Mention sex robots in any but a mocking, tongue-in-cheek way in nowadays, and you might find yourself excluded from polite company. To most, they no doubt seem the stuff of the creepy fantasies of the socially maladjusted. Thus they are readily brushed off in the same way video games and cryptocurrencies once were. Far removed as they still are both from the popular imagination and widespread adoption, amorous automatons nevertheless provide interesting food for thought. Of particular interest are the effects they might have on romantic relationships, and by consequence, all of the other relationships that grow out of them. In a future world of on-demand companionship, made-to-order, can the birds and bees be expected to compete?

Futurama had a humorous take on this topic, offering a cautionary tale in “I Dated a Robot”. In that episode, a warning comes in the form of a video in which teenagers are admonished not to get romantically involved with robots, lest they eschew real relationships and let civilization go to pot. Of note is the fact that the teen on whom the short is based is male, and that he rebuffs completely the increasingly desperate advances of a girl who’s eye he’s caught, preferring instead to while away his days making out with his robotic girlfriend. Putting aside the resulting overthrow of Earth by alien invaders that follows, this captures perfectly a likely outcome of easy to come by canoodling, at least in the heterosexual context. This seems especially true if we accept the commonly assumed pursuer and pursuee roles for males and females, respectively. With the reward for taking the romantic initiative already on hand in unlimited supply, it becomes the girl who strives to get the boy. This, obviously, represents a subversion of the status quo between the sexes.

In these days of deconstruction and analysis of everything ad nauseam, it’s easy to see where the creators of Futurama might be held up for ridicule. Implicit in their intentionally hokey vignette was the assumption that men only want one thing. Were that need to be satisfied fully, what use would they have for women? Perhaps worse though, is that the show’s creators ran afoul of the conventional wisdom that women want that one thing just as badly as men. Why, the incensed might wonder, wasn’t the girl at home making out with her boybot rather than pursuing an undesirable, uninterested flesh lump? In answering these questions, we may arrive at yet another. Namely: Are the gender dynamics and roles in play in our current day and age natural, or imposed by society? With an army of stand-ins prepared to provide for their needs, at least, it will be interesting to see whether men or women will consider each other worth the bother.

We hold it as gospel that sex is but one aspect of romantic relationships, with companionship and other, often intangible benefits often cited as just as important. At the same time, we’re likely much closer to crafting artificial bodies that are easy on the eyes than we are gestalt personalities that can mesh with us on an emotional and intellectual level. With sex removed from the equation as an ulterior motive, but true human connection, at least in the near term, still irreplaceable, there may still be a need for genuine friendship. At last, the declaration of a platonic relationship might be me with slightly less narrowed eyes. Then again, without the social bargaining chip of sex appeal, we might just go our separate ways. When it comes to relationships, it will be interesting to see if solving for sex obviates solving for why.

Hi, I’m Tom. Those of you who’ve listened to the Nerdstravaganza Podcast for some time will know me by now, at least by my voice. Those who don’t I encourage to give our show a listen. By way of this first blog entry, I’m happy to announce that Brian, Kam, and I will henceforth be furnishing written content to accompany our audio episodes. We hope you’ll find our writings as entertaining as our conversations, and, as always, we .welcome your feedback!

Happy Reading!

Tom

The Galaxy is divided in the wake of Episode 8, and the Nerdstravaganza crew clutch their Force brooms tightly as they reach out with their feelings and try to make sense of it.

The Force wasn't exactly with us...

Geekly Weekly Round Up –
Pokémon Go
The Dresden Files
Wired
Recore
Black Mirror
Startup

The NEWStravaganza –
Crypto Crackdown
Uber is cars!
Pokémon Goes AR

Show Notes –
Star Wars: Episode VIII
Star Wars: Episode VII

It’s finally here! On the eve of The Last Jedi’s release, the nerds gather to talk about their hopes and dreams, and their fears, for the latest Star Wars flick.

May The Force be with us!

Geekly Weekly Round Up –
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Minnie Vans
The Wise Man’s Fear
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

The NEWStravaganza –
The Bitcoin Boom
Bitcoin’s Carbon Footprint
Harmful Wildlife Selfies

Show Notes –
The Last Jedi Trailer
Weirdest Theories the TLJ Crew Heard
Daisy Ridley
Darth Plagueis

Shields are up and phasers are at the ready this week as the crew of the USS Ganza play a dangerous game of diplomacy in the Net Neutral Zone.

Remember the Prime Redirective!

Geekly Weekly Round Up –
Coco
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Century Spice Road
Concept
Recore
Star Trek: The Next Generation

The NEWStravaganza –
California Burning
Bitcoin soars
Detective Pikachu staring Ryan Reynolds
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Show Notes –
Net Neutrality
Present efforts against Net Neutrality

Join the gang as they discuss the latest super hero epic, Justice League. A shining star similar to Wonder Woman, or doomed to be as reviled as Suicide Squad? Listen in and find out!

Yes... yes I do... ouch!

Geekly Weekly Round Up –
Essen Spiel
The Dice Tower – Live from Essen 2017
Neil Gaiman
Her
Transcendence
Small Business Saturday
Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Autonomous: A Novel

The NEWStravaganza –
EA Hate Over Battlefront II
What Will Automation Do to the Job Market?

Show Notes –
Justive League
Super Hero Box Office
Thor: Ragnarok
20 MCU Titles on the Way
Bruce Wayne’s Mercedes

After warping around it with comments and praise for several episodes, the Crew of the U.S.S. Ganza decide to dedicate an episode to The Orville.

Lucky there's a sci-fi guy!

Geekly Weekly Round Up –
Essen Spiel ’17
The Handmaid’s Tale
Wizardry
Etrian Odyssey
South Park

The NEWStravaganza –
Roy Dotrice’s Passing
Funko IPO
Apple Car’s New Sensor Array
Tesla Power Wall

Show Notes –
The Orville
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: Discovery

In the follow up to episode 265, the nerds complete their discussion of the Blade Runner franchise by discussing the recent sequel, Blade Runner 2049. Was it all worth the wait? Listen now and find out!

Hello Joe...

Geekly Weekly Round Up –
Fallout 4
Essen Spiel ’17
PAX Unplugged
Last Jedi Director Warns Fans About Trailer
Raspberry Pi Retro Gaming
Roku Streaming Stick
The Orville
Teh Internet Is Serious Business

The NEWStravaganza –
Tokyo Man Arrested For Trying Black Magic on Kids
California Advances Driverless Cars
Oculus Go

Show Notes –
Blade Runner
Which Version to Watch
Blade Runner 2049
2049 Bombs at Box Office
Blade Runner and Alien

In this episode the Ganzdroids discuss “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, the book upon which Blade Runner and its upcoming sequel are based.

Baaaaah!

Geekly Weekly Round Up –
Fallout 4
The Name of the Wind
Neverwhere
The Orville
Star Trek: Discovery
Final Fantasy XV

The NEWStravaganza (Japan Edition) –
All Alone Tent
Krazy Kit Kat Flavors
Pancake Pudding, Please!

Show Notes –
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
Blade Runner
Blade Runner 2049

As the nerds regroup after surviving Hurricane Irma, they can’t help but have the apocalypse on their minds, which leads to the discussion of some of their favorite end-of-the-world games and stories.

And I feel fiiiiiine!

Geekly Weekly Round Up –
Essen Game Fair
PAX Unplugged
Mother!
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa Of DANA
Dragon Crown PS4
PAX Prime
Final Fantasy XV
King’s Knight

The NEWStravaganza –
Final Fantasy XV on Switch?
Stranger Things Cease & Desist
Amazon Baby Email
The Mad Pooper

Show Notes –
Hurricane Irma
Miami’s Rising Water Levels
Returning Supplies
Maria Slams Puerto Rico
Arkham Horror
Fallout 4
List of Known Vaults
Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VII