Study says a revolution in the sex robot industry is on the way, warns of potential dangers

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

The idea of sex robots has been around for a long time – I vividly recall watching the 1980s movie Cherry 2000, which was about android women being used as substitutes for human partners. Today, technological advancements mean the industry is growing, and experts say it’s time for society and governments to consider introducing regulations.

Noel Sharkey, a professor of Robotics and AI at the University of Sheffield in the UK, and co-founder of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics (FRR) said a sex robot revolution could see an increase in the number of companies making the machines.

"We do need policymakers to look at it and the general public to decide what is acceptable and permissible," he said. "We need to think as a society what we want to do about it. I don't know the answers - I am just asking the questions."

Sharkey is one of the authors of a report called ‘Our sexual future with robots.’ It states that while the realistic, silicone-skinned dolls could benefit certain people, such as those that struggle with intimate relationships, the elderly, and disabled, they also raise many ethical questions. There’s already at least one Japanese company that makes robots resembling children – a legal case over whether it’s legal to own one of them is currently taking place in Canada.

While some say the robots could help prevent the abuse of children, other claim they will make the problem worse. “Treating pedophiles with robot sex-children is both a dubious and repulsive idea,” said philosophy professor and robot ethicist Patrick Lin of California Polytechnic. “Imagine treating racism by letting a bigot abuse a brown robot. Would that work? Probably not. The ethics of sex robots goes beyond whether anyone is physically harmed.”

The report describes four manufacturers of the sex robots, whose products sell for between $5000 to $15,000, though the firms hope to eventually lower the price. They can be customized by sex, height, hair and eye color, and personality.

It’s also noted that up to two-thirds of men and around 30 percent of women were in favor of using the robots.

Some companies have started introducing AI features into the sex robots, and while we’re still a very long way off the kind of androids seen in Westworld, these models can respond to human emotions and are able to communicate at a basic level.

Much like the ‘I dated a robot’ episode of Futurama that sees Fry become overly attached to his Lucy Liu bot, there’s concern over possible addiction and users preferring the machines over humans.

“It’s very sad because it’s going to be a one-way relationship,” said Sharkey. “If people bond with robots it’s very worrying. You are loving an artifact that can’t love you back, and the best they can do is fake it.”

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davislane1

“It’s very sad because it’s going to be a one-way relationship,” said Sharkey. “If people bond with robots it’s very worrying. You are loving an artifact that can’t love you back, and the best they can do is fake it.”

Most of the people buying these will be single or already in a one-way relationship.

Perfect example:

https://nypost.com/2017/06/30/I-love-my-sex-doll-because-she-never-grumbles/

Personally, I don't get the appeal of sex robots. There is no comparison to interacting with an actual woman. That said, I do see the incentive if you've mistakenly attached yourself to a nagging sand dune.
 
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amstech

IT Overlord
If people get attached to these things they are *****s and deserve a terrible fate. It's a 'bonafide' (see what I did there?) sex toy, nothing more. However they are getting quite realistic, some people like myself consider them a lil creepy.
 
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davislane1

If people get attached to these things they are *****s and deserve a terrible fate. It's a 'bonafide' (see what I did there?) sex toy, nothing more. However they are getting quite realistic, although some people like myself consider them creepy.
The only creepy ones are the ones modled after celebs. That's genuine creeper stuff.

As for the generics...I fail to see how these are any creepier than a run of the mill vibrator.
 
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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Sooooooooo ..... will you own one or just use the rental and if it's a rental, where are they going to put the quarter slot???? :p
 
This is the answer to global warming, loneliness, overpopulation and most mental illnesses. Hope they come soon before it's too late. They should really focus on indian, chinese and african markets and sift all focus on humanitarian aid programs in those regions solely on sex robots as they are much better solution than shipping food so they can make even more starving people. Okay they can educate them as well.
 
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Raoul Duke

So will it send info to the cloud so the manufacturer can improve the product and/or provide targeted ads?
 

Adhmuz

TechSpot Paladin
“It’s very sad because it’s going to be a one-way relationship,” said Sharkey. “If people bond with robots it’s very worrying. You are loving an artifact that can’t love you back, and the best they can do is fake it.”

Wait, is this describing most "relationships" that currently exist or is this solely targeting people loving bots? Besides I though loving inanimate objects was perfectly okay, I've felt more emotions when selling a car then some relationships, but some sex toy bot thing that you hide in your closet not so much I don't think. I do see some weirdos actually trying to communicate with these things and I guess that's where the real problem lies, those who become detached from reality and fixated on this piece of plastic.



“Imagine treating racism by letting a bigot abuse a brown robot. Would that work?"

This should be tried, this might actually work, eventually these individuals will get bored and realize what they are doing is pointless and voila cured! Or not...
 

Skidmarksdeluxe

TS Evangelist
Oh brother. I knew we lived in a sick world but things are worse than I thought. Oh well, look on the bright side, you won't have to listen to the "headache" excuse anymore.
 

sukhwant singh

TS Enthusiast
This is the answer to global warming, loneliness, overpopulation and most mental illnesses. Hope they come soon before it's too late. They should really focus on indian, chinese and african markets and sift all focus on humanitarian aid programs in those regions solely on sex robots as they are much better solution than shipping food so they can make even more starving people. Okay they can educate them as well.
what makes you think that India lacks education? what makes you think Indians need sex robots more than your country?
 

stewi0001

TS Evangelist
TechSpot Elite
Bicentennial Man? Robin Williams has a thing or two to say about robot love :D
lol I thought about that too, however his character's AI was a lot more advance than what these will have, at least for now.
 
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Raoul Duke

Reminds me of "Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence". Bring home your own intimate robot companion..or...the further from humanity, the closer to depravity.
Lucy Liu bot, ROFL, Fry has just gone up in my estimation
 

psycros

TS Evangelist
This is the answer to global warming, loneliness, overpopulation and most mental illnesses. Hope they come soon before it's too late. They should really focus on indian, chinese and african markets and sift all focus on humanitarian aid programs in those regions solely on sex robots as they are much better solution than shipping food so they can make even more starving people. Okay they can educate them as well.
what makes you think that India lacks education? what makes you think Indians need sex robots more than your country?
The OP was partially joking, but *only* partially. India is way overpopulated, just like most of Africa and China. Rape is also depressingly common in these regions - in fact I believe one specific part of India has the highest frequency of rape incidents worldwide. While most Indians are pretty well educated, cheating on exams is absolutely rampant. China and India are the worst pollution generators by far and parts of Africa are becoming nearly as bad. The bottom line is that while Caucasian birthrates are declining everywhere (along with the Japanese), the other breeds of humanity haven't gotten the memo about overpopulation. The areas of the planet with the highest birthrates are the least able to cope with them..and that includes western nations that are being overrun by immigrants from the developing world.
 

cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
Loving something that can't love you back. Soo, what's different? As long as the thing doesn't have an AI, it won't ask for a divorce.
 

jtveg

TS Booster
If people get attached to these things they are *****s and deserve a terrible fate. It's a 'bonafide' (see what I did there?) sex toy, nothing more. However they are getting quite realistic, some people like myself consider them a lil creepy.
What business is it of yours what others do with their sex toys?
Whether you find it creepy or not is irrelevant. The same argument was used against homosexuality. That it is creepy or disgusting or unnatural etc. .
No one said you have to partake in it.

The fact that you consider users of these sex toys deserve a terrible fate is quite telling.
 

amstech

IT Overlord
What business is it of yours what others do with their sex toys?.
I could care less what other people use and do with their sex toys.

Whether you find it creepy or not is irrelevant.
I find the life-like ones a little creepy and I am entitled to my opinion.

The same argument was used against homosexuality. That it is creepy or disgusting or unnatural etc.
.
Homosexuality is disgusting but I have nothing against it.

No one said you have to partake in it.
Why would they say that?

The fact that you consider users of these sex toys deserve a terrible fate is quite telling.
I have nothing against sex toys.
But if you get emotionally attached to a doll, your an !diot.