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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday September 29 2019, @01:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the johnson-and-not-johnson dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

In recent years, sex dolls have become increasing sophisticated and realistic in their resemblance to human beings, including mechanized components, and are thus now referred to as humanoid sex robots. Some media outlets have gone as far as to suggest that sex robots and other social robots will eventually become almost indistinguishable from humans.

This has sparked a number of interesting ethical and philosophical debates related to the significance of these robots and the possibility that future machines will replicate the physical intimacy between two people. In a recent study featured in Springer's International Journal of Social Robotics, two researchers at the University of Virginia and the University of Bergamo in Italy have taken a closer look at some of the current arguments and predictions about sex robots, carrying out an ethics-based and critical discourse analysis.

"We started our joint research to debunk some myths and misunderstandings in the media regarding the future of artificial intelligence," Deborah Johnson and Mario Verdicchio, the two researchers who carried out the study, told TechXplore. "We were struck by how fundamentally flawed some of the ideas were and especially the assumption that the computational version of some aspects of reality are the same as the real thing."

In their paper, Johnson and Verdicchio essentially challenge the perception of humanoid sex robots as robotic substitutes of lovers and companions. They argue that although humanoid robots may look and act more and more like human beings in the future, the claim that they will eventually replace humans is far-fetched and far from a certainty.

"Our research is aimed at showing that humanoid sex robots could come to be understood in ways that keep their status as machines, albeit technologically very sophisticated machines." Johnson and Verdicchio said.

Deborah G. Johnson et al. Constructing the Meaning of Humanoid Sex Robots, International Journal of Social Robotics (2019). DOI: 10.1007/s12369-019-00586-z


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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday September 30 2019, @08:22PM

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday September 30 2019, @08:22PM (#900978) Journal

    It could be argued that governments have an interest in compelling reproduction for economic or military reasons. Several countries are attempting to raise birth rates [citylab.com], most notably South Korea, Japan, and China [cnn.com]. If the situation was serious enough, you could see restrictions on sex robots, gay relationships. etc.

    However, while sex robots are a start, artificial wombs are the finisher. Along with synthetic eggs/embryos, they will eventually allow gay men or lesbian women to have children without a biological mother/father [nationalgeographic.com], or a lone individual could create a child with downloadable custom DNA. If birth rates are too low to sustain the economy or military*, governments could just create "orphans" from scratch, a wild turn of events. Artificial wombs probably won't take off until they can be proven to be safer than female wombs, but we can predict some safety benefits: likely the complete elimination of premature births (see causes [healthline.com]), and a reduction of environmental risk factors (the artificial womb won't smoke, drink alcohol, get stressed [npr.org], inhale car exhaust, etc).

    Sex robots take some power away from women, maybe an exaggerated amount. It's the artificial womb that will really hit hard.

    *Or we could see less personnel and more killer robots in the military. But foot soldiers are resistant to hacking, EMPs, etc.

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