One topic that I would like to direct my Archive Proposal to, is about a science fiction term called “fembot”. A fembot, also recently named as “gynoid”, is a concept that appears in the science fiction genre to refer to a humanoid robot that possess female attributes. The term gynoid was originated by Gwyneth Jones in her 1985 novel Divine Endurance to refer to a robot slave woman, in futuristic China, who was judged by her beauty. Before the term gynoid became popular, the term fembot was utilized in the television series The Bionic Woman to describe a robot who resembles the female human form. The term has gained popularity in the science fiction genre over the past years since many of the robots that are shown in films and movies depict beautiful and sexy female features. In modern science fiction, gynoids are depicted as domestic servants and sexual objects to attract their audience, in particular the male gender. In the actuality, the term gynoid has brought to reality as many of the robotic designs that have been developed, clearly portrays a female appearance rather than just simply robotic machine. For this reason, I would like to discuss how this science fiction term translates into reality, and how this idea has affected the society we live in. Based on some research I found out that the creation of female-appearing robots has in fact generated a topic of debate and controversy as gender plays a major role when designing these robotic technologies. While some people affirm that female robots can be utilized as helpful tools for tasks that require some form of woman care such as taking care of children or the elderly, others believe that this idea has raise some ethical and moral issues, as it can negatively affect in their interaction with individuals.
When explaining how the term gynoid was originated and how it has taken place in real life, I want to explain the ethical and moral issues people raise when creating these female-appearing robotic technologies. Many people dislike the idea of developing humanoid female robots as they is considered as an offense and insult towards woman. In particular, the female gender is the group who have expressed their discontent when creating these female-appearing machines. They believe that these machines provide a reflection on how society views women, which contributes with the objectification of women as well. According to Tabi Jackson in her article “Female robots: Why this ‘Scarlett Johansson’ bot is more dangerous than you think”, the female robotic design of the famous actress only has the capability to respond to questions like ‘you are very beautiful’ and ‘you are so cute’ with “little more than a coquettish smiles and a wink”. This example reflects the devastating stereotype that society have towards women as it is portrayed as a flirting and sensual type of machine. Additionally, humanoid female robots would not only affect the female gender, but also individuals in general as these creations can lead a human to lose his/her interaction with other humans. Researchers believe that in a long term, individuals could get sentimentally attached with these robots, causing them to become detached with each other and have difficulties when interacting with other people. According to Tufts University computer scientist Matthias Scheutz, “that could lead to unidirectional emotional bonds with machines that the machines cannot reciprocate and could affect the ways people interact with other people.”
Additional questions I would like to answer in my proposal is why are female robots created using woman characteristics. Do their creators try to build the perfect woman? Do they try to replace in the future to the female gender? Does it provide benefits to individuals? Will it affect in a long term their interaction with humans? What would be the impact in the society as a whole? Since the term gynoid appear in science fiction to refer to a sensual and exotic female robot, it raises the discussion of whether these robotic technologies would be utilized as companionship partners, avoiding any interactions with the female gender. Additionally I would like to analyze if the creation of female robots has any potential benefit to individuals in society. According to some research, gender plays an important role in human interaction, therefore it is easier to use female robots as a way to interact with people. They can also be utilized as a way to incentive real women to get more interest in robotics and the technology field.
Summary of the research and Reflection
While doing some research I found interesting facts about the science fiction term gynoid. There is some background history of how the term was originated as well as how the concept has been brought to real life as the number of female robots created has increased in the past few years. There is also some debate of how these robotic gynoids affect people in a negative way, but also there is some counter-argument of how these machines can be beneficial to the society.
Looking through my previous drafts on the topic I want to discuss in my archive project, I feel like I have made a lot of progress compare to when I start developing the project. While the idea of my previous proposal was great, it was still lacking of connection with the science fiction genre. It also was difficult for me to find any sources that will support the idea that I was trying to develop. However, at this time I surely have enough details and sources that would help me develop my final project in a more focused way. The next steps that I am planning to take is to use all the sources I have found so far to back up my main idea and develop it throughout my final write-up. I am attempting to use these sources to develop a more interesting and focused project since I feel this idea has not been talked about that much in class and it is without doubt a topic of great interest and attention.
Zuin Lidia. “A brief history of men who build female robots”. https://versions.killscreen.com/a-brief-history-of-men-who-build-female-robots/
Weiss, Suzannah. “We talked to an expert about the pros and cons of sex robots” http://www.complex.com/life/2016/03/sex-robots.
Steve, Rose. “Ex Machina and sci-fi’s obsession with sexy female robots” https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/jan/15/ex-machina-sexy-female-robots-scifi-film-obsession
Daratto, Laura. “Bot Looks Like a Lady. Should Robots Have a Gender”. http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2015/02/robot_gender_is_it_bad_for_human_women.html
Lin, Patrick. “Relationships with Robots: Good or Bad for Humans”. Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/patricklin/2016/02/01/relationships-with-robots-good-or-bad-for-humans/#6acefe3f291e.html.
Gee, Tabi Jackson. “Female robots: Why this ‘Scarlett Johansson’ bot is more dangerous than you think”. The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/female-robots-why-this-scarlett-johansson-bot-is-more-dangerous/ . Web
Conrad, Dean. “Women in Science Fiction Film: A Viewer”. http://www.deanconrad.com/writing/sfflists/wisff_viewer.htm. Web.
Klein, BJ. College Weekend…a Strange, True Story. Darkerotichorror.
Melzer, Patricia. Alien Constructions: Science Fiction and Feminist Thought. University of Texas Press. p. 204.
Simple Complexities. “Feminism and the Figure of the Fembot”. https://writingwithrobin.com/tag/fembot/htm. Web.