A couple of European scientists are saying that realistic sex robots will harm human relationships if they’re allowed to enter the market. They’ve started a campaign against them on Tuesday (September 15, 2015) and are hoping to open people’s eyes to these potentially dangerous machines.
But not all field experts agree with them.
Kathleen Richardson, an expert in the ethics of robotics working at the De Montfort University (England), and Erik Billing, a lecturer working at the University of Skovde (Sweden), explained that they didn’t want to launch the campaign because they have any desire “to protect the rights of the robots”.
What the two researchers worry about is that widespread use of sex robots will end up promoting unhealthy attitudes towards sex and towards gender relations.
Billing offered a statement saying that “The danger of sex robots lies in what we read into them, how we form fantasies that, in some respects, become a reality, […] a reality where the human (male) user is expected to turn on his woman robot companion for his own, lone, pleasure”.
He believes most people can agree that this is pretty much the opposite of “a healthy, mutual, sexual relationship”.
As for Richardson, she wrote a position paper that she uploaded on the campaign’s website. In it she compares the relationship between a human and a sex robot to that between a human client and a human sex worker. She is convinced that the use of sex robots will end up strengthening the exploitation and objectification attitudes that can already be found in the commercial sex trade.
Even thought realistic sex robots are a long way from becoming a thing, many have debated the issue in recent years. Some field experts say that they will reinforce unhealthy relationships as robots are literally objects, and the individuals who pay for sex already see their human partner as an object rather than as a living person that has thoughts and feelings.
But other field experts say that the practice is a much more complex one. Teela Sanders, sociologist, informed in an earlier study that men who pay for sex may do so for a variety of reasons.
For starters they may want to have more sex than they would otherwise, they may want to experience different types of sex, or they may want to be with different types of women and / or men.
What’s more, they may engage in this phenomenon just because they happen to have an opportunity to do so, because they’re lonely, or because they’re not in a relationship with another person.
And many men who frequently see the same sex worker think of the relationship they have with them as something intimate that offers companionship.
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