Scholars warn sex robots will be the death of love, sex and relationships
Sometime in the chrome-colored, flying car future, men and women might be neighbors, friendly acquaintances and comrades in the workforce — but they won’t be bumping uglies. There won’t be any need, when they can just screw their beloved sex robots.
Their vision isn’t entirely unrealistic. Studies have shown that two thirds of men could imagine buying a sex robot for themselves, sex doll brothels are already up and running, and companies like Abyss Creations, based out of California, are shipping at least 600 hyper-realistic sex dolls every year to customers around the world.
Dr. Kathleen Richardson, a robot ethicist at De Montfort University, and Erik Billing of the University of Skövde, co-created The Campaign Against Sex Robots. “Love and sex are reserved for living persons and living creatures,” Dr. Richardson says in a TED Talk about their anti-sex robot crusade.
She compares their movement to campaigns that seek to end the development of “killer” robots, implying that sex robots pose the same threat to humanity as drones and landmines.
Sex with a robot is such an ethical violation, she insists, that it simply must be stopped. For one, sex robots will reinforce a view of women and children as sexual objects. They’ll also degrade human relationships and destroy the sense of empathy that can only come from those connections. She’s not alone in these beliefs.
An article from Feminist Current, entitled “Sex robots epitomize patriarchy and offer men a solution to the threat of female independence,” echo Richardson’s concerns.
After all, there is a major male appeal to cutting out the human complications that come with fucking a flesh-and-blood person. One of the big selling points for LumiDolls, a sex doll whorehouse based out of Spain, is how submissive these sexual partners are. You can maneuver each doll's limbs to place her in any position, choose from any and all of her orifices, and dress her in whatever clothes fulfill your fantasies.
Even still, the Campaign Against Sex Robots seems doomed to fail. The crusade is fundamentally based on the comparison of sex robots to prostitution, and the basic idea that sex work is the devil.
Prostitution is not free choice or personal liberation, Richardson says, “when you think you’re buying sex, you’re actually buying the exploitation of another human being.”
Despite their focus on a highly advanced future, these scholars seem a bit stuck in the past. Someday soon, robots will provide humans with sex and companionship, and will be no more demeaning to women than the modern-day dildo is demeaning to men.