A pair of robotics researchers launched a campaign to ban sex robots on Monday over concerns that they could reinforce stereotypes and emphasise the physical side of relationships.
Kathleen Richardson of De Montfort University, Britain, and Erik Billing of University of Skövde, Sweden, argue that the use of robots for sex entrenches a power imbalance between men and women or children.
They also dispute that the development of sexbots will reduce demand for human prostitutes, claiming that it will in fact increase it.
Though the researchers consider the possibility male sexbots might be used by women or gay men, their campaign ultimately directs its criticism towards the less fair sex, citing research that suggests men have less empathy.
“I propose that extending relations of prostitution into machines is neither ethical, nor is it safe,” said Richardson, writing in the campaign’s founding document.
“If anything the development of sex robots will further reinforce relations of power that do not recognise both parties as human subjects. Only the buyer of sex is recognised as a subject, the seller of sex (and by virtue the sex-robot) is merely a thing to have sex with.”
Under the campaign the researchers hope to encourage robotics researchers to refuse to develop sexbots in any form, as well as increase the “development of ethical technologies that reflect human principles of dignity, mutuality and freedom”, whatever that means.
The Right Dishonourable has contacted the campaign for further comment.
Image Credit – Sex Lives of Robots by Michael Sullivan