The Scary Future Of Robot Sex & Artificial Love - Roanne van Voorst

The Scary Future Of Robot Sex & Artificial Love - Roanne van Voorst

Studying the Future of Human Sexuality (00:00:00)

  • Roanne van Voorst, a Futures Anthropologist, studies emerging future trends by visiting places and people where these trends are already evident.
  • Modern human sexuality is undergoing a transition due to technology, offering convenient solutions for various problems. However, concerns arise about whether this convenience truly enhances happiness, as it reduces vulnerability and human awkwardness.
  • People are increasingly creating or choosing their desired forms of love and intimacy, including platonic life partnerships and active sex lives in old age.
  • The easy availability of new partners and the ability to discard old ones through technology raise questions about the genuine contribution of this convenience to our well-being.
  • Van Voorst's personal experience with an advanced AI chatbot demonstrated its ability to provide casual, friendly distraction, potentially reducing time spent interacting with real friends.
  • The speaker describes an experience with an app that offered superficial interactions, depleting their social bandwidth and leading to an emotional affair.
  • The speaker draws a parallel between the convenience of modern technology, such as Uber, and the loss of opportunities for spontaneous conversations that can contribute to happiness.
  • The speaker emphasizes the conflict between our perceived desires (e.g., hyperpalatable food, effortless technology) and what is truly beneficial for us in the long term.
  • The increased screen time in our daily lives has come at the expense of other life areas, particularly social interactions.

Roanne’s Research on Sex Dolls (00:08:10)

  • A study conducted by the speaker revealed that the sex doll industry and certain feminist groups advocate for their use as a means to prevent abuse against human sex workers.
  • Despite claims of popularity, there is skepticism surrounding the actual sales figures of sex dolls, with the industry possibly attempting to normalize their usage.
  • The speaker's personal experience renting a sex doll from a brothel proved to be unsettling and unsatisfying due to its limited mobility and lack of genuine interaction.
  • While sex dolls and robots may gain popularity due to curiosity and efficiency, the speaker raises concerns about relying solely on artificial intelligence and dolls for romance and sex.
  • Intimacy with real partners requires the development of patience, negotiation, and social skills, which could be neglected in a society where desires are instantly fulfilled by robots, potentially impacting democracy and interpersonal skill development.

Can Robots Convey Actual Connection? (00:14:57)

  • The convenience of technology may come at the expense of social skills, as children who grow up with smart speakers may not learn basic courtesies like saying please and thank you.
  • Robots lack the element of surprise and true spontaneity, which are crucial aspects of human relationships.
  • The growing trend of renting friends and platonic companions highlights the desire for human connection, but these interactions often feel inauthentic and lack genuine emotional connection.
  • AI girlfriends and sex robots may diminish the sense of scarcity and status associated with traditional relationships, especially for men, as they lack the exclusivity and validation that comes with traditional relationships.

The Love Pills Available on the Market (00:21:09)

  • Some love pills on the market can make users feel more open and less scared to discuss certain topics.
  • Therapists in Europe use these pills to help couples overcome challenges.
  • MDMA-assisted psychotherapy and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy are considered high-risk strategies.
  • Psychedelic drugs like MDMA and ketamine can have risks and may not always lead to enjoyable experiences.
  • Self-administering these drugs, especially with a partner, can be risky.
  • Scientists are interested in creating pills that can make people fall in love, but this is considered extremely wary and unlikely to happen.
  • The mechanisms behind love and consciousness are not fully understood, making it difficult to create such pills.

Are Love Pills the Same Effect as Alcohol? (00:26:28)

  • Love pills, like alcohol, can be used as coping mechanisms to numb emotions and reduce the ability to think and ruminate.
  • People already use various strategies to enhance their intimate experiences, such as MDMA, wine, and sexy lingerie.
  • New methods, including drugs like PT-141 (bremelanotide), are emerging to increase libido and sexual function.
  • PT-141 is a melanocortin receptor agonist that stimulates sexual desire and arousal in the brain.
  • It promotes increased libido and sexual function for both men and women.
  • PT-141 is available in places like the Network State (Prospera, Honduras), where FDA regulations are not enforced.
  • The line between using low-dose supplements like Cialis and using "love drugs" like PT-141 is unclear.
  • Caution is advised when purchasing supplements from unregulated sources, as they may contain unknown or harmful ingredients.

The Experience of an Erotic Massage (00:30:40)

  • The author received an erotic massage from a sex worker as part of her research on trends in sexuality.
  • The massage was similar to renting a friend, with the sex worker creating a comfortable and non-awkward environment.
  • The author was not interested in having sex with the sex worker due to being in love with someone else at the time.
  • The erotic massage focused on tantric massage for women, which is gaining popularity due to the orgasm gap and the desire for women to learn more about their sexuality.
  • The author found the experience liberating as it allowed her to explore her boundaries and desires without feeling guilty.
  • The author discusses the potential future of robot sex and artificial love, exploring the ethical and societal implications of these technologies.
  • She argues that robot sex could potentially address issues such as the orgasm gap and sexual loneliness, but also raises concerns about the potential for addiction, exploitation, and the erosion of human intimacy.
  • The author emphasizes the importance of considering the potential consequences of these technologies and ensuring that they are developed and used in a responsible manner.

The World of Virtual Relationships (00:35:56)

  • Virtual dating and online relationships are gaining popularity through virtual worlds and online dating apps.
  • In virtual worlds, users create avatars, interact with others, and use cryptocurrency for purchases.
  • Virtual dating offers liberation and self-exploration but can feel superficial due to the lack of physical presence and potential deception.
  • Online dating is mainstream and significantly impacts many lives.
  • AI voice dates provide tailored feedback to enhance dating skills and confidence.
  • Newer dating apps emphasize voice and video communication for authentic connections.
  • Online dating can be time-consuming and sterile, with excessive messaging and emoji use.
  • A proposed solution is a platform for 60-second video introductions or speed dates, enabling efficient screening of potential partners.

Matching With a Partner Through DNA (00:41:48)

  • DNA-matched dating involves sending DNA samples to a company for analysis and compatibility reports with potential partners. Some companies even suggest whether couples should have children together based on genetic factors.
  • Critics argue that this oversimplifies human relationships by focusing solely on DNA matches and ignoring the role of circumstances and experiences.
  • Kissing is considered the original DNA match, allowing individuals to assess each other's immune systems and physical compatibility.
  • Dating apps use algorithms that pre-select and deselect potential matches based on various criteria, potentially limiting the pool of available partners.
  • The agenda of dating apps is to keep users engaged and interested in multiple people rather than finding a long-term partner.
  • Even during a first date, part of the brain may still be focused on other potential candidates due to the influence of dating apps.
  • The allure of novelty in dating apps, where there are more potential partners than one can ever meet, can lead to a lack of commitment and a half-hearted approach to relationships.
  • Polyamory, a relationship structure involving multiple romantic and/or sexual partners with the consent of all parties involved, is mentioned as an alternative relationship model.

Is Polyamory Actually Growing in Popularity? (00:47:14)

  • Polyamorous relationships require constant communication and emotional labor to maintain, often using digital agendas to schedule dates and communicate with multiple partners.
  • Jealousy and envy are common emotions in polyamorous relationships, but open and honest communication can help mitigate these feelings.
  • Polyamorous relationships can reduce infidelity and feelings of guilt associated with monogamy, but not everyone is suited for polyamory, as it can cause anxiety and emotional distress for some individuals.
  • Effective communication is crucial in all relationships, and withholding the truth can be patronizing. Expressing preferences and desires in a positive and constructive manner can help train a partner to become a better version of themselves.

Hanging Out With Asexual People (00:53:31)

  • Asexual people are those who do not experience sexual attraction.
  • Some asexual people choose to live a solo lifestyle, which means they thrive in being single and do not feel the need for a special person in their lives.
  • The growing acceptance of solo lifestyles is leading to a decrease in the cultural taboo associated with being older and single, especially for women.
  • The speaker expresses concern that the solo lifestyle movement may be a way for people to avoid emotional openness and vulnerability.
  • They worry that people are using the term "sologamist" as a way to cope with heartbreak or relationship difficulties, rather than as a genuine reflection of their preferences.
  • The speaker also criticizes the medicalization of emotions, where conditions like depression, anxiety, and ADHD are used to label and justify certain behaviors or feelings.
  • The speaker identifies two groups of people who adopt the solo lifestyle:
    • Those who have had successful relationships in the past but genuinely prefer living alone.
    • Those who are mainly young men working in demanding environments like Silicon Valley, Japan, New York, and London.
  • The speaker expresses concern about the second group of solo lifestyle adopters, who are often young men who work excessively and find it difficult to maintain relationships due to stress and exhaustion.
  • They argue that these individuals might actually be capable of having loving relationships or friendships if they were not so overburdened with stress and stimulation.
  • Love is essential for humans, like food and drink.
  • Technology is changing the form of love, making it quicker and more efficient but also more distracting.
  • The need for love and intimacy remains unchanged.
  • We should be critical of new technologies and ask if they solve a problem or just cost time and energy.
  • Even if we become robots in the future, we will still fall in love.

Where to Find Roanne (01:00:46)

  • Roanne van Voorst is the principal investigator of a research project on the future of healthcare.
  • She can be found on
  • She also produces a monthly radio play called "The Emic and Six in a Bed."

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