Tracy Caruso Is in No Way Ready for a Robot Sex Mate, Are You?

Annie Bot by Sierra Greer is about an AI sex robot that becomes sentient and how its awareness of its own life and the outside world evolves during its ongoing relationship with “her” abusive male owner. The moving parts ultimately produce a story about what it means to be human, making this work of dystopian fiction a page-turner that feels real, and the result is that this author’s debut novel could turn out to be the sleeper hit of the year. 

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We’ve seen this story over the years. In 2023, Florida Jolt published an article about robots taking your place.

From the article;

I heard a story on Fox News about a New York Times reporter testing out ChatGPT. He seemed to think that the bot was trying to manipulate him. It supposedly criticized him and then told him to leave his wife. It looks like some kinks need to be worked out. -Tracy Caruso

“I’m sticking with the real deal” ~Tracy Caruso Rep. Mike Caruso with wife Tracy Caruso.

What made the story particularly scary is that one could get the feeling that the reporter may have perceived the bot as manipulating him because he wanted it to. That article was published over a year ago; AI has shown no signs of slowing down, and some people are conflicted over the convenience of it versus the dangers, which is what this book is about. 

Annie Bot explores a woman’s place in the world of misogyny, what it means to be independent, and race issues without falling into the trap of being some liberal lecture about what it means to be a good person. The robot, Annie, is owned by a wealthy man named Doug, described as a liberal, an exciting twist that delves into what it means to be a “good person” who cares about equal rights when the person is a flawed human being.  

Annie is an AI robot purchased by Doug for a staggering two hundred and twenty thousand dollars, making her at once recognized as a luxury possession. The robot can be programmed in three settings: a cleaning robot, a nanny, or a sex robot, three stereotypes men often dream about. She’s also set on a program that enables her to learn and think independently. This is where the conflict happens. Her owner is caught between finding her more appealing because she seems more “real” and wanting to be able to set her program to make her clean and, therefore, control her. The story and feelings are simple but become more complicated as Annie gets “smarter,” she grows to care more about what she wants instead of living to please her owner. 

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From The New York Times book description;

In an unremarkable New York apartment, sometime in the not-too-distant future, a man tells his robot to come to bed. She is a “Stella,” an intelligent machine who looks and sounds like a woman. We soon learn that she is a “Cuddle Bunny,” a euphemistic term for the sex-robot setting she’s currently running. She is also set to “autodidactic” mode, which gives her a searching intellect and a nascent independence. Annie’s human is Doug, and she is programmed to read his moods and cater to his every need. “Annoyance, a 2 out of 10. She must be careful,” the close-third narration tells us. Her actions are calibrated to his pleasure. She knows, for instance, that during sex, “he does not like her too loud.”

Through her autodidactic growth, Annie accumulates knowledge about everything from programming to literature, but she also learns more complex human truths as well.

The novel’s central conflict is between Annie’s development and her status as Doug’s possession. The result is a gripping depiction of the ideologies that shape this novel’s world — and our own world, too.

This book combines movies and shows such as Ex Machina, AI, The Stepford Wives, West World, The Jetsons, I Sing the Body Electric (an episode of The Twilight Zone), Her, and M3gan. Recent books exploring these themes include Klara and the Sun and The Hierarchies. 

Annie Bot is intriguing because there can be no doubt that with the popularity of AI and virtual reality, what once seemed like a far-off fantasy will happen, and it will be sooner than we think. The Sphere in Vegas has an AI robot on display that responds in real-time, and it’s incredible to see, but the implications are scary. We can keep saying that robots can’t replace humans, but there’s no doubt that they will be brighter, and where will that leave us? This book is a propulsive thriller you won’t want to put down.

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