On what is lost when we spend our lives trying to avoid feeling alone.
An interview with James Harris—author of Hume: An Intellectual Biography—on misconceptions, skepticism, and Humean lessons.
If Immanuel Kant were still around, there’s no doubt he would be pro-sexbot. The term, once defined strictly as a physical robot made for sex (think “fembot”), now also encompasses any sort of artificially intelligent (AI) software made for sexual pleasure—and they’re becoming increasingly popular. While Kant makes it clear in his writing that he believes humans are rational beings because they can choose to follow a moral law, non-rational beings are merely “objects of our inclinations.” Under these terms, sexbots are no more valuable than animals—they are “means,” not “ends,” inherently valueless, given meaning only by that which humans ascribe to them. And yet, as sexbots become more intelligent, transitioning from dolls and one-trick robots into artificially intelligent creations, ethical lines are blurring. Is using AI software now exploitative, on par with sexual assault and rape? At what point should we declare AI sexbots sentient beings? Is there a difference between sex slavery with a human and with an AI program? What really is ethical sex? Read the rest of the article at Pacific Standard.
It’s getting close to Thanksgiving, which means family members will descend on you like Hitchcock’s black crows, peppering you with questions about your life, your relationships, and, of course, your career. For those of us who studied English or history, French or Mediterranean studies, these types of questions will no doubt spiral into lectures on “the real world” and “marketable skills.”
“Even the poor have something very chic about them.” – Karl Lagerfeld, creative director for Chanel and Fendi, discussing India’s slum-dwelling, “elegant” women After watching Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s kitschy film Amélie and taking in its bright colors and even brighter vision of Paris and love, it’s easy to want to drop everything and find a tiny apartment in Montmartre. There, you could ride around on a one-speed bicycle, work at a charming brasserie, and find love, perhaps even sport a cute lil’ bob like Miss Audrey Tautou (God bless her and that haircut).