randombio.com | social commentary
Sunday, January 19, 2020

The world is running out of short bald humans

Whether it's sexbots, Roombas, or self-crashing cars, the robots are poised to inherit the earth.

T here's an interesting article out there somewhere that says women want babies as much as men want sex. I can't seem to find it now. I wouldn't expect Google to find it, but Bing can't either. When I search for the title, I somehow always end up on a page that demands to know if I'm over eighteen. And you can't go around asking women if they want babies. But it might be true.

As an official guy, I think of babies as short people who'd look pretty cool if we could train them to smoke a cigar. Give them a Homburg hat and a bowtie, teach them to make a V sign, and they'd look just like Winston Churchill. Other than that, they're mostly a nuisance. Also, they have no taste for beer, or so I'm told.

Well, maybe that last joke was in bad taste. But women are now supposed to think they're a nuisance too. Theoretically, then, you'd think they'd enjoy fixing cars, starting fires, and blowing stuff up, but no. Equality today means that they get paid maternity leave while also getting to be the boss. Which, if you think about it, is pretty much what they had before, except they now have to pay taxes.

The main effect of putting women in the workplace, thanks to the law of supply and demand, has been to cause the cost of living to double, so they now couldn't leave if they wanted to. It's been argued that women's need to feel protected gave us the oppressive nanny state we have today. Feminism also gave us the identity politics that is obliterating our formerly meritocratic univers­ities and annihilating women's sports, both of which feminists struggled so hard to make happen. These days being a feminist has got to suck.

Even worse, we can't go back because gay marriage has made marriage irrelevant as an institution. Not because of gays per se, but because it signaled a cultural shift that children were no longer the principal reason for marriage. Stripped of its purpose, marriage became just another political football.

Using technology to ease women of the burden of raising children isn't an option either. The Bucharest Early Intervention Project that studied children from that Romanian orphanage showed us that children who grow up in institutions without receiving adequate human contact exhibit severe psychopathology. The effects on these children were horrific (see here and here).

Now even China's birthrate is down. It is now 10.48 live births per 1000 people per year, lower than the UK, and the lowest since 1949 when the Communists came to power. This new piece of data would seem to put paid to the idea that feminism alone is responsible. Accusing men of “manspreading” only serves to make feminists look unserious. The real harm comes from the thing that some of them seem to be wishing for: governments that dictate the rules of social interactions.

The Guardian blames sexism, discrimination, and lack of gay rights:

Single daughters have grown up in a system that taught whole families that limiting family size was a path to happiness, prosperity and social mobility. Now they work in an environment where women are penalised for their gender even before their first day on the job. Pregnancy and motherhood bring another level of discrimination for many.

That combination of deeply sexist constraints and years of propaganda have proven powerfully effective as contraceptives for many women. . . . [irrelevant blurb about in vitro fertilization omitted] . . . With same-sex marriage not legal, gay and lesbian couples struggle to become parents [emphasis added].

Breitbart, by contrast, blames it on the shortage of young women caused by their one-child policy and mandatory abortion. They cite a survey showing that over half of Chinese families think having a second child is too expensive. This shows us the difference in these two ideologies: one side believes in the power of propaganda, the other in economics.

I'm not sure helping gays and lesbians to have children will make much of a dent. But if I were a socon, I'd have my Caps Lock key firmly wedged into my keyboard right about now, and I'd be typing in red font about how both sides are overlooking the obvious: when women work, whether it's at Foxconn or in a cushy Women's Studies office, they have no time to do that other thing that they like so much.

It looks like there's no solution: rights are a one-way ratchet, so man in his ingenuity will have to invent sexbots to get what he wants, and woman in her ingenuity will have to invent robot babies, or maybe robot cats, to get what she wants. And then, while both sexes are busy working themselves to death, the robots they both created will take over.

On the other hand, there's one advantage to this identity politics. If someone calls me misogynist, which they surely will after that crack about babies up top, I can simply declare that I am, as Peggy Lee used to sing, a W O M X N, thereby cleansing myself of sin, and then declare I'm a man again.

If a problem has no easy solution, people refuse to think about it. Instead, they invent fake problems to worry about instead. Maybe our only recourse, like that guy who had “I told you I was sick” engraved on his tombstone, is to sit back and get ready to say we told you so.

But all the negativity may be misplaced. It's possible that robots will give humans more free time to devote to reproduction. It's also possible we'll need to spend so much of our time repairing robots that we'll have no free time at all. Wherever the optimum ratio of humans to robots lies, there is no question that humans will need to create artificially intelligent robots in order to survive. If we don't, it's unlikely that humans will be able to get onto a survival path without major cultural upheaval.

Who knows, five thousand years from now, when robots are on the verge of extinction, some artificially intelligent machine may be typing the same thing on their future Internet, hoping his fellow robots will listen.

jan 19 2020, 4:49 am. last edited jan 20 2020, 5:31 am

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