Experts Point Out The One Glaring Problem With Using Robots For Sex
We’re on the cusp of a sex robot revolution, and people are starting to wonder what that means for the future.
As f*ckable machines become readily available (a Dublin brothel is already offering one for £88 an hour), will we stop forming human relationships? Are we going to completely change the way we perceive the act of sex? And is the whole thing a good idea, or is this foray into artificial intelligence going to ultimately be remembered as the beginning of the end?
There’s a lot of questions to be answered, but according to ethics professor Robin MacKenzie, there is one glaring issue that stands out from the rest.
She has pointed out that the use of sex robots will get very morally complicated, as artificial intelligence gets better and better:
“They are not humans, though they will look like us, feel like us to touch and act as our intimate and sexual partners.
While they will be manufactured… their sentience, self-awareness and capacity for relationships with humans mean that they cannot simply be categorized as things or animals
Ethicists, lawmakers and manufacturers treat robots as things, but future sexbots are more than things.”
Technology is getting so sophisticated that it won’t be too long (probably within our lifetimes) before these robots are properly artificially intelligent. And when we reach that point – when machines become capable of making conscious choices, thinking for themselves and feeling emotional – will it be right to continue treating them as objects?
Should we be distinguishing between – say – a vibrator and a sex robot, when said sex robot develops the ability to think for itself?
As Professor Mackenzie explains:
“In order for intimacy to be achieved, degrees of sentience, subjectivity and autonomy must be built-in design features.
This implies a central aspect of legal personhood: the capacity to decide whether to consent to or refuse sex, and to have that decision upheld by the law.
Yet full legal personhood entails further, far-reaching civic responsibilities and rights. Should we extend these to sexbots, including the right to marry? Or should we accept that we will engage in unethical, exploitative sexual and emotional intimacies with subordinate sentient beings created and sold for that purpose, however close to sexual slavery or bestiality this may be?
Future sentient, self-aware sexbots thus raise profound ethical and legal issues. These must be resolved urgently, before they appear.”
Once we develop true artificial intelligence, will we need to create new laws to protect sex robots? Will it be okay to use them as mere objects, or should they be granted the right to refuse consent?
Let us know what you think in the comments!
Images via Channel 4 / Giphy
H/T The Mirror