Many worry about the negative effects on humanity if the trend is allowed to take off
Although robots built for sex are not yet available to the public, the Campaign Against Sex Robots has already launched. The group believes that companies should cease developing sex robots with artificial intelligence on ethical grounds. Many worry about the negative effects on humanity if the trend is allowed to take off.
Engineers have long strove to make sex toys and dolls as life like as possible. Realistic looks and feels have been about as far as the manufactures have been able to come so far. In the last few years, however, the artificial intelligence technology has opened a brave new world for sex toy innovation.
“When I first started looking into the subject I thought, ‘oh sex robots, that’s harmless and perhaps these robots would reduce demand for real women and children,’” said lead campaigner Kathleen Richardson, a robot anthropologist and ethicist at De Montfort University in Leicester, U.K.
“But then as I researched the subject more I found that the opposite was true—that rather than reduce the objectification of women, children and also men and transgender people, these robots would contribute and reinforce their position in society [as objects].”
There is plenty of research to back up Richardson’s claims that robots reduce human empathy. It is not a far leap of logic to assume that if equating these robots with women and children became a wide spread notion, the empathy for real people could be reduced as well.
The philosophy behind the sex robots “show the immense horrors still present in the world of prostitution which is built on the ‘perceived’ inferiority of women and children and therefore justifies their uses as sex objects,” said researchers.
Opponents to the organization argue that sex robots will decrease demand for live prostitutes and therefore protect women and children from exploitation and violence. Yet the researchers insist that “technology and the sex trade coexist and reinforce each other creating more demand for human bodies”.
True Companion, a company which as been making sex dolls for years and claims to have introduced the first sex robot- the Roxxxy.
Roxxxy “knows your likes and dislikes, carries on a discussion and expresses her love to you and [can] be your loving friend. She can talk to you, listen to you, and feel your touch. She can even have an orgasm,” according to True Companion’s website.
The starting cost of a Roxxxy robot is $6,995.00 but can be as high as $75,000.00 for custom designs.
The founder of True Companion and creator of Roxxxy defends sex robots.
“Roxxxy provides physical and sexual pleasure but also provides social interaction and engagement,” said Douglas Hines. “It’s customizing technology to provide a perfect partner — she’s not meant to replace a real partner but is meant as a supplement.”
“As long as we’re not hurting anyone, there’s no problem with it.”
Yet Hines is unable to prove that his creations are truly harmless.
Erik Billing, an associate senior lecturer at the School of Informatics in Sweden, joined the Campaign Against Sex Robots because he was concerned with the as of yet unknown effects that robots could have on real life human relationships.
“Already today we have many kinds of sex toys and applications for robots which are great but we’re also beginning to see the introduction of sex robots. There are a lot of worries that we’re introducing this technology on a large scale without looking at what consequences there are on human-to-human relationships,” said Billing.
He fears that the increased demand for sex substitutes reflects and encourages a worsening trend of isolation. More and more people today decide to live alone and shop from home, even though decades worth of studies prove the need for human contact.
“Introducing sex robots that could replace partners is the extreme of this trend, where we start to objectify our human relationships,” said Billing.
“We’re on the brink of these applications being sold in stores. In five to 10 years time this will be a common product in any random sex store.”