is gonna be the best prom ever!"

This is the first time... (5, Funny)

ATAMAH (578546) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072750)

...that i see word "sex" on slashdot. For a second i thought that we geeks are finally getting lives :) But only for a second - then i read the entire subject.

re: this is the first time... (5, Funny)

ed.han (444783) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072950)

that can't have taken more than a few seconds: that's possibly the shortest article i've seen linked in a long time. it's a shame: the article doesn't explore any of the possible reasons why humans have a ceaseless need to anthropomorphize non-living things, let alone offer any ideas as to why we do it, which frankly was what i would have expected.

[looks at keyboard]

"ain't that right, betty?"

ed

Technofetishism (2, Funny)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | more than 10 years ago | (#9073014)

This is the first time that i see word "sex" on slashdot. For a second i thought that we geeks are finally getting lives :) But only for a second - then i read the entire subject.

This is nothing... I read it first as "What Sex is [Best With] Your Robot?" and have even started to write quite an interesting essay on the subject, entitled "Robosexualism and Technofetishism in Modern Academia," only to have it deleted later in utter embarrassment, after one of my coworkers has read what I was just writing... I don't know which part of "No, it is not my diary, for God's sake! It is a scientific anallysis for Slashdot community!" he doesn't understand...

my robot (2, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072751)

is a hermaphrodite, male on one side, female on the other.

It's another kind of Transformer. More than meets the eye.

This way I can expand my sexual horizon.

Re:my robot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072780)

With comments like yours, I am sure there is horizontal expansion going on.

But please think of the children, we don't want to know about it.

Re:my robot (4, Funny)

AbbyNormal (216235) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072883)

Methinks we need to get Dr. Phil on this site. There is a lot of pent up weirdness building up.

Today on Dr. Phil, "Me and my trans-sexual robot, are we healthy"?

oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072753)

No coffee, "sex" and "robot" in the same short title. You know you thought it too.

What do you mean? (1)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | more than 10 years ago | (#9073050)

No coffee, "sex" and "robot" in the same short title. You know you thought it too.

When I drink too much coffee, some people call me a "sex robot." Is that what you mean?

My robot is a eunuch... (1)

YodaToo (776221) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072757)

...it gets a little bitchy sometimes, but never gets sexually agressive around my wife.

you can tell how disturbing this is (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072759)

by the inability of the quips to come up with any good material in the first minutes after it was posted.

Check the article... (2, Funny)

justkarl (775856) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072760)

The Roomba, of course, is that clever little house-cleaning robot

Must be a chick.

Re:Check the article... (3, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072786)

Must be a chick.

Flip it over and check.

It's a Unic (4, Interesting)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072761)

My robot is an arm and hand only. And since it doesn't have fingernails, there is no way to tell if its a girl or boy.

Honestly, as robot builder I find this a little boring. It has little to do with robotics. You can take the same robot and give it a different costume and maybe a new voice to change it's sex... big deal.

Re:It's a Unic (5, Funny)

Rick.C (626083) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072827)

My robot is an arm and hand only.

[Snicker] [Chortle] [Coffee-out-the-nose Snort]

You would have to post this right after the "This is going to be the best prom, ever!" comment.

Re:It's a Unic (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072995)

Try "androgynous". "Eunuch" [m-w.com] is the word you were trying to spell.

Re:It's a Unic (1)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9073063)

Unix + Eunuch = Unic

Re:It's a Unic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9073008)

Correct spelling : Eunuch [reference.com]

Of course ... (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072764)

... because if a household robot is apparently female, the feminists will complain!

Re:Of course ... (1, Insightful)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072783)

No kidding. I hate when they whine about stuff like that. What are the alternatives? Make all the dishwashing robots look male just so we don't encourage a stereotype? How dumb is that?

Equal rights for female robots! (2, Funny)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072918)

Why should the female robots do all the housework? For less pay too? Oh wait, robots do not get paid, they are virtual slaves with no rights. Nevermind. ;)

Re:Of course ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072828)

What we need is a third sex for robots. It would have a voice like someone on "Queer eye for the straight guy", would be able to weld, move heavy objects, and cook a delicious Thanksgiving meal.

Re:Of course ... (3, Interesting)

RLW (662014) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072927)

It doesn't matter what one does; the feminists will complain. Just accept it. In fact I bet they will complain about this post.

With this in mind robot manufacturers should just build all the robots to look like boxes with articulated rectangles for legs and arms. Then offer upgrades for all these parts in either male or female shapes. They will make a killing in after market add-ons and no one can say they are perpetuating a stereo type because they allow one to customize his own units himself.

ALL MALE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072767)

Sexuality (2)

eddy (18759) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072773)

Wonder if we're going to see the Robot counterpart to "Furries" in the future? What would they call themselves?

Maybe they already exist.

GROUP HUG!

Re:Sexuality (1)

glean (609540) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072788)

See above post.

If the robots were categorized by sex... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072775)

I wonder how you'd set up a beowulf cluster between a whole bunch of them?

Re:If the robots were categorized by sex... (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072804)

You'd want to have robots of both sex in your cluster. Because then they eventually may reproduce themselves, saving you huge cost if you want to extend it.

Re:If the robots were categorized by sex... (1)

ziggamon (736328) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072830)

Actually, no, you _don't_ want that!

evidence [imdb.com]

Re:If the robots were categorized by sex... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072864)

What's the term I'm looking for... Computers in a cluster, reproducing/copulating... Damn! Mating ball? No...

to which the author added... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072776)

The implications of which are increasingly important as we draw ever closer to a future of sex droids.

I want a gay robot (5, Funny)

PuffCammy (739447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072785)

I don't want to offend anyone, but I'd really love a gay robot. That way I don't have to strain myself over choosing what to wear in the morning - the robot would have that kind of knowledge embedded in him - some say it's genetics, some say it's the way he was raised, but either way he makes a snappy dresser.

You want a gay robot?... (1)

arhar (773548) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072844)

Your wish has been granted, a long time ago, back in 1977... C3PO, anyone?

Re:I want a gay robot (0)

FraggedSquid (737869) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072848)

But would you keep it in the closet?

Re:I want a gay robot (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072882)

But would you keep it in the closet?

Hey, it worked for the robot from Small Wonder.

Re:I want a gay robot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072867)

I'd really love a gay robot

you should've posted AC, stuff like that ruins careers.

(N.B. nothing wrong with being gay, just wanting a robot that is gay - besides being gay entails you-know... and that would mean the robot would have a desire to coupulate with other gay robots, or human men. Both ideas don't really fly - maybe in some dark sex dungeon in the privacy of his home. But that's exactly the reason why they are in a dungeon, because comments like the parent's are not supposed to see the light of day.)

Re:I want a gay robot (1)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072874)

"How about some nice punched paneling to cover your torso, and this necktie made from aluminum girders? I think it accentuations your ocular sensers and playes off the color in your servos."

...or maybe not. The AI might be a little immature as of 2004.

Re:I want a gay robot (2, Funny)

pegr (46683) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072887)

I don't want to offend anyone, but I'd really love a gay robot. That way I don't have to strain myself over choosing what to wear in the morning - the robot would have that kind of knowledge embedded in him - some say it's genetics, some say it's the way he was raised, but either way he makes a snappy dresser.

Queer (Robotic) Eye for the Straight (Scientist) Guy?

One question (1)

missing000 (602285) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072983)

Would it then be a crabbot?

Role model... (1)

Goonie (8651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072997)

What about C-3PO? He'd fit right in with the Queer Eye crew. Though who'd want to have to put up with his companion R2D2? (I'm hardly the first to point out that they bicker like only a married couple could, and as the linked article suggests R2 is definitely male.)

Sex shops (5, Interesting)

moxruby (152805) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072787)

Considering that a certain portion of the population is willing to have "sex" with a blow-up doll, it's just a matter of time before robots are marketed for the same purpose.

I'm not joking when I say that the "roboporn" industry is likely to be a significant driving force when it comes to creating cheap, lifelike robots.

Re:Sex shops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072797)

You must have missed that crazy post above.

Re:Sex shops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072878)

Oh yeah. NOW, whenever I read Ghost in the Shell: man-machine interface again, I am going to be very turned on, indeed, as I think the glorious and bautiful future that's someday going to be upon even the geekiest of us...

umm.... :P

Re:Sex shops (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072923)

I know someone that works in a sex shoppe.

They say that 90% of the dolls sold are for gag-gifts.. and 10% to perverts who wind up being very dissapointed.

Re:Sex shops (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072932)

Considering that a certain portion of the population is willing to have "sex" with a blow-up doll, it's just a matter of time before robots are marketed for the same purpose.

I'm not joking when I say that the "roboporn" industry is likely to be a significant driving force when it comes to creating cheap, lifelike robots.


Most likely to partner with Real Doll [realdoll.com]

Re:Sex shops (1)

Woogiemonger (628172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072974)

I'm not joking when I say that the "roboporn" industry is likely to be a significant driving force when it comes to creating cheap, lifelike robots.

Porn innovates technology in a lot of ways. Just look at how much spamming technology has prospered. Soon enough we'll have Marilyn Monroe robots singing Happy Birthday to every guy in front of every quickie-mart.

Re:Sex shops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072994)

Eh? www.fuckingmachines.com

Umm (5, Funny)

afay (301708) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072790)

I don't know if you could even make a female robot. Since the robot's consciousness would have to be controlled by a computer, I assume it would be based on logic and reason. Both of those qualities are sorely lacking in the females that I've known.

Although, I suppose with good enough pseudo-randomness it might work.

Re:Umm (1)

ValuJet (587148) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072935)

Parent post is a reason why slashdot needs a +5 fact moderation.

this mirrors a Star Trek TOS quote (3, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9073046)

"Mr Spock, the women on your planet are logical. That's the only planet in the galaxy that can make that claim" - Kirk

For the last time ... (1, Funny)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072801)

IG_88 is gender neutral!

Male robots will probably cost more... (1)

ziggamon (736328) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072803)

But of course robot gender matters! You have to pay at least 20% more for a male robot than a female doing the same work! Female robots will probably belong in the kitchen too... This all goes back to the stone age when male robots were hunters and female robots were gatherers...

Hm.. let me think (3, Funny)

Pidder (736678) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072809)

...the more important their apparent gender becomes.

Well, you have to ask yourself some questions

Does it have a 'probe'?

Does it have a connector for input devices?

Imho, determining the sex sounds quite easy.

buffy (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072813)

I want the chick robot from buffy.

When it comes to what kind of sex my robot is..... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072814)

It is the yes kind /me ducks

Two way street (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072816)

First time caller long time listener.

Reeves and Nass discuss this kind of thing in _The media equation_.

What is missing, I think, is that people do not just 'assign' human, or in this case gender, traits neutrally 'just because the tech. seems to have them'. Rather, the assignation of human or gender traits affords the accomplishment of certain social actions in a way that people are used to.

The same drinks-serving robot could be a butler (male) or a waitress (female) depending on what social actions the participants want to achieve.

Easy (3, Funny)

97cobra (89974) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072817)

This is an easy one. When its working correctly its male. When it wont do what its suppose to its female.

Re:Easy (2, Funny)

Kjuib (584451) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072962)

Or... how many buttons it has... A few buttons - Male, easy to understand and work with. Lots of complicated buttons and everyone you press seems to be the wrong one - Definitly Female, just can't find the right button to get what you want.

My robot is neuter... (3, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072820)

... it's just a robot. Made of metal and all, as far as I know.

That's funny, though. The interior kind of smells of blood. And everyone's really secretive about how they actually built these things.

And I'm sure it shouldn't have gone off on its own like that that one time.

Those two times.

OK, those three times. And that one ended up messy. And hang on... that's just armour plating! It's not a robot at all! What's going on here?

OH MY GOD IT'S MY MOTHER! AAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH! AAAAASUKAAAAAA!

Re:My robot is neuter... (1)

Starborn (699467) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072959)

In case anyone didn't realise, the parent is referring to neon genesis evangelion. Although he's a bit wrong... the eva wasn't asuka's mother, she was absorbed by it.

I might have known... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072821)

...that the Slashdot rabble cannot handle anything to do with gender objectively. Out come all the cheap shots at people with gender identity and/or sexual orientation issues.

She-males and hermaphrodites...get a clue and a life, and gimme a break!

Cue the Futurama quotes (5, Funny)

farnerup (608326) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072822)

"Whoah, whoah, wait, Bender. As long as we're here, why don't we take in some exotic dancing?"
"Hey, great idea!"
*gasp* "But those girls don't wear cases! You can see their bare circuits!"

Re:Cue the Futurama quotes (1)

trentblase (717954) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072970)

Death by snoo snoo!

Re:Cue the Futurama quotes (1)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 10 years ago | (#9073024)

"One mistake now, and Bender will be forever trapped between the already ill-defined robot sexes!"
-Prof. Farnsworth

Cherry 2000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072824)

My pick is Cherry 2000 just more reliable. The break down part needs to be removed from the traits. Not everything has to be a perfect copy of a woman.

Oh (2, Funny)

robotmurder (612191) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072825)

My robot regards himself as an "electro-metro-sexual"

Wrong story title (0, Redundant)

mirko (198274) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072826)

s/sex/gender/ :
this is not about reproduction, but purely about anthropomorphism [everything2.com] .

Otherwise, here's a mirror because it might get /.ed by sex-starving nerds :

Robot Sex

Sure, they're only machines. But the more they interact with us humans, the more important their apparent gender becomes.

By Simson Garfinkel
The Net Effect
May 5, 2004

Is your Roomba a boy or a girl?

The Roomba, of course, is that clever little house-cleaning robot. I reviewed Roomba in October 2002, then bought my own a few months later. Since then it's been happily sweeping my living room and dining room every week or so. It also terrifies my cats and my three-year-old twin boys. All well and good--but what's the Roomba's gender?

"It's a girl," says my wife. "It's round. It's close to the floor. It ends with an 'a'. I always think of it as a 'wom-ba.'"

But if the Roomba is a girl, then Asimo is definitely a boy. Developed by Honda Motor, Asimo is a humanoid robot that walks around like a short astronaut in a white space suit. Four-foot tall Asimo is the latest in a long line of the company's bipedal robots. These days Asimo spends his time as Honda's goodwill ambassador to the world's science museums, auto shows, and other venues. Last month he was spotted in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Asimo doesn't look especially boy-like--there's no slingshot in his back pocket, there's no telltale bulge under his belt, and there's no hint of facial hair. In fact, you can't even see his face: the robot's head is covered with a visor that has just two big holes for its video-camera eyes. But Honda repeatedly refers to the robot with the pronoun "he" on the Asimo website.

Indeed, Honda has taken great pains to make its walking robots more lifelike, and part of that realism appears to include giving the robot a friendly sounding name (the previous generation was called simply "P3"). The company's earliest attempts at walkers were really nothing more than a pair of legs and feet with a big box on top of them. But over the years the robot forms have become decidedly more human--and more male.

Whether or not you think that gender belongs in our mechanical creations has a lot to do with your vision of how these creatures will fit into our future. It certainly takes more effort to make a robot that's gendered than one that's asexual. But engineers just want to have fun. Building gender into robots might be a way for the robots' designers to express their own playfulness and creativity.

Dig a little deeper, though, and you'll discover another reason why gender might be a good thing for our robot servants: gender will make robots more compatible with their human masters.

As human beings, we constantly try to layer emotions, desires, and other human qualities onto our machines. Computers aren't aware of the emotional traits that we assign to them, of course. We might say "the computer ate my file because it's having a bad day" because we lack a better explanation for what's happening inside the system's microprocessor (its "brain.") Yes, there have been attempts to develop synthetic emotions for machines, but that's all artifice. Most people realize that fundamentally there's nothing going on inside the silicon except the cold calculation of ones and zeros.

Still, if you are interested in building an effective interface between humans and computers, you might just be better off creating a machine that projects a simulated emotional response. Because human beings are hard-wired for emotions, we might find it easier to work with such machines--especially if these machines were sharing our physical surroundings, rather than being good little drones on the factory floor or up on Mars.

Such thinking is behind a growing movement in robotics to build machines that portray emotions. Cynthia Breazeal was a big proponent of this idea when she was a graduate student at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab. Her doctoral project "Kismet" was a disembodied robot head with incredibly expressive eyebrows, ears, and mouth. The robot could look happy, afraid, engaged, bored, sleepy, or even confused. Kids loved Kismet. Now a professor at the MIT Media Lab, Breazeal and her students are working on Leonardo, an elaborate robot with more than 70 motors in its ears, eyes, face, neck, and arms--more emotional expressiveness than any robot or puppet that has ever been built. Leonardo can literally shrug its shoulders with apathy or disapprovingly shake its head back and forth--or even curl its ears like Yoda. Other researchers around the world are engaged in similar projects.

Can you have sociability without gender? Kismet feels like a girl, even on videotape. Leonardo is definitely a boy--even before you know his name.

For as long as inventors have been building robots, they have been imbuing their creations with gender. Legend has it that René Descartes built a female mechanical doll modeled to substitute for his daughter, who died in 1640 at the age of five. A hundred years later, the French engineer Jacques Vaucanson built a mechanical woman who could play the flute. Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen built a machine called "The Turk," which appeared to play chess. (Alas, The Turk's brain was actually a midget that was hidden inside the automaton, making the machine either a cyborg or an elaborate rouse, depending on how charitable you want to be. Nevertheless, von Kempelen still made a decision to give The Turk human form--and a male one, at that.) When Mary Shelly wrote her novel Frankenstein, it must have seemed only natural to her that the good doctor's 8-foot-tall monster would be male. In fact, the monster's only wish was for Dr. Frankenstein to build it (him?) a female companion.

Last year, Neiman Marcus made the headlines by featuring a pair of "his & her" domestic robots in its Christmas catalog. Priced at $400,000, the machines were the handiwork of a small New York firm, International Robotics. You can't find the robots on the Neiman Marcus website, but an article at the Onrobo.com website says that "his" robot (presumably the female) "is designed to respond empathetically to humans" while "her" robot "will help you carry in the groceries from the car or leave a message for your spouse." (More coverage can be found at the AsiaOne website.)

Why bring gender roles into the cybernetic age? "Because it is an essential part of how human beings can choose to be entertained and amused by the machines they will co-habit with," says Robert Doornick, International Robotics' president and CEO. Long term, says Doornick, "the issue of gender is more or less a choice that has to be made by the people that these robots will cohabit with."

Back at the Media Lab, graduate student Cory Kidd doesn't deny that gender permeates the robots that he's creating. "It's not something we've given a lot of thought to building in." But, says Kidd, "you can't avoid it." Just think about the classic robot of Star Wars, R2D2. "Most people would agree that it's a boy," says Kidd. "But I can't think of anything that makes R2D2 gendered." Perhaps, speculates Kidd, we think that R2D2 is a boy "because he hangs out with the guys."

Or maybe it's all the whistles and that short stubby body.

Re:Wrong story title (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072872)

But if the Roomba is a girl, then Asimo is definitely a boy.

Is it just the name? 'a' is typically a feminine ending, at least in Western culture, while 'o' is masculine. Is that what people are picking up on here?

I think its a boy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072832)

Oh wait, thats just a loose wire.

Apparent gender is hugely important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072837)

I found that out one Saturday night after I got a little sweety home when she pulled a Crying Game on me. Perhaps some unobtrusive portable testing kit might be in order, or one could simply check for balls in advance of taking them home.

hah (2, Funny)

no-arg constructor (775215) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072842)

the woman robot is the one with the more complicated remote control =)

I am in for Valerie ... (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072845)

... [androidworld.com] the domestic robot.

All else failed up to now :( | :)

Only problem now is some cash.

CC.

My robot has no sex (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072846)

or you can consider the sex neuter, as in none. Perhaps a Eunuch running Unix? :)

Why would a robot have to have gender? Why does that matter so much? Next thing you will be telling me that computers have a gender. Find a new use for those USB and Firewire ports? :)

Nah my robot doesn't even resemble a human in any way shape or form. It is just a perfect killing machine with no conscience or human flaws of any kind. Now I just need to build a billion or so of these things to take over the world. Muahahahah! :)

Futurama - Bender! (1)

imidazole2 (776413) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072847)

If the robot drinks, it's a male =)

Research.. (2, Funny)

wilper (103281) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072850)

The research and exploration of space is mainly driven by the prospect of one day having sex with aliens. I think the research on robots has similar motivations.

I love the smell of testosterone in the morning... (1)

Cooper_007 (688308) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072859)

It's the smell of... VICTORY!

If such a bot comes down with a virus, should we label that virus an STD?

Cooper
--
I don't need a pass to pass this pass!
- Groo The Wanderer -

Obligatory Music Reference (2, Interesting)

JSkills (69686) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072873)

Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage Pt II - Cyborg

A song about a broken hearted guy who ends up having sex with a robot that is part vacuum cleaner part robotic pig. He ends up short circuiting it (getting it wet somehow) and going to jail for murder (illegal to harm cyborgs in the futuristic society).

BTW - I'm pretty sure the robot was a male. Anyone remember this?

Re:Obligatory Music Reference (1)

dboyles (65512) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072966)

"How about a tiny but exciting..."

And yes, the robot was male. I can't remember if he's the one who spoke German or not.

Joe's Garage acts I, II, and III: Truly a great work.

More Importantly.... (0, Redundant)

Himring (646324) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072876)

What Sex is Your Robot?

More importantly, what robot is your sex?...

This is just great! (5, Funny)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072880)

Great idea! Let us intruduce sexism to robots!

  1. A robot shall not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
  4. A robot must make moronic remarks full of infantile Freudian connotations if it is male, or otherwise take offense thereto, as long as such remarks do not conflict with foolish stereotypes, unbelievably bad taste and especially low intelligence in the range between cretin and imbecile.

I ask you, is this really a world we want our robots to live in?!

Obligitory quote (1)

SirTwitchALot (576315) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072891)

From the Citibank identity theft commercial: "Sixty-four inch plasma monitor, twenty gigabyte wireless router, and twenty thousand bucks to complete my robot... my girl robot. This is gunna be the best prom ever. Heh heh heh."

its the same as computers (5, Funny)

ejaw5 (570071) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072892)

A class learning French and trying to get to grips with gender wondered if the word "computer" should be masculine or feminine. Split into two groups, men and women, they were asked to say which they considered a computer to be, and to give four reasons for their decision

The women decided that computers are masculine because:
-In order to gain their attention, you have to turn them on.
-They are full of data, but are still clueless.
-They are supposed to help you solve your problems, but most of the time they are the problem.
-As soon as you commit to one, you realise that if you had waited a little longer, you could have had a better one.

The men decided that computers are feminine because:

-No one but their creator understands their internal logic.
-The language they use to communicate with each other is totally incomprehensible.
-Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later retrieval.
-As soon as you commit to them, you spend half your disposable income on buying accesories for them.

Re:its the same as computers (1)

The Wicked Priest (632846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9073045)

I was just about to post about this, though less humorously. In English, we can say it's neuter, an "it"; but in a language like French, there's no neuter -- every noun is either masculine or feminine. So for French speakers, this is a real issue.

Google and the Babel fish say that "a robot" is "un robot" in French, which means it's masculine. But I'm not sure how accurate they are.

Female. (4, Interesting)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072907)

God, can you imagine a bunch of robots running with Testosterone emulation? They'll be trying to hump everything in sight!

Much better to have female robots. They're much more reasonable and reserved, not going berserk like the males.

Wait, what parallel universe am I talking about?? They're both crazy!! </joke>

I say, leave gender out of the equation. It's kind of creepy if you have robots lamely emulating human characteristics. Also, it's not a good idea to include gender, because it introduces complexity which we don't really need at this point. Perhaps it would be useful for recreational robots, but for robots that actually serve a purpose... No thanks.

The author of the article says that taking on genders will allow them to better interact with humans. I think it would make things more difficult, because gender is such a human construct. We have so many complex psychological issues with our fellow beings. I think it would make things much simpler if we just made perceptions of robots as they are, without intentionally engineering them to appear as a certain gender. Robots should behave like Robots. We don't really know what that is yet, but I think "behavior" of robots is a long way down the road. We're not there yet.

BTW what's the point of having a gender associated with a robot? I don't think Robots have need of those characteristics, or sex for that matter. Well, maybe Infrared port sex. Or maybe Seriel port....yeah...

Well, now that I think of it, I can think of a purpose. Marketing. So, for an assistant robot, you make it abundantly female, and of course, all the guys will want one. Then you make the "security" droid male, (Personally I think a female security robot might be more appealing, but then you've got to play on the typical Male Protector stereotype), and this will get all the females buying one. I think it's a little cheap. But, the markedroids have got to have something to keep them busy, I suppose.

OK I'm thinking about this way too much. Off to finish finals...

considering this is /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9072908)

...the title should have stopped at "What Sex?"

HK-47 (2, Funny)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072920)


Only you quivering meatbags worry about such things.

Sex != gender (5, Interesting)

slashd'oh (234025) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072933)

An important distinction to be made is that sex is not gender. Sex should be used only when referring to the biological nature of the object in question, whereas gender refers to a set of socially-constructed rules governing the objects behavior in society. To quote Everything2 [everything2.com] : "In anthropology gender is the accepted way to refer to a set of behaviors/beliefes often related to physical sex traits. You can have a gender that is different from your biological sex, if your culture premits."

I only have ONE thing to say. (1)

l33t-gu3lph1t3 (567059) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072939)

Fem-bots!

Neither (3, Funny)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072943)

For reliability reasons, I prefer machines based on eunuchs.

My fembot (1)

GuyinVA (707456) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072953)

[austin powers]She's a a man, baby. Yeah![/austin powers]

The Buggles knew this (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072960)

I love you miss robot
electronically
I love you miss robot
programmed just to please

You make love like a metronome
don't drive to fast when you take me home
touch the seam on your silver skin
I feel so hard when you take me in

I love you miss robot
electronically...
I love you miss robot,
programmed just to please

Talk of love on the telephone
when your voice fades theres a paying tone
force a coin and your there again
and my loneliness is paid away

I love you miss robot
programmed just to please
I love you miss robot
Electronically

I must leave miss robot,
give yourself to me
I love you miss robot
Do you love me?

I love you miss robot
electronically
I love you miss robot
Programmed just to please

I must leave miss robot
give yourself to me
I love you miss robot

What gender is YOUR robot...... (2, Interesting)

james_in_denver (757233) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072971)

Since selling "sex" was one of the first profitable "businesses" on the 'net, it would make perfect sense for robots to go there too.

Are we going to have people cross-dressing robots to camouflage their sexual preferences?

Would having sex with an anotomically correct robot be cheating on your spouse? (or is that just masturbation?)

Gives new meaning to "Brave New World"!

Why, they're... (5, Funny)

diesel66 (254283) | more than 10 years ago | (#9073027)

Unix, of course!

(sayonara karma)

Vibes? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9073041)

Does this have to do with the direction you put your AA battery into your pocket vibe? Cause they work whichever way they go in, you know..

(I guess this is the point where I mention I'm off getting the vibe for my wife out of the toychest and bringing it back to bed for a mechanical threesome)

(Dammit, that's not a good enough excuse, now I'll have to post this anonymously.)

Well it's obvious, isnt it? (1)

Ahaldra (534852) | more than 10 years ago | (#9073067)

My robot would have the sex "robot".
Everything else would be emulated, so why insisting on this two-sided, archaic worlview?.

Anyone else read this (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9073070)

"Want sex with your robot?"

yes.

I want my robot to be... robotic (4, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 10 years ago | (#9073072)


I want my robot to be... robotic

Seriously. I can't be the only one that finds it really annoying when my Windows XP machine modifies the way it behaves because it is guessing what I want to do. It's damn irritating. Or when it suggests I might want to clean icons off my desktop, or whatever.

I do not want my robot to start cleaning things I haven't told it to clean. Or comment on the fact that it's a nice day. Or try to be funny or cute. Just do as I say. You're a frickin' machine.
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