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posted by martyb on Wednesday June 06 2018, @04:07PM   Printer-friendly
from the positronic-incel dept.

Health researchers have published an editorial examining research related to the use of sex robots:

Science fiction aside, advanced sex robots are currently heating up the market, with several companies now offering more and more life-like artificial partners, mostly ones mimicking women. Skeptics fear the desirable droids could escalate misogyny and violence against women, ignite deviant urges in pedophiles, or further isolate the sexually frustrated. Sexbot makers, on the other hand, have been pumping their health claims into advertisements, including that the amorous androids could reduce the spread of sexually transmitted disease, aid in sex therapies, and curb deviant desires in pedophiles and other sex offenders.

So far, those claims are "rather specious," according to health researchers Chantal Cox-George of St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in London and Susan Bewley of King's College London. In an editorial [DOI: 10.11336/bmjsrh-2017-200012] [DX] published Monday in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health, the pair highlight that there are virtually no studies that help bang out the validity of the many health arguments surging around sexbots—arguments both for and against them.

That data dry-spell doesn't let doctors off the hook, though, Cox-George and Bewley write. They call for researchers to get busy setting up studies that will nail the answers. In the meantime, "an absence of evidence does not excuse the medical profession from discussing and debating the issues, as there will inevitably be consequences for physical, mental and social well-being."

Sex technology is already an estimated $30 billion industry, they note. At least four companies are now making adult female sexbots, costing $5,000 to $50,000, and at least one is making "pedobots." The mannequins come with variable ages, features, and even programmable personalities, along with customizable oral, vaginal, and anal openings. Male sexbots are said to be in the works.

An Australian forensic criminologist goes further, speculating that "pedobots" may be illegal down under (archive):

Sexbots, and that includes pedobots, have been developed to allow users to play out sexual fantasies. In the child sexual abuse cases I have worked on, you see an escalation in activity in some cases—from an offender sourcing online child sexual abuse material, to actively seeking a physical interaction with a child when the online material does not bring the same sexual gratification. Pedobots could easily fit into this continuum of escalation.

It's also worth highlighting that Australia's legal definition of child pornography (material that describes or depicts a person under 16 years of age, or who appears to be less than 16, in a manner that would offend a reasonable adult) does not capture all images or representations that someone with an interest in children may find sexually arousing. With no evidence to the contrary, my experience tells me that the sexualization of children—be that in cartoons, songs, robots, or whatever form—will increase the desires of some who find children attractive, and put more children at risk, not less.

[...] It remains debatable whether pedobots would fall under the category of child pornography. As the law stands, child pornography can be created without directly involving a real person—child sexual abuse material can include images, text, and three-dimensional objects. This would appear to include pedobots. However, the notion of a life-like child robot produced for the sexual gratification of adults, I would argue, would offend most reasonable adults.

Should a harmless activity (fooling around with a sex robot) be banned for its potential to cause "escalation"? Should "pedobot" buyers get added to a watchlist?

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Snow on Wednesday June 06 2018, @08:00PM (1 child)

    by Snow (1601) on Wednesday June 06 2018, @08:00PM (#689512) Journal

    Incels do have a point. Many of them don't feel like they are 'owed' anything. Many know they are 'genetic trash' and accept it.

    Incels feel that the tinderization of the dating market means that any female can easily hookup with a male that is more attractive than they are. They back this up by doing 'experiments' on tinder where they make a fake profile with a 'land whale' (fatty) and then see how many matches they get (a lot).

    OKCupid used to release statistics based gathered from their site. One of the blogs they posted was how women rated 80% of men below average in terms of attractiveness. The result is that basically the top 20% of men get pretty much all the attention from women. They call it the 80-20 rule. The top 20% of men get 80% of the women and the rest have to fight it out for the remaining 20%.

    If all the women are able to date up, then what does that leave for men that are below average? I think it's a legitimate complaint.

    While there are some Incels who want to go ER (Elliot Rogers shooting spree), I think most just want a community that understands their problems and they can vent to. Love is a need. Humans are social animals and being deprived of love can be unbearable.

    I don't think people should hate Incels or make fun of them. I think these are people that are deprived of human contact and are lonely and depressed. I feel sorry for them. Imagine living your whole life without even a kiss from a girl despite wanting it more than anything else. That's sad.

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by julian on Wednesday June 06 2018, @10:08PM

    by julian (6003) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 06 2018, @10:08PM (#689584)

    There's an unfortunate trend, or maybe it's always been with us, of people mistaking compassion for approval. The incel community has a lot of bad people displaying some truly reprehensible behavior, but I can still sympathize with their--obviously profound and deeply felt--pain. That doesn't mean I approve of the misogynistic behavior of some of them.