If the sexbots are already here, what next? Will we all start marrying dolls and sever connections with other human beings? If we are used to programming our partner, how could we ever go back to human beings?
Laquita is worried that sexbots will warp our perception of consensual relationships: “It dehumanises sex and does not consider sex as a consensual experience. Sex robots and VR pornography may distort users’ reality.”
Not convinced? You’re not alone. Kate Devlin, senior lecturer in Social and Cultural Artificial Intelligence at King’s College London and author of Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots, thinks sex robots will never seem ‘real’ enough to appeal to a large audience.
“We are very bad at making human-like robots. Current technology is not suited to it, and our brains can easily spot when human-like things aren’t human,” says Kate.
“The current prototypes of sex robots are essentially immobile sex dolls with some animatronics and chat capability built in. I think it’s going to stay niche,” she continues.
While the use of sex dolls may appear to dehumanise women and promote misogynistic ideas, Kate thinks most bot-owners actually “cherish” their dolls and treat them with respect.
Some people find it hard to make and sustain romantic relationships so, for them, sex dolls could be an incredibly useful way to combat loneliness.