Author Archive: Yonatan Zunger

Ronnie Ritchie’s comic about empowerment and objectification creates the insidious implication that the consent of sex workers is more deficient than other people’s consent. This is a magic wand argument that lets people routinely argue that any claim of empowerment is actually false, an argument which has very nasty real-world consequences.

Normally, when you hear about the success rate of a birth control method, it’s given to you as two numbers: the probability of failure per year when used perfectly, and the probability when used “typically.” The difference can range from minor to catastrophic. This is insane. Speaking as an engineer, a system that works well when operated perfectly and fails completely when anything isn’t operated perfectly is basically the textbook description of what a safety system isn’t. But let’s look at the numbers.

The Roxxxy sex robot companion raises profound questions about our relationships to one another and to technology. There’s an obvious conversation we could have about how interacting with a sex robot encourages people to view other people as machines which are ultimately there to serve their own needs. But there’s another lens we can use, which can lead us down an unexpected path, because this device raises many core questions about the development of technology — in a more intimate way than you might expect.

I’m hard-pressed to think of anything which works the same in movies as it does in real life. Movies are, first and foremost, narrative art: they’re trying to tell a story, which means that everything which isn’t part of the story will be stripped down, which means that meaning and structure will be imposed on the sequence of events that you’re watching. Yet there seems to be a particular perversion that porn sex needs to be “real.”