Hot circuits: a celebration of the sexiest robots in cinema

Text: Yeong Sassall

Noelle Faulkner asks the question, do we really need real life sexbots when Hollywood has already given us so much? The answer is no

ICYMI, this week, a group of academic robot ethicists launched a global campaign to ban the development of sex robots. Which are basically those realistic-looking Japanese intimacy dolls already available, but tricked-up with sophisticated artificial intelligence that can listen, converse, sense touch, move and "feel" pleasure.  Welcome to 2015. 

It's insane that this is where we are as a society, because The Campaign Against Sex Robots has a valid ethical point. They argue that the development of these auto-maidens can lead to the further objectification of women, reduce empathy and "add to power relations of inequality, violence and sex." Basically the opposite of the happiest dudebot on the land, NAO.  

Truly though, we shouldn't be shocked. Pop culture, particularly film, has had a longstanding obsession with fetishising artificial intelligence. And it probably doesn't help that the most common premise for sexy female androids in film revolves around men with god complexes getting off on designing 'the perfect woman' (thankfully, most end up fighting back). On top of that, a survey conducted last year in the UK showed that 1 in 5 of us would have sex with a robot. One. In. Five.

Could life truly be on its way to imitating art? When powerful microchips fall into idle hands, are sexbots the result? Think about Jude Law as lovebot Gigolo Joe in A.I, Alicia Vikander as Eve in Ex Machina and Scarlett Johansson as a desirable Siri-like operating system in Her... all very scary possibilities that could soon arrive at a future near you.

But enough of the doomsday talk - I don't want to ruin your weekend by lamenting on all the sad robots out there stuck in sex dens.  Let's talk entertainment, and look to the loveable automatons that Hollywood has already gifted us: Johnny 5, R2D2, Optimus Prime, Bicentennial Man, Astro Boy!  Tell me you weren't taken with TARS from Interstellar's dry wit and conversation skills (swoon), that EVE from WALL-E's cool, cute aloofness didn't made you smile, or how  young Angelina Jolie's bad assery made you forget how bad a film Cyborg 2 was.  And then there's the icons:  Bow to Maria the Maschinenmensch from Metropolis, the first on-screen robot and inspiration for C3PO; KITT the cool car from Nightrider; the late Playboy playmate Dorothy Stratten in Galaxina, Robocop, Terminator, Austin Powers' fembots and the originals from Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, all the way through to Rachel and Pris from Blade Runner. Hell, even HAL9000, though he's a bit of an asshole, gets my vote.  

Robots may be upon us and yes, they're magnificent and cool and awesome, and Hollywood may tell us they're all stone cold fox sexy, but that doesn't mean you have to actually have sex with them, compute?

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