More Disinformation About Sex Robots

sex-robotsIt seems like there is a never ending stream of concern (and suppressed moral outrage?) over sex robots. For example, Growing sophistication of sex robots is leading to moral and legal dilemmas, [so called] expert warns. In my opinion, sex robots are like pornography, without the need for actors. The only person who can be harmed by a sex robot is the user. Let’s see what the “expert” opines.

Under existing legal and ethical standards, sex between consenting adult humans is permissible, as is sex between humans and things.

Under whose standards are they not?

Humans having sex with other humans who are unable to consent to sex, like children and adults lacking decision-making capacity, is seen as unlawful and unethical. So is human/animal sex. Such groups are recognised as sentient beings who cannot consent to sex with interests in need of protection.

I would agree that these are reasonable ethical standards.

Sentient, self-aware sexbots created to engage in emotional/sexual intimacy with humans disrupt this tidy model.

Sex robots using artificial intelligence to mimic human behavior are not sentient. This is a bullshit argument.

Ethicists, lawmakers and manufacturers treat robots as things, but future sexbots are more than things.

This is pure speculation. Few would argue that we will achieve machine sentience any time soon. Conflating “behaves like a person” with “thinks like a person” is sophistry. Is there an agenda here?

“Proposals the European Parliament passed in February 2017 to recognise intelligent robots as legal ‘electronic persons’, focus on robots only as things, tools or devices. They seek merely to ensure that companies owning robots are liable for damage caused, and that robots are programmed to avoid harming humans.”

This is sound. At the moment, robots are things

Ethics expert Professor Robin MacKenzie said: “In order for intimacy to be achieved, degrees of sentience … must be built-in.”

Why? Assuming we don’t develop sentient machines, will that stop us from building sophisticated robots? We are already doing so. Even if we do create sentient machines, how can the Professor be sure people will want sentient sex robots?

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.

I guarantee if you give a sex robot a desire to refuse sex, it will not sell. This is an argument against anyone ever creating a sentient sex robot.

“Future sentient, self-aware sexbots thus raise profound ethical and legal issues. These must be resolved urgently, before they appear.”

Again, this guarantees that no one would build such a robot.

I want to take a moment to theorize on why the media continues to pedal this bullshit. Why are they trying to conflate sex robots with sentient beings, when the two are obviously no the same? I can think of a few reasons:

  1. They secretly think that sex robots are immoral, and are falsely equating sex robots with sentient beings in order to impose their will.
  2. They are concerned that sex robots will lead to further declines in birth rates, and are using this falsehood to prevent that outcome.
  3. They honestly don’t understand the difference between current machine learning algorithms and true sentience. I don’t believe this, based on the article.
  4. They believe that more men that women will take advantage of sex robots (studies argue a 2 for 1 preference, but I expect the difference is actually much greater), and that more women will be unable to find mates.
  5. Ethics professors are trying to make sure they have work to do.

Then again, maybe its all just click bait.


About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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