Iona Italia & Rob Brooks , Two for Tea Podcast

110 - Rob Brooks - Sex, The Machine, and the Algorithmic Future

14 Nov 2021 • 68 min • EN
68 min
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Rob’s website: Rob’s academic profile: Follow Rob on Twitter: Rob’s column for The Conversation: Buy Rob’s first book, Sex, Genes & Rock ’n’ Roll, here: Buy Rob’s new book, Artificial Intimacy: Virtual friends, digital lovers and algorithmic matchmakers, here: References Rob’s Areo article, ‘How Virtual Friends Can Influence People’: Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People: Timestamps 2:04 Iona reads an excerpt from Artificial Intimacy 7:58 An outline of the book; its themes and genesis. 13:39 ‘Digital lovers’—virtual reality porn, sex robots, smart sex toys &c. Iona and Rob debate: love, sex, and deception—are all relationships in some sense illusions? Is sentience essential for real relationships? Could all elements of ‘genuine’ human relationships be replicated by machines—could human/machine relationships become ‘genuine’? 27:26 More debate on sex, friendship, and companionship in light of the artificial. Can there be ‘real intimacy’ between humans and machines? 33:31 Digital friends. Dale Carnegie’s ‘likeability algorithm’: can AI also manipulate us in this way? Iona reads a ‘chilling’ passage from Rob’s book: how much do algorithms influence us, and how much more influential will they become in time? If Carnegie with his limited vantage point was able to codify how to effectively influence people, just think about what omnipresent AI algorithms could do! 44:08 Could machines get us to like them more than we like other people by using everything they know to be nice and appeal to us, by giving us the ‘tastiest’ parts of a relationship without the downsides? Case study: Eliza the chatbot. Can we be fooled/deceived by such machines? 55:42 The most controversial view in Rob’s book: if we assume that machines are going to get better at faking human interactions, especially regarding sex and relationships, to the extent that this is enough for a lot of people, then that could potentially be a very good thing. More debate/discussion on/of this and the dominance in our lives of the online. 1:07:30 A shocking plot twist. (And: Slavoj Žižek’s sex robots.)

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