Would You Have Sex With a Robot? The Age of the Sexbot Is Fast Approaching
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What exactly makes the sex act sexy? Is it the rush of pheromones and invisible storm of sex-chemicals? The emotional uncertainty and fear that accompany intimate encounters with fellow humans? The pillow talk?
Proponents of robosexuality hold that you don’t need homo sapiens for a satisfying sexual experience. For them, the sleek proportions and permanent willingness of mechanical contraptions beat the complexity and messiness of sexy time with living, breathing organisms any day of the week.
Robots, after all, don’t tattle; they don’t reject you, and they don’t give you STDs. Soon enough, they may be able to simulate the verbal and cognitive responses of a real live person. In recent years, sex dolls (the Real Doll is a good example) have been getting much more realistic, some featuring vibrations and electronics that mimic human movements. Granted, they still look a little freaky. But the race for the perfect sex machine is on, and as robot technology advances, from the University of Texas' cutting-edge work on robot facial expressions to Cornell University's research into self-aware robots, Rosie the Robot is getting better all the time.
MacMil Cybernetics, Inc., maker of Sex Bots, invites you into the exciting world of the “life-like and life-size adult sex robot designed as an adult sex toy as well as a sexual companion.” The website features a blonde unit perched expectantly on a sofa wearing lacy underpants and Mary Jane pumps. She’s waiting for you, cowboy, and she won’t ask you to take out the trash.
Sex Bot devices come with various options such as radio remote control and/or interactive touch sensory, so if you touch it correctly it will "turn on." Ready for this? The skin can be removed for cleaning, or simply to change the look of your “companion.”
OK, maybe you were ready for that. But what about this? Over at Forbes, Kashmir Hill discusses a future in which child sex robots will be readily available. Ron Arkin, Georgia Tech’s Mobile Robot Lab director does not approve of child sexbots, but he does think they might be useful as a way to deal with pedophiles, kind of like methadone for addicts. (Surely for some pedophiles, the chase and the interaction with the child is part of the allure, but maybe there are some who could be satisfied with a bot.)
Artificial intelligence researcher David Levy of the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands forecasts that by 2050, humans will not only be having sex with robots, but will be enjoying romances, and even marriage with them.
Culturally, we do seem to be warming up to the idea. In Japan, where 40 percent of the world’s robots are made, manga and anime series regularly show sex and love between robots and humans. In the U.S. the 2013 film Her, which depicts a man falling in love with an intelligent computer operating system, explores the territory of human/non-human relationships. And readers of science fiction like Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? were already into ‘droid sex and romance back in the '80s.
Still sound a little far-fetched? Consider this: A recent UK survey cited at the Daily Beast revealed that 1 in 5 people would do it with a robot. (One in 10 would have sex with a child robot.) Researcher Martin Smith, who conducted the study, advised that “robots will be able to show most, if not all, of the signs and behaviours of emotional intelligence…The robots will not feel, but like actors they will be able to show emotional intelligence.”