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How AI will make the world safer for sex workers and their clients


The future of sex work, regardless of what you will have heard from frantic journalists decrying the loss of life of human interplay, is just not robots. It’s people. But these people, and their clients, will depend on AI for their security. Well, the fortunate ones will.

It’s troublesome to place the world plight of sex workers in perspective. A big portion of “research” into the topic is carried out halfheartedly, usually with full disregard for the scientific methodology, and little or no enter from precise sex workers.

Consider this quote from retired sex employee Maggie McNeill’s New York Times op-ed:

Imagine a research of the alcohol business which interviewed not a single brewer, wine knowledgeable, liquor retailer proprietor or drinker, however as an alternative relied solely on the statements of ATF brokers, dry-county politicians and members of Alcoholics Anonymous and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Or how a few report on eating places which handled the opinions of failed scorching canine stand operators as the foundation for broad statements about each type of meals enterprise from comfort shops to meals vehicles to McDonald’s to five-star eating places?

If irresponsible researchers weren’t dangerous sufficient, there’s additionally the destructive public notion of sex workers – honed by millennia of puritanical spiritual oppression – obscuring the ground-truth details about sex work.

Simply put: even those that imply properly are sometimes working with bullshit info on the subject of determining the right way to assist sex workers. But, the arrival of AI is altering the prognosis.

And, similar to science spent a long time piddling with concepts to resolve the private transportation disaster earlier than an entrepreneur named Travis Kalanick got here alongside and supplied the proper answer at the proper time, we imagine sex workers are simply ready for the proper startup to resolve their issues too.

A latest study carried out by researchers from the University of Surrey and the University of Oxford predicts that autonomous automobiles will usher in a brand new period of city tourism, and a brand new paradigm for sex workers.

In the following quote from the workforce’s analysis paper, “Autonomous vehicles and the future of urban tourism,” the acronym “SCAV” refers to a business-operated driverless car, whereas “CAV” refers to a privately owned one:

While SCAVs will probably be monitored to discourage passengers having sex or utilizing medication in them, and to forestall violence, such surveillance could also be quickly overcome, disabled or eliminated. Moreover, private CAVs will probably be immune from such surveillance. Such personal CAVs can also be put to industrial use, as it’s only a small leap to think about Amsterdam’s Red Light District ‘on the move.’

This could sound like a far-off future, however in locations the place prostitution is authorized this could possibly be the norm inside a couple of years – a decade, tops.

One motive why, is as a result of they may present a secure place for folks to be alone in public. The present paradigm for sex work sometimes includes one in all six fashions:

  • Sex employee meets shopper at brothel
  • Sex employee takes/meets shopper to/at motel/lodge
  • Sex employee will get in shopper’s automobile
  • Sex employee goes to shopper’s dwelling
  • Client goes to sex employee’s dwelling
  • Sex employee and shopper obscure themselves in public

These are all problematic, not directly, for both the shopper or the sex employee. In nations the place sex work is authorized, it’s nonetheless sometimes a criminal offense to carry out sex acts in public and in autos. And there are apparent the reason why sex workers shouldn’t go to shopper’s properties below most circumstances, or permit them to go to their’s. Furthermore, for clients who worth their privateness, being caught at a brothel could also be a threat they’re unwilling to take.

Driverless automobiles present an answer. If people aren’t mandatory for the operation of the car, it shouldn’t matter what they’re doing inside. This, after all, conjures up pictures of a whole bunch of automobiles with blackened-windows screaming up and down the Autobahn as folks endeavor to turn out to be members of the 300 km/h membership, however I digress.

Ultimately, each the non-participating public and these participating in sex work may benefit from a paradigm that retains prostitutes out of seedy motels and off the sidewalks by placing them on the streets, inside heat automobiles filled with security measures and snacks.

It could sound like a stunning concept to pearl clutchers and bible thumpers, however the reality of the matter is that there’s more than 40 million sex workers worldwide. And except you imagine they solely serve one or two clients a chunk – and you’d be foolish if you happen to did – we’re speaking about a whole bunch of thousands and thousands, if not billions, of people that this results.

It’s additionally an untapped market for AI builders. Someone will get wealthy developing with a safety suite for sex workers then marrying it with a fleet of autonomous luxurious shuttles. Mark my phrases, it’s solely a matter of time.

And that’s as a result of, time and once more all through historical past, social taboos have risen as a fear-based response to new phenomena. Those identical taboos have subsequently disappeared as science and engineering created options with extra efficacy than merely scaring folks.

Here’s an instance: think about attempting to elucidate what Uber is to someone from the year 1998.

It’s basically a service where people drive around picking up strangers, right? But, in the 1990s, picking up hitchhikers was not only illegal in most areas (in the US anyway), but considered incredibly dangerous.

But, you’d surely explain, advances in technology have made it possible for people to share their rides safely and easily. And today, anyone saying they won’t use Uber or Lyft because “it’s not safe” is being demonstrably thick-headed.

Statistically speaking, hitchhikers were never that dangerous either – violent incidents were an obvious anomaly considering the sheer popularity of hitchhiking from the 1960s – 1990s. And the same could be said for sex workers, only their popularity precedes recorded history.

But, where Uber is merely an app that connects people, sex workers need more. It’s easy to imagine a world where a sex worker starts his or her work day by summoning their office/bedroom vehicle to come and pick them up. Once inside they could preview clients, check statistics, and view their own health information.

Once a client orders a pickup, the vehicle could locate and onboard them. Its AI could use internal biometrics software (and employee feedback through an app) to ensure they weren’t banned, blocked, or on a platform-wide timeout. Or whatever, a UI expert and an engineer could figure it out with input from the sex worker community.

During the “transaction” both parties could even be monitored in real-time, but not by video. Recording the act would violate the privacy of the worker and the client, but AI doesn’t need to see what’s happening to know what’s going on. Here’s just a few examples of tech that could be adapted to provide safety without losing anonymity (unless necessary)

So we already have the technology to monitor brainwaves, pulse rate, respiration, and stress levels with AI. It certainly wouldn’t present much difficulty for an engineer to put the necessary hardware and software in a car to make it detect if things were going wrong between the sex worker and the client. Arguably, the only hard part here is waiting for autonomous vehicle technology to completely lift off.

Outside of the vehicle, AI could serve as a companion for sex workers. Not the kind you tell about your day, but the kind you talk to about your mental and physical health symptoms so it can manage your appointments. The kind that tracks you via GPS and is monitored by a system built from the ground up for the purpose of keeping sex workers and their clients safe.

Whoever comes up with a safer, simpler way for people in the sex industry to be their own bosses and for clients to get what they want in a clean, user-friendly environment will probably make a few bucks.

After all, the only thing you get with an Uber ride is a free water and polite conversation – and that company is worth nearly $100 billion.


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