Sex with robots: reasons not to fear it

Fear of a branch of artificial intelligence that is in its infancy is a reason to shape it, not ban it. By Kate Devlin. “Ban sex robots!” scream the tech headlines, as if they’re heralding the arrival of the latest artificial intelligence threat to humankind since autonomous killer robots. The campaign, led by academics Kathleen Richardson and Erik Billing, argues that the development of sex robots should be stopped because it reinforces or reproduces existing inequalities. Yes, society has enough problems with gender stereotypes, entrenched sexism and sexual objectification. But actual opposition to developing sexual robots that aims for an outright ban? That seems short-sighted, even — pardon the pun — undesirable. Existing research into sex and robots generally centres on a superficial exploration of human attachment, popularised by films…

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