Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Would having sex with a robot be cheating?

With the way technology is going it will not be long before atomically correct robots are available. Several of the larger companies are working on it as well as more mainstream commercial applications. The sex industry is huge so it only makes sense that the companies working on robotics would want to tap into that market. Robots designed for sex or capable of sex and emotional relationships has been the theme of many science fiction plot lines since before the 60’s. Think of all the movies, TV shows and books that have sex robots, Weird Science, Circuitry Man, A.I., Millennium and more. It is something people have thought about for some time; it is not surprising that it is becoming a reality. The concept is that there will be robots interacting with us everyday almost indistinguishable from a human both in form and function. Robots would become an accepted part of our society with the possibility of relationships developing, even marriage. Marriage to a robot has already taken place and is legal in Japan.

So there are two minds to the possibility of sex robots. One is that there is a market for robots designed for sex. Second is that as people interact with robots emotional bonds will develop with the possibility of humans falling in love with robots: “Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships” by David Levy. There is even a theory that robots may be programmed to love and other human emotions. Kim Jong-Hwan, the director of the ITRC-Intelligent Robot Research Centre, has developed a series of artificial chromosomes that, he says, will allow robots to feel lusty, and could eventually lead to them reproducing. He says the software will give the machines the ability to feel, reason and desire. Which reminds me of the twilight episode where the robot killed because she loved. Another possibility, that if we program robots to react as humans they will.

There are people who would benefit from the creation of robots for relationships, so here comes WowWee's Femisapien and Sega's E.M.A.. Some people are destined to be lonely due to physical location, personality issues, or are just not attractive. Robots can be designed to fulfill that need. Some people need the interpersonal skills and could practice with a robot until they are able to develop a relationship with a real person. But would that be cheating on the robot? There are other people who are unable to maintain relationships who could have a robot programmed to put up with them.

Now comes the moral question, would having sex with a robot be cheating? Would the robot count as a “person” or would it just be another sex toy? Think about it, there could be a robot designed to meet all your needs, from cleaning the house, cooking, and sex, as the ones in Cherry 2000. The robot could even be designed to change its physical appearances so that you could have a different partner, or a variety of partners to play with depending on your whim. Robots can even be designed to meet the needs of sexual deviants hopefully keeping real people safe.

Will there be a day when a wife or husband says, “Not tonight honey, I have a headache. Why don’t you pull the robot out of the closet?” Will having sex with a robot be seen as being as bad as having it with another person or just a really fun sex toy? Will robots replace prostitutes?

The real question for me is: How can an average person compete with a robot? They don’t age, they can look physically perfect, meet anyone’s desires, and are ready and willing anytime. They can be programmed to have no moral hang-ups, so you want to do two robots or a robot and a person, why not. How can an almost 40 overweight and overworked woman like me possibly compete with a robot designed to meet my husbands every desire both in the physical appearance and sexual appetite, what ever he likes she does as well and is always willing and able. That is the real question, can human relationships survive the perfection of robot partners?

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