The future of sex work, despite what you may have heard from frantic journalists decrying the death of human interaction, is not robots. It’s humans. But those humans, and their clients, will rely on AI for their safety. Well, the lucky ones will.
It’s difficult to put the global plight of sex workers in perspective. A large portion of “research” into the subject is conducted halfheartedly, often with complete disregard for the scientific method, and little or no input from actual sex workers.
Consider this quote from . . . sex worker Maggie McNeill’s [Washington Post] op-ed:
Imagine a study of the alcohol industry which interviewed not a single brewer, wine expert, liquor store owner or drinker, but instead relied solely on the statements of ATF agents, dry-county politicians and members of Alcoholics Anonymous and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Or how about a report on restaurants which treated the opinions of failed hot dog stand operators as the basis for broad statements about every kind of food business from convenience stores to food trucks to McDonald’s to five-star restaurants?
If irresponsible researchers weren’t bad enough, there’s also the negative public perception of sex workers – honed by millennia of puritanical religious oppression – obscuring the ground-truth facts about sex work.
Simply put: even those who mean well are often operating with bullshit information when it comes to figuring out how to help sex workers. But, the arrival of AI is changing the prognosis.
Illustration: Nicole Gray