Sex tech is fast becoming more and more common – or as common as porn can get – in our lives. So the TV show Humans – a collaboration between UK’s Channel 4 and AMC – seems to have graced our TV sets at the right moment.
Originally adapted from the 2012 Swedish drama Real Humans by Sam Vincent and Jonathan Bradley, this version takes place in a world where humans adopt humanoid robots as servants and caretakers. They’re known as ‘synths’ and can be identified by their bright green eyes. They’re everywhere, as office workers, caretakers, maids, and even as sex workers.
This is where I feel things get interesting. Putting aside the other issues explored in the TV show – the general uncomfortable feeling many characters feel around synths, dealing with issues of being replaced by one, feeling inadequate etc. – I am more interested at looking at human connection between robots and humans. And yes that includes having sex with them. Humans explores this rather well I would say. Though it’s all still theoretical (since we don’t currently have any synths in our midst) it does ask some interesting questions.
Will one have sex with a robot? Well, some would in the TV show. Humans implies that all brothels have replaced real women with synths – and people who visit these brothels seem to be fine with it. After all, here is a space where a woman will literally allow you to do anything to her. She is a synth programmed for sex after all.
A woman decides to leave her husband for her synth because her hunky, male synth does everything for her. The only time she wishes she had a real human is after having sex with her synth a few times, she wishes that it would be more spontaneous and experimental. It, of course, can only do as it is programmed to do.
But the thing I was struck most with was that the whole time I was watching the show, I was getting excited at the prospect of having my very own synth. I mean, I see the moral and social implications – if we can get everything out of synths, then why bother with real humans? Would the human population decline because no one is having real sex anymore? I’m sure we won’t get that far, because at the end of the day a part of enjoying sex also includes having your partner enjoy having sex with you. And sure, just like how I use a vibrator to get off, I might want a synth for the same reason, but I’ll still crave real, human contact.
What do you think?