595: Android Girlfriend
Title text: Programming the sexbots to enjoy sex seemed a sensible move at the time, but we didn't realize the consequences of their developing fetishes.
Cueball shows off his new "android girlfriend" (Megan) to his Cueball-like friend, who asks if the android is a sex bot. The android responds by pulling a cherry stem from the friend's drink and inserting it into her mouth. So far, the action appears to be an emulation of the party trick where someone puts a cherry stem into their mouth and ties it into a knot in order to suggest tongue dexterity that could be put to good use in kissing and oral sex.
However, instead of tying the cherry stem in a knot, the android activates an arc welder built into her mouth, which presumably reduces the stem to ashes. The friend proclaims that that trick is definitely not sexy. But then the android aggressively approaches him, reaching out and saying, "Remove your pants". The friend, not eager to experience close genital contact with the arc welder, sensibly, refuses. (Of course he may also not wish to take of his pants in front of his friend, at a party with drinks and presumably other people; or perhaps he does not wish to admit that he actually does find the arc welding act sexy...)
The title text bounces a few implications around. Developing robots with the capacity to either learn or feel emotions is an ethical factor and practical consideration that is commonly explored in science fiction. Here, it's proposed that robots programmed for sex would have their emotions set to enjoy sex by default, but then use their capacity to learn to develop preferences on what kind of sex they want to have. This is potentially a psychological issue, mainly as to whether or not it would be considered "unhealthy", but more directly it's a customer satisfaction problem: what if a sexbot were to develop sexual fetishes that its owner finds unappealing?
It is also possible that the android shows a level of awareness superior to what is implied by the discussion in the strip. Then using an arc-wielder on that stem could be interpreted as a menace in response to a comment that would be insensitive if referred to a real person.
- [Cueball, holding his hand on Megan's shoulder, talks to his Cueball-like friend, who is holding a drink glass with a cherry.]
- Cueball: Check out my new android girlfriend.
- Friend: Is she a sex bot?
- [The android grabs the cherry out of the friend's drink glass.]
- [Zoom in on the cherry as the stem is ripped off.]
- [Zoom to the android, who puts the stem into its mouth.]
- [The panel is dark gray, except around the android's mouth, where there is a bright flash and then a brighter cross going out from there. Both Cueball and his friend hold up their hands to protect their eyes.]
- [The android takes a step away from Cueball and reaches toward the friend's crotch. The friend holds up his hand protectively in front of him.]
- Friend: I don't think arc-welding a cherry stem counts as sexy.
- Android: Remove your pants.
- Friend: No.
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