4 out of 4 stars
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Rob Brooks starts an open discussion about sex and intimacy and how technology impacts these areas of our lives. The subject becomes even more relevant during these strange, pandemic times. The author details three artificial intelligence zones: digital lover, matchmaker, and virtual friend. He believes technology can be a threat, but it also can help humans. For instance, online matchmakers can help you find a partner and save you time and energy. However, the data collected by the programs could also serve other hidden purposes, such as political campaigns.
As a behavioral scientist, the author debates how and why the concept of monogamy became predominant in our society. Rob Brooks analyses various sexual customs, from Ancient Rome to Himba or Dogon people. “The cost of sex” is a significant notion that can influence a country’s economy or politics. Further, the book talks about the power of social media; it can enhance our egotistical behavior. It can also steal our precious time that could be used to improve our empathy and cultivate relationships by actually talking to real people. As a result, we should focus more on the quality of our interactions, not their number. After all, who is pushing the buttons: the users or the machines?
Artificial Intimacy is highly educative about many aspects related to nature or anthropology. For instance, did you know that chimpanzees trade sex for food? I also discovered some fascinating information about the domestication of animals. The cutest and the most nonviolent puppies were encouraged to survive, which influenced the evolution of the entire race. Plus, I was amazed to discover that species with bigger brains have more friends.
The book abounds in quotes from famous other specialists like the historian Yuval Noah Harari, the anthropologist Robin Dunbar, or the philosopher Immanuel Kant, just to name a few. The author also introduces interesting concepts; you may not be familiar with the young male syndrome, the anthropomorphization of machines, or the objectification of humans.
I also loved the objective yet friendly writing style. For instance, the VR erotica industry is presented scientifically but with a touch of humor. The famous “dollbots” mentioned by the author will make you snicker and raise your eyebrows in surprise. The metaphors are also very expressive. Sex robots cannot replace human bonding because it would be like “chewing gum substitutes for chewing food.” The writer also compares the creation of the sex dolls with the natural phenomena known as “super-normal stimulus.” You may have heard of the cuckoos that lay their eggs in the nest of other birds, ensuring their survival at the expense of the initial hatchlings.
I didn’t have any complaints regarding the book; the author did an admirable job. Furthermore, I appreciated the excellent editing since I couldn’t find any errors. As a result, Artificial Intimacy by Rob Brooks gets 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend this exceptional book to people interested in anthropology or psychology. People passionate about technology could also be interested in a new perspective. If you enjoyed Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, you would relish this book. However, stay away if you are bothered by the sex talk.
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