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The Age of EmWork, Love, and Life when Robots Rule the Earth$
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Robin Hanson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754626

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198754626.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 October 2021



23 (p.331) Mating
The Age of Em

Robin Hanson

Oxford University Press

How is sex different for ems? As the em world is a very competitive world where sex is not needed for reproduction, and as sex can be time and attention consuming, ems may try to suppress sexuality, via mind tweaks that produce eff ects analogous to castration. Such effects might be temporary, perhaps with a consciously controllable on-off switch. Historically, castrated males have tended to have lower libido, to be less aggressive and obsessive, to be better able to multi-task, and to be more sensitive, sympathetic, and social. However, historically eunuchs have often wanted to marry, and have often had active sex lives ( Aucoin and Wassersug 2006 ; Brett et al. 2007 ; Wassersug 2009 ; Treleaven et al. 2013 ). Thus even for eunuch-like ems there might still be a substantial demand for sex and related pair bonding. It is possible that em brain tweaks could be found to greatly reduce natural human desires for sex and related romantic and intimate pair bonding, without reducing em productivity. It is also possible that many of the most productive ems would accept such tweaks. Alternatively, it is possible that cheap vivid romantic and sexual simulations will sufficiently satisfy pairbonding urges, so that little demand remains for pair-bonding with real ems ( Levy 2008 ; Brain 2012 ). However, given how deeply pair bonding and sexual behaviors are embedded in human nature, such scenarios do not seem likely, at least for the early em era. Scenarios of sex suppression also seem to be less simple, as it is harder to calculate their implications. In this book I thus assume that ems retain modestly strong desires for sex and related pair bonding, even if such desires are substantially reduced. I also assume that familiar conventional sexual and gender habits and preferences continue in the em world. That is, most ems divide clearly into male versus female, ems mostly prefer male-female pair bonds, and these bonds have a distribution of time-scales near those we have seen in humans across cultures so far.

Keywords:   centers, farming era, nations, poverty, subsistence levels, taxes, war

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