Sex robots are a serious concern that isn’t being thought about enough, say experts

It is difficult to know just how profound the impact of such robots might be on society

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 05 July 2017 09:15
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In 60 seconds: The dark side of the sex robot craze

Sex robots have arrived and people aren’t thinking enough about them, experts have said.

The revolution and vast improvements in artificial intelligent and robotics are making their way into the sex market. That is bringing with it whole new ways of receiving sexual gratification, with no other person involved.

Those automated robots have already led to the creation of highly developed “love dolls” – capable of performing 50 automated sex positions on their own.

The robots sell for as much as $15,000 and can be customised down to the nipple shape and hair colour.

But people aren’t considering the more serious impact of such robots, and the way they could change people's relationships forever.

Noel Sharkey, a professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at Britain's University of Sheffield, said it was difficult to predict how far or fast the market would grow, or what its effect on societies might be in years ahead.

"Will these robotic dolls be niche? Or will they change societal norms and become widespread?," he asked at a news briefing. "How would (sex with a robot) equate to a truly human intimate relationship?"

The report looked at some of the most contentious issues, asking academics, members of the public and the sex industry for their views on whether, for example, sex robots might be helpful in reducing sexual crimes.

It found "major disagreement" on this question, with some arguing that having sex with a robot would reduce attackers' desires to harm fellow humans, and others arguing that allowing people to live out their darkest fantasies with robots would have a pernicious effect on societal norms.

On the issue of "meaningful" relationships, the report said that with current AI technology, and even in the foreseeable future, no human-to-robot feelings would ever be mutual.

"The best robots could do is 'fake it'," it said. "Robots cannot feel love."

Additional reporting by Reuters

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