Do Sex Robots Count Electric Sheep?


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Sex robots as of now are really just dolls. They can’t do anything. But developers are aiming to make robots more humanoid and to equip them for intimate behaviour, so they can talk, move, respond etc. Some people assume that technology is here, and it is just a question when we will be ready for it. But you’re getting intimate with a piece of silicone. Where’s the human desire, asks professor Deborah G. Johnsen. At the ViSmedia Conference she explored the topic further. 

Technological determinists have this idea that technology just happens. But technology does not develop in isolation. Technology is shaped by society, but technology also shapes society. What are we to make of this emerging technology? Could you might as well marry a robot?  Biomimetic and biohybrid engineering promise to create self-aware robots, including sexbots, in the near future. 

The possibility of sex with robots challenges the human-machine distinction because the robots are being designed to look human-like, and one way to engage with them is to forget that they are machines and entertain the illusion that they are human and, therefore, appropriate for intimacy, attraction, desire, and empathy. When robots are sufficiently humanlike and sufficiently appealing socially, to the point where they can act as our companions, why not extend that companionship to marriage?