• Turned On

  • Science, Sex and Robots
  • By: Kate Devlin
  • Narrated by: Kate Devlin
  • Length: 7 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

 

The idea of the seductive sex robot is the stuff of myth, legend and science fiction. From the ancient Greeks to 21st-century movies, robots in human form have captured our imagination, our hopes and our fears. But beyond the fantasies there are real and fundamental questions about our relationship with technology as it moves into the realm of robotics. 

Sexual activity is central to our very existence; it shapes how we think, how we act and how we live. With advances in technology come machines that may one day think independently. What will happen to us when we form close relationships with these intelligent systems? Sex robots are here and here to stay, and more are coming. 

This audiobook explores how the emerging and future development of sexual companion robots might affect us and the society in which we live. It explores the social changes arising from emerging technologies and our relationships with the machines that may someday care for us and about us. 

Chapter by chapter, this audiobook will build on the science and the philosophy surrounding our most intimate relationship with technology. The scene is set with the history of the artificial sexual companion, then goes on to explore the ‘modern’ robot and the 20th-century sci-fi that promised us our own robot slaves. 

This is followed by an explanation of artificial intelligence and the urge to create sentient machines. It delves into our own psychology: how does desire affect our own behaviour, and can we become attached to an inanimate object? This then leads to a discussion of the good (robots making society a better place) and the bad (the potential for all to go wrong).

©2018 Kate Devlin (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Accent Was Occasionally Challenging

There were a few points where (even after a couple of rewinds) my Southern American ears just could not parse the author/narrator's Irish accent. But I don't think I missed anything important. On the whole, I found the book very interesting and informative, even though I don't completely agree with the author. Unlike her cautious disbelief regarding sentient robots, I think we will get them and sooner than anyone expects. Whether *we* will be interesting enough to such beings to be potential companions for *them* is a different question, though.

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Nuanced, Smart, and Compassionate

Dr. Devlin is clearly an expert and has deeply explored the research and philosophy of sex with robots at our current point in history. This book is an uninhibited, nonjudgmental dive into the kind of relationships we have with companions, with lovers, and with technology. The author does not gloss over the disturbing doors that have been opened by creating sex objects and machines in human likenesses, but also does not go off into overly lurid speculation about the potential impacts of such devices. Furthermore, Dr. Devlin’s reading of the text was pleasant and added nuance to my understanding of her intent with the work and my enjoyment of her humor. I highly recommend this book!

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A Great Read, But I Found It A Little Lacking

Considering how often the author questioned the hypersexualized female form of existing sex dolls and of sex robots depicted in media, I kept expecting her to delve deeper into why this is. She also seems to make the assumption that this would only be appealing to men, but as a lesbian, I can tell you that that isn't so. In the final chapter, I get the impression that she thinks that sex dolls and robots ought to be designed to optimize sexual pleasure. But from what I've seen, and from my own experience, people who own or want to own one view it as an idealized fantasy made "real." Hence why sex dolls typically look the way they do. Aside from that, I really enjoyed the book, and I strongly recommend it to anyone who's interested in the subject. Kate Devlin has some really interesting views, and I honestly wish I could hear her thoughts on my concerns above.

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Itching for More

A great look into the future of sex and robotics. I am excited to delve further into the topic with more similar titles. Lots of interesting questions.

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  • Lowtimer
  • 10-05-21

Accessible, witty and thought-provoking

Dr Devlin is more than just expert in her subject, she is also a thoughtful and engaging speaker and writer whose warmth and open-mindedness make this a book which can connect fully with a general non-technical audience. While the central focus is the emergence of artificial humans into the field of human sexuality, she offers equally valuable insights into the human conditions of romance and desire.

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  • Jessie McKenzie
  • 07-21-19

Really interesting starting point

I really enjoyed listening to this book and will definitely do so again to properly absorb all the information and follow up on references (one of the most annoying thing about not having the physical book in front of you is a Audible doesn't provide you with a set of End Notes or images).

Kate Devlin's voice is lovely to listen to and her dictation easily carries her enthusiasm and humour. It's a fun topic to get to research.

I've always had a interest in our personification of technology. This book covered this in an easy to follow manner and many of the topics connected to that. As well as speech software, learning programmes, hardware and human bonding. It also covers the fun, naughty bits.

The only thing that bothered me was I'm not sure the book offers as many concrete conclusions or opinions as I'd like. Although in such a relatively new and very fast moving field maybe that's unfair to expect. The book left me eager to read more of her work and on the topic.