Y’know, it’s kind of weird. When I was a lot younger, I watched a lot of cyborg/android sci-fi, and a lot of it had to do with tackling the problem of anti-robot discrimination. Sure, it could be seen as something of a metaphor for racism or oppression against an underclass of unskilled laborers and sex workers, but it always seemed to go a bit beyond. Those burning piles of androids in the streets, synth-flesh melting off, or at best the abandoned robots who had been replaced by newer and better models, looking forlorn as they’re sent to the scrap-heap… It resonated with me, but I’m not sure that it resonated in the way that your typical plight-of-the-worker pathos is meant to resonate. It felt more like that feeling you get when your favorite toy gets stepped on, you outgrow your first bicycle, or you realize that you’re not going to be able to play that copy of Magic Carpet you just got for a dollar from Goodwill on your computer unless you figure out how to manually set it up with DOSBox. As far as actual androids were concerned, it felt like watching a civil rights struggle over a non-existent problem.
Well, we aren’t they yet technologically, but cultural wars being fought against machines as depicted in seminal 90s cyberpunk thriller Armitage III are being fought today! In Armitage III, in order to shore up the population problems for Martian Colonists (caused by a majority male population), androids were developed not only for companionship, but were being developed to be capable of human emotion and, more importantly, the ability to become pregnant and give birth. Needless to say, the Feminists lost their shit at the idea, so as part of their seizure of political power, the prototypes of these androids (including a country singer and a lesbian writer) are being hunted down and murdered.
Well, luckily, we’re not going to get that far, because Dr. Kathleen Richardson is putting her foot down. The sci-fi I grew up with is becoming reality as groups seek to preemptively block the development of gynoid AI. It will be interesting to see how advances in AI and robotics will further Balkanize feminism; who will advocate for the rights of artificial women? Already there are branches of feminism that hold the position that transwomen are not real women; what happens when there are gynoids with real-feels? It has already been asserted all over the place by others that neither chromosomal DNA nor the ability to give birth is a requirement for being a woman; why impose the requirement of “not a robot” on being a woman?
It’s a good thing that a lot of the groundwork for this civil rights struggle was laid back in the 80s and 90s, which were empirically more awesome than today. Be prepared, though, because this thing is probably going to end with laser beams and attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.