Could the future of sex be robotics?

Tech advancements have seen the development of the most lifelike humanoids to date, but what does this mean for the relationship between man and machine?
Image Source: Flickr
Image Source: Flickr

Companies like True Companion and RealDoll are at the forefront of a progressive movement campaigning for the development of sex robots – machines in the form of women and children specifically designed to serve the user’s sexual needs. While these companies and other groups have called the development of sex robots a safer alternative to the objectification of human women and children, one campaign highlights the way these robots could contribute to the inequalities in today’s society.

The most vulnerable of our population, women and children face persecution, attack, rape, and exploitation all around the world. A number of people have argued that a lifelike machine, equipped with artificial intelligence to “feel”  realistic, could reduce the number of humans attacked and exploited. They’ve also argued that these robots could allow otherwise immobile people to lead fulfilling sex lives. But, the Campaign Against Sex Robots says the world is not ready to deal with the consequences that sex with robots could present.

According to the campaign, humanoid robots would reinforce the idea of women and children as sexual objects and reduce the human empathy developed during the shared experience of a mutual relationship.

“We take issue with those arguments that propose that sex robots could help reduce sexual exploitation and violence towards prostituted persons, pointing to all the evidence that shows how technology and the sex trade coexist and reinforce each other creating more demand for human bodies,” reads the campaign’s website.

At the same time, futurologist Ian Pearson predicts sex between humans and robots will be commonplace by the year 2050. In a recent paper titled "The Future of Sex Report: The Rise of the Robosexuals," he argues that it could be a positive advancement and not a far cry from the sex toys already accepted in the bedrooms of many consumers.

“Sex and the pleasure it provides has been fundamental to the human race for three billion years, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. Rather, new technology and increasing wealth will stimulate the market enormously to three times its current size in 20 years, and seven times by 2050,” says Pearson.

The first annual Love and Sex with Robots conference was held in Portugal last year. Malaysian authorities cancelled the second conference, scheduled to take place in Malaysia in 2016. They felt there was “nothing scientific” about sex and robots. Whether this means the world is not ready to get into bed with robotics remains to be seen.  

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