What are the sexual uses of robots that concern scientists?


Should the importation of sex robots designed to resemble children be banned?

Noel Sharkey, a renowned professor emeritus of Robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Sheffield (United Kingdom) thinks so.

The scientist has just published a study in which he shares his concerns about this phenomenon and ensures that society should take into account the impact of all types of sex robots.

Through its organization, the foundation for the consultations on responsible Robotics (FRR), has elaborated a consultation on the subject.

Sharkey says there are still not too many companies manufacturing sex robots but believes that the looming revolution of robots could change that.

The report, our sexual future with robots ("Our sex-Life with Robots"), was written to focus attention on a subject which, according to the specialist, has not been sufficiently discussed until now.

He explains that the mere fact of finding out how many people today have sex robots is complicated, because the companies that manufacture them do not provide data on their sales.

But Sharkey says it's time to become aware and visualize a possible future in which humans and robots have sex.


"We need legislators to investigate it and the general public to decide what is acceptable and permissible," he said.

"We have to think, as a society, what we want to do about that." "I don't have the answers, just i the questions."

Much more than dolls

Some of the companies that manufacture sex robots are Android Love doll, sex bot and true companion.

Most of them have worked before creating fairly realistic silicone sex dolls able to move and talk.

The most advanced of all of them is Abyss Creations, in San Diego, USA, which manufactures real dolls, life-size silicone dolls and great realism, and will launch later this year other dolls with artificial intelligence.


Your name will be harmony and consist of a robot that can power your eyes and talk through a tablet connected to an application.

The company has already launched the application, which allows users to program moods and voices for dolls.

But what could they be used for?

These are some of the examples that are set out in the Sharkey report:

Robots-prostitutes who work in brothels.

Sexual companions for those who feel alone or for older people.

New types of "sexual cure."

A tool for sexual therapies for rapists and paedophiles.

The last of them all is, according to the professor, the most problematic.

Child-looking sex dolls already exist today. In fact, a court in Canada is determining whether to have one should be something illegal.

Canadian Kenneth Harrison bought a doll from a Japanese company called Harumi Designs, which is on the radar of the Canadian authorities.

The doll was intercepted at the airport and Harrison was accused of owning child pornography, although he was later declared innocent.

There are already brothels in some Asian countries where sex dolls can be used. And there are reports that speak of a manufacturer in Barcelona, although the latter has not been confirmed.


"Other type of pornography"

Kathleen Richardson, a robotics ethics expert at the University of Montfort in the UK, agrees with the Foundation's report on responsible robotics consultations and believes that child-looking sex robots should be banned.

However, it does not believe that all types of sex dolls should be banned.

"The real problem is not the dolls, but the sex trade." "Sex robots are just another type of pornography," he told the BBC.

Richardson believes that this type of robots will "inevitably increase social isolation."

In addition, it criticizes the report for what it considers "a failure to manage the gender problem".

"Why do you have the image of a male robot on the cover, if we know that this type of market is dominated by dolls and female robots?"

"That is perpetuating the idea that it is a topic that does not affect gender, but the reality is that there are not many women who buy this type of dolls and is led by men and male ideas about sexuality."


Sharkey says there is an imbalance between what those who sell those dolls want for their customers and what they really offer those dolls.

"Sex robot manufacturers want to create an experience as close as possible to a human sexual encounter," he says.

"But robots can not feel love, tenderness or create affective bonds." "In any case, the best thing they can do is fake them."

Doubts

Sex robots are a relatively new phenomenon and a step beyond sex dolls, which have been greatly sophisticated in recent years.

Most of them have silicone skin, articulated metal skeleton and extremely realistic hair and eyes.

Mostly, they have a feminine form, although Sinthetics, in Los Angeles, California, United States, has achieved some commercial success with their sex dolls.

But Sharkey questions the extent to which they will look truly human.

"I don't imagine them as human in the next 50 years." They will always be something scary and their current conversation skills are lousy, "he explained.

Richardson also questions whether they will become a mass success and even if they will be possible at the technological level.

"The report assumes that you can create a functional robot that can respond to human interactions, but in reality it is an incredibly complex issue."

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