Snow White and Seven Dwarfs is a fairy tale that has been recreated numerous times since it was first introduced to audiences. With each rendition, a new theme is explored but the essential storyline of the fairy tale I retained. Its creators wrote in an era when blending of stepmothers and their step children were a rare, almost impossible norm. Therefore, the story touched on many childrens fears of being abandoned by their parents or having a step parent, specifically a step mother. A more potent theme however, was how older people dealt with inevitable loss and the glaring of growing old. Beauty wields a lot of power; both in the past when women donned regalia that completely covered them up to this era where less is more.
The fear of growing old and less attractive is an issue that still remains pertinent in society. Our society is afflicted by vanity and the need to constantly drink from the glass of youthfulness. In the story, Snow Whites step-mother has an incessant fear of growing old and therefore losing the title of being the fairest in the land. Her mirror feeds her vanity much as it tells her the truth. This fear is as a result of her husband leaving her for a younger wound. To validate her beauty and youthfulness, she gets married to Snow Whites father, the King at the time. However, her reign as the most beautiful woman in the land is short lived when Snow White clocks seven years. Then a great rivalry is born, one so vicious that it leads to death of Snow White.
The societys incessant obsession with vanity and beauty still lingers. Society holds the notion that women who are considered beautiful or attractive, have an easier time navigating through life. Hence, many women will resort to all sorts of antics to remain youthful. The last decade has seen the insurgence of beauty products or surgical procedures that guarantee to make women appear younger. Some of these surgical procedures include buttock enhancements, liposuction and skin lightening Furthermore, if one cannot afford these procedures, they can adopt certain make up techniques that are not only deceitful but have grave consequences later on. This is reminiscent of Snow Whites stepmother who fed off the blood of birds and young virgins to retain her beauty. Secondly, the story obsession with Snow Whites purity and innocence casts a shadow on how a woman ought to be, unsuspecting and submissive. Snow White remains behind every day to perform homely duties and this shows us that social constructs of womens role in the society have still not evolved as such. This narrative weaves into that of the relationship between man and robots; he has created social machines that can uphold these attributes, absolute beauty and submission. He craves for a machine that defies age and devoid of emotions like envy and ill intent. This is a clear reflection of the void society has created and is therefore trying to fill with a programmed machine.
The film Ex Machina explores the emerging issue of sentimentalism, sensuality and romanticism between robots and human beings. Much research has been done in the field of artificial intelligence and its pertinence to the human race. In this research paper, I aim to elaborate the problems that will be presented in the future should this phenomenon hold fort. I have organized my paper into three main sections: the introduction that aims to visit the contextual history of robots and their relationship to human beings. The second part is an argumentative and analytical approach towards the evolution of this relationship and whether a romantic relationship between a machine and a human being is possible, as well as a persuasion that this type of relationship could prove toxic to the human generation in the future. Lastly, I offer insights on how this issue can be remedied based on formidable evidence.
To form the basis of my argument, it is paramount that some questions are raised in relation to the nature of the relationship between a human being and a robot.
Can human beings form proper relationships with robots?
Can these relationships lead to love or are they a form of attachment?
Can robots substitute real love?
Can alterations in artificial intelligence, such as speech development make robots more sentient?
What threat does this kind of relationship pose to the human race?
"It is perfectly possible to feel strongly attracted to someone you've never met," Robots were a clever creation of the human mind. They were created to make work easy, as machines ought to. Earlier versions of robots were relegated to performing tasks that were considered mundane or too technical by human beings. They also helped in eliminating redundancies at the work place therefore saving corporations and organizations on wages and operational costs. However, with the passing of time, these robots have had a more evolved role and taken up more responsibilities. Additionally, robots are not just limited to the work place, there are in our homes too. With the evolution of artificial intelligence,
As a matter of principle, human beings have form attachments to their machines because they ease the work load for them. Therefore, with the absence of machines, the work looks insurmountable and boring. For instance, US military personnel who had developed a general fondness for their bomb-disposal robots, much as they were aware that the robot was a tool and only aided them in their operations, the soldiers named them and had funerals for them when they ceased to work (died).
Like any other inanimate object that human beings form an attachment to, the stages of loss still apply, which are often anger and frustration or even a sense of helplessness. However, on close analysis, a relationship was not formed per se; instead a tool that eased work load and its activities had been terminated. Typical human nature dictates that once our machines cease to function, we grieve momentarily and move on. Robots or machines do not hold much sentimental value to us as human beings. Nonetheless, this could change in the future as a result of the strides made in virtual reality, robots are gaining more and more of human attributes. These attributes or personification of the robots are what will enable us to form formidable relationships with them at the expense of actual relationships. This has already become a trend evidenced by most of us forming emotional relationships with our phones and our increased capability to empathize with robots. This is just goes to show that we will and actually can fall in love with robots should the right conditions present themselves.
This emotional attachment, similar to that we profess for pets, determines how we treat these robots. Once the attachment is formed, we tend to develop a more humane attitude towards them and relieve them from tasks such as disabling bombs (a risky affair).
How could a human-robot relationship qualify as a domestic partnership?
Robots are starting to bear a striking resemblance to human beings with features such as hair or skin and facial expressions similar to ours. These are the attributes that will enable a palpable relationship between robots and human beings, their ability to interact beyond the virtual. For instance, their ability to hold hands with human beings will instil feelings of sentimentality and eventually love. Another aspect of this relationship is sex. Sex has morphed from just happening between two human beings to being initiated between the former and a robot. For example, the game Love Plus, users are able to hold hands with their virtual girlfriends via a stylus and kiss her by touching her lips on the screen. This also evidenced by the increased numbers in manufacturing of love/sex dolls that enables an individual to penetrate it with minimal or no movements from the doll.
This creates a worrisome trend that human beings have resorted to forming erotic relationships with robots. Why the emergence and ease of this trend? Well, first and foremost, not everyone is socially oriented and many people who suffer social anxiety find it difficult to interact with others or even form relationships with them. This then limits their options of having the relationships they desire. Secondly, it is convenient to have a relationship, whatever its nature, with a robot. It does not require as much investment, in terms of money or time as would a human being. The individuals feelings or needs are also reciprocated or satiated.
. "Nurturing a machine that presents itself as dependent creates significant social attachments," This threatens human relationships in terms of population and interaction. If more people prefer to copulate with a robot, then it infringes on societys ability to increase its population. More people will find comfort in a robot rather than a human being and these relationships will degenerate. Human beings will merely exist rather than socialize. Another issue that will emerge will be that of women forced to lower their standards as they will encounter competition from robots. Secondly, they may have to resort to cosmetic alterations to even be considered remotely attractive compared to the sexbots whose physical configurations border on perfection.
Ethical issues also arise with the creation of these sex robots. For instance, a group of boys that affects a collaborative effort to purchase one of these and therefore take turns to have sex with the robot is no different from a gang of boys who decide to gang rape a girl. It validates these sorts of vices since the robot is unable to voice its lack of consent. Additionally, we perceive a situation in future were robot brothels emerge therefore presenting a shift from human sex workers to mechanical ones.
Much as robots have made mans work easier and smoother, the evolution of his relationship with these machines poses a threat to human existence. Man is looking for ways to substitute or minimize human interactions and this transfer this function to robots. In the future, relationships, more specifically romantic relationships, will be very possible due advancements in technology. For instance, scientists have found a way of making the robot more viable by adding a personality to it. Human beings react to mutuality and therefore would be very responsive to a robot that can hold conversations, have a sense of humour and assuage their sorrows in addition to indulging their other sensitive faculties.
Certain mechanisms have to be put in place to manage how human beings interact with robots. For instance: Cyber laws have to be put in place to regulate social robots and determine what level of interaction is acceptable and respectable to them since they have emotions are very capable of simulating human emotions. Certain behaviours that are deemed immoral such as gang rape should be prohibited and not be performed on these social robots. Secondly, Reconfigure the purpose of robots in human beings lives; limit their purpose to relieving work that we consider dangerous or unpalatable. Additionally, robots used in scientific research or for medical purposes should be used for just that instead of using social robots to replace the function of human beings. Sex bots, if used appropriately, could be used for rehabilitative purposes. They can be used to change attitudes and behaviours towards women and can also be used to remedy sexual dysfunctions through simulations. The robots then act as therapists or sex surrogates. The role of robots still remains important in our lives but only if we use them for the elevation of humans and not to replace or simulate his social functions.
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