Would it be considered rape if a robot has sex with a woman who hasn’t given consent? Would the robot be punished? Do androids dream of electric rapes?
A bizarre but fascinating report online states that, in the event of android on human sexual assault, the legal responsibility would lie with the humans “who have programmed the machine with the capacity to force itself on people”.
Professor Noel Sharkey of the Foundation of Responsible Robotics (FRR) explained to the Daily Star, “A male sex robot, like any robot, has no desires of its own. These are inanimate devices run by computer programming. Thus, if a male gendered sex robot were to rape a woman, the police would need to hunt down the programmer.”
Companies that develop life-like female androids with big breasts and porn star features have been accused of perpetuating ‘rape culture’ and objectifying women. But now male sex robots with chiselled six-pack abs and penises ‘better than vibrators’ have entered the market, new legal and ethical questions have arisen.
Noel Sharkey, professor of robotics and AI at the university of Sheffield, said male sex robots built with a rape setting could pose legal risks for programmers. There is no suggestion of any firm making a male sex robot designed to resist sexual advances or act out of a rape fantasy. But if a woman were to accuse a male sex robot of raping or sexually assaulting her, the programmer would likely to be held responsible in the eyes of the law.
The ascendance of sex robots leads to many ethical dilemmas. Moreover, some commentators have warned about consequences of a coming sexbot revolution, how it might radically distort the sexual market and push the West into chaos.
Chateau Heartiest notes that, today, a chorus of voices from various scientific fields say that “Sex with robots will be the norm in 50 years”, as one expert claims. 3D printed models can make a sexbot face that looks exactly like your favorite hottie.
(Says the reader who supplied the links: “This will blow up the world. It will make crack cocaine look like decaffeinated coffee.”)
The issue of rape and sex robots has come up before, but the other way around:
Noel Starkey has said there are ethical arguments within the field about sex robots with “frigid” settings.
“The idea is robots would resist your sexual advances so that you could rape them,” Professor Sharkey said. “Some people say it’s better they rape robots than rape real people. There are other people saying this would just encourage rapists more.”
Matt McMullen, founder of RealDoll and Realbotix dismissed ethical complaints levelled at his firm: “I could just as easily ask you if it is ethically dubious to force my toaster to make my toast.” Sharkey said, “Using a sex robot for masturbatory purposes does not necessarily legitimize rape fantasies and sexual assault.”
Matt has stated that main aim of his company is to help the socially isolated find companionship. “We have equal interest in male and female versions of what we’re doing. I feel it’s important to offer both. We got a lot of people gravitating to the fact that we’ve just made a female robot so far. People have accused us of objectifying women, but it’s important that people know that this is more than a sex toy. We have a lot of female customers interested in buying male robots as companions to talk to and interact with.”
Could this be the end of cats?