Those who subscribe to Salvo Magazine should be expecting Salvo 38 (Fall 2016) to be arriving in your mailboxes any day. (Those who do not yet subscribe to Salvo can fix that by clicking here.)
In this issue I’ve contributed a short article about feminism. In my article, which is available to read for free HERE, I’ve explored the latest development in the topsy-turvy world of feminist theory: the notion that when men act gentlemanly towards women, or when men have too much warm-hearted affection towards a wife or girlfriend, such men are actually perpetuating the same system of “gender colonialism” that includes rape and wife-beating. The article is a continuation of a theme I started exploring in Winter 2013 with my article ‘The Massacre of Valentine’s Day‘, in which I observed that hostility to positive man-woman relationships runs like a golden thread throughout much third-wave feminist literature.
Women will likely have to register for the draft, Army Secretary says
I read in the news today that U.S. military Army Secretary, John McHugh, said earlier this week that there is a likelihood that women will eventually have to register for the draft in order for “true and pure equality” is to be realized.
This is one of those situations where it doesn’t feel good to say “I told you so”. But I predicted this three years ago in my Salvo article ‘Mixed Companies: Women in Combat, Feminism & Misogyny.’ Thankfully, this particular Salvo article is available online so you don’t even have to subscribe to our wonderful magazine to read it. (Still, we strongly encourage you to subscribe so you can read all the other excellent articles.)
From my article ‘The New Couplings: Are Human & Robot Weddings Next?‘:
“Sociable robots promise to avoid the messiness of flesh-and-blood relationships through a kind of ‘customized intimacy.’ Imagine having a relationship with a humanoid that—perhaps by means of a wireless connection to your brain—knew exactly what you needed and when you needed it, knew just what to say and when to say it, and knew all your sexual desires and how to meet them. In this type of relationship, all your own needs and desires would be met, while the apparent ‘needs’ of your humanoid lover would simply be a projection of your own.
“We already have a hint of how such customized intimacy might work, derived from the way Google gives us search results. In 2007 Google imposed on the public something called the personalized search, which gives users the search results it thinks they want to see, based on all the information it has collected about them. As Nicholas Carr observes in his book The Big Switch (2008), ‘We welcome personalization tools and algorithms because they let us get precisely what we want when we want it, with a minimum of fuss.’ More recently, Google scientists have begun experimenting with something called ‘audio-fingerprinting,’ a technique that would enable Google to eavesdrop on the background sounds in your room, so it could collect even more data about you and compile a more detailed picture of your needs and desires.
“As more advances are made in machine learning, it is possible that similar algorithms could be developed to program humanoids (who may perhaps be wirelessly connected to our brains) to know exactly what we want and then instantly provide it. When that happens, will we welcome the machines that give us ‘precisely what we want when we want it, with a minimum of fuss’?
“Sherry Turkle asked numerous people that question while doing research for her book Alone Together. Her interviews suggest that some people may already possess an emotional and psychological proclivity for forming intimate relationships with machines. Turkle quotes a 64-year-old named Wesley, who reflected on the advantages of robots over real people: ‘I’d want from the robot a lot of what I want from a woman, but I think the robot would give me more in some ways. With a woman, there are her needs to consider. . . . That’s the trouble I get into. If someone loves me, they care about my ups and downs. And that’s so much pressure. . . . [With a robot] I could stay in my comfort zone.’
The prospect of humans developing love relationships with computer-programed robots is being heralded by a number of academics as the natural next step in the evolution of both computers and human beings.
Robots already meet a number of human needs, especially in industry. As technology advances to the point where robots can be designed to act in ways that are virtually indistinguishable from human behaviors, many are wondering why we should object to robots being programmed to meet our emotional, psychological, and sexual needs as well.
Thus, excitement is brewing in the budding field of social robotics that it may one day be possible to produce machines that can facilitate the pleasures of romantic relationships without requiring the effort and mutuality that are needed to sustain a relationship with a real, live human being.
In my feature in the latest edition of Salvo magazine I explain why Western society is approach a state of psychological and philosophical readiness to begin marrying machines, and I also suggest some reasons why this might not be such a good idea. My colleagues at Salvo have been kind enough to put my article online for the benefit of people who can’t afford to subscribe to the magazine. The following link takes you straight to my article:
The New Couplings Are Human & Robot Weddings Next?
I am delighted to announce that the Winter 2014 edition of Salvo is now hot off the press. My own contribution to the magazine comes in the form of a devastating critique of the Common Core curriculum. Condensing some of the observations I made in my earlier series of blog posts, I have tried to present a very succinct summary of the primary objections I have to the new curriculum.
Most of the articles for Salvo can only be accessed by people who purchase the physical magazine (click here to subscribe), but because we know that not everyone can afford a subscription (even at the phenomenal price of $25.99 for a whole year), we have made my article on Common Core available online for free.
My article, titled ‘School Deform: How Common Core Promotes Cultural Engineering by Killing the Imagination’ argues that Common Core is essentially a neo-Skinnerist conspiracy to control the next generation through squeezing us into a pragmatic cast that kills the imagination in the process. To read my article, click on the link below:
School Deform: How Common Core Promotes Cultural Engineering by Killing the Imagination‘