A turbulent development of technologies and the creation of human-like dolls is arising a lot of questions. The opinions about the impact such progress can have for the humanity may be completely opposite, there is no definite answer found to date. Physicians, legal experts, the adult industry players and the consumers, naturally, are discussing a lot of topics, from the ethical side of sex with a robot to the harm and benefit it can cause to people’s health. Meanwhile, the market is being filled with more and more advanced pieces that serve not only for a sexual discharge, but they are also able to hold a conversation, they are looking more and more human-like. This is not an ancient doll with a round mouth, but a cutting-edge device, supplied with artificial intelligence and appearance to every taste.
Many advocates of sex robots claim the latter are beneficial for people’s sexual health. However, this assumption needs a number of additional trials to finally prove true of false. In 2012, Science Direct published a study, boldly predicting that, by the beginning of 2050, the world’s oldest profession will be completely undertaken by robots, and the red light district in Amsterdam will be packed with androids, regularly disinfected to avoid the expansion of STDs.
A new research has been recently published in “BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health”. It is dedicated to the impact that having sex with robots can cause to human health. Its authors, Susan Bewly and Chantal Cox-George, noted that they had failed to find any sustainable relation between the sex robots’ usage and the health aspects. Thus, the claims about the benefits of such sex seem to be not more than a marketing push, until this assumption is tested and proved on practice. On the other hand, the article says that such kind of sex can actually benefit those who have no real partner. A potential decrease of crimes on the sexual basis is also reported. The authors are raising the issues of the ethical side of selling sex robots to rapists; the legal affairs: who is to blame in case a sex robot’s client gets an STD? However, this question is relevant in both Amsterdam and Russia, where a sex doll brothel is open nowadays. Dmitry Alexandrov, its founder, claims that the demand for the dolls is beyond expectations, the company is ready to expand the target audience through adding male dolls, in particular. He is sure that, in future, people are going to substitute their real partners by robots. He also assigns the sex awareness-raising mission to the robots.
Again, a simple search at the online sex shops shows that the price for the dolls with rather human-like appearance starts at 70 thousand rubles, while the price for those supplied with artificial intelligence, is estimated to be millions.
Despite the facts above, the manufacturers plan to go further, developing this business line, and they go on saying that, as for the satisfaction of unusual sexual desires, a robot is a safer partner in comparison to a random human. Besides, the artificial intelligence’ development allows us to consider the robots not only as a device for sex, but also as a partner. They are able to support a talk, to remember the meaning of the previous conversations, to express some emotions.
David Levy, the author of the book “Love and Sex with Robots” (2007), in his speech given on the II conference with the same title, held in London, indicated the following: ‘The robots-assistants already exist, that’s why the idea of a robot-partner seems to be a consecutive step forward. Within next ten years, it would be possible to create a robot-mate, who will have everything that people wish their partner had-patience, kindness, affection, confidence, respect and trouble-free sexual involvement’.
Those people who have already had a close experience with sex robots also give different opinions. Thus, the wife of the Samantha sex doll’s founder, said the invention had not contributed to their marriage’s survival. According to her words, a sex robot with artificial intelligence could be of great use at the moment of solving family problems. Marina Adshade, from the University of British Columbia, believes that sex robots will help those families where one of the partners feels uneasy about the conjugal duty. ‘Nowadays, when we are searching for the marriage partner, we are looking for someone to build an amazing sexual relation with, someone able to become our friend and, undoubtedly, a nice parent for our children. This is something unattainable for one and the same person. We can rarely find someone who meets all these requirements. In future, people will have the possibility of separating these obligations: to find a friend for living together, exchanging opinions and bringing up children, and for the rest-they can buy a modern mechanical partner.’
However, to date, things are not so positive, as the already worldwide known robots, Samantha, Harmony, Ken, Henry and others, can actually do little in comparison to what their manufacturers once promised. For example, the robot Henry, made by the company Realbotix, is able to suggest taking the garbage out, but it is unable to do it. Still, the creators claim that the robot can perfectly fulfill its basic function-that of a sexual partner.
One thing is clear: while the opinions are so controversial, the topic is of interest. What happens next? We are going to eagerly follow the robotic technology’s news!