An Olio Happy Hour on tech and sex taught by Lawrence Cappello and Skye Cleary in Strand's rare book room.
The Great Laws of Technology - Lawrence Cappello
So people are having sex with robots now. Which is great. Or not. Either way, what a wondrous modern age we all live in. But before we dive into that, we should familiarize ourselves with some of the more dominant ideas and concerns that often come into play whenever humanity talks about technology in general.
This mini-Olio will offer an accessible survey of the intellectual tools used by historians of technology. Topics will include the “great laws of technology,” the perils of determinism, and how rapid technological change tends to produce both winners and losers on a global scale.
Morality and Sexbots - Skye Cleary
In an increasingly fragmented society where more people are living and dying alone than ever before and have more virtual acquaintances than friends in real life, AI is evolving to help fill the intimate voids in our lives. New realms are being created with Oculus Rift headsets, and we’re facing new forms of relationships with sex dolls, fluffy cuddle-bots, and kiss-bots.
We will touch on some of the philosophical issues with the design and use of intimate robots through questions such as: Are lovebots and sexbots mere “objects of our inclinations”, as Kant might argue, or do they deserve more respect? What does it mean to create robots that are designed to consent to our every whim? And at what point do they become morally equivalent to humans?