Automatic Sweethearts for Transhumanists
Reason for embargo
This is the author accepted manuscript. It is currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by MIT Press.
In this chapter I will primarily address three questions. First, if we assume, as several futurists profess to believe (Kurzweil 1999, 142-148; Levy 2008, 22; Pew Research Center 2014, 19), that within a few decades we will be able to build robots that do all the things that we would normally expect a real human lover and sexual companion to do, and that do them just as well, will they then also be, as lovers and companions, as satisfying as a real person would - or will we have reason to think or feel that something is amiss, that they are, in some way, not as good? To answer this question, I shall assume that those robots will not be real persons, by which I mean that although they may give the impression of being a person, they are in fact not persons. A person, as I am using the term here, is a being that is both self-aware and self-concerned. A being is self-aware if there is (to use Nagel’s felicitous phrase) something it is like to be that being, and it is selfconcerned if it matters to it what happens in the world, and especially what happens to it. A real person is a being that does not merely appear to be self-aware and self-concerned, by showing the kind of behaviour that we have learned to expect from a self-aware and self-concerned being, but one that really is self-aware and self-concerned. A being that only behaves as if it were a person, without being one, I shall call a pseudo-person. [...]
In Danaher, J., & Levy, N., (Eds.), Philosophy and Ethics of Sex Robots, MIT Press, Harvard, 2017
Place of publication