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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: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday June 06 2018, @11:36PM (3 children)

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday June 06 2018, @11:36PM (#689622) Journal

    I suspect those sexbot buying folks will quickly learn that the best part of sex is the emotional connection. It is stimulating your partner and having them respond. A robot will never do that, even if they eventually figure out how to make its moans sound sincere.

    As to the effect of sexbots on society, it seems the effects will be self-correcting over the long run. That is, the people who use sexbots exclusively and fail to have successful relationships with others will die out.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
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  • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07 2018, @01:28AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07 2018, @01:28AM (#689663)

    The best part? Let's be honest, that part is orgasming YOURSELF.

    I enjoy making the other person cum and enjoy the intimacy and buildup for them, but if I am not cumming the vast majority of the time, it's not worth it. Might as well just give them a backscratch instead of sex.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07 2018, @05:46AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07 2018, @05:46AM (#689735)

    As to the effect of sexbots on society, it seems the effects will be self-correcting over the long run. That is, the people who use sexbots exclusively and fail to have successful relationships with others will die out.

    If that were the case, wouldn't homosexuals have long since 'died out'? (oh wait, is that something they're born with, or is it a choice... which week is it again?)

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08 2018, @02:06AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08 2018, @02:06AM (#690158)

    There's this attitude that you're a failure if you don't get into relationships with others. However, this is just an example of projecting your own desires onto other people, since not everyone wants to be in relationships. Some people are asexuals. Some people are aromantics. And separate but somewhat related, some people are extremely introverted. If someone doesn't desire a relationship, that is okay. If someone is introverted and doesn't feel the need to have much human contact, that is also okay. Neither makes you a 'failure'.