There wouldn’t be any meeting of minds here—not even in the sense of hostile disagreements. But engagement at a very shallow level: taking up time, effort, and concentration, and maybe attended by hope or dismay.But the hope and dismay would be all on the side of the person. A dog, or a teddy-bear, knows nothing of that either—although the dog may sense that its owner is upset, and may even offer some cuddling comfort.Abyss Creations, the maker of life-size sex dolls Real Doll, has told The New York Times they are bringing the future of sex dolls closer by building animatronics into its creations.
That it doesn’t matter to the same extent, or to the same degree of detail, is true—but, in a sense, irrelevant. To attribute a similar base for empathy to a chatbot is nonsense.
Dr Kate Devlin, who will chair the congress, believes the arguments put forward by the Campaign Against Sex Robots group are narrow-minded."This sex work view is actually a very narrow perspective on the whole field, and also this emphasis that it's objectifying women." She said robots can have a use far beyond just offering physical pleasure."This could have amazingly good therapeutic benefits."We've seen things like virtual reality being used to treat issues such as social anxiety."Taking that a step further into a physical realm, sex robots could be a really useful thing."But Dr Richardson is concerned that sex robots will allow people to play out dark and disturbing fantasies that are immoral and illegal."You got to ask the question, why are they shaped like fully formed human females or children? Because in the mind of the user they're giving them the experience that they actually raping a child, that they're actually having sex with a woman."Dr Devlin is quick to point out that legislation has already been put in place to prevent people from owning child sex dolls.
Earlier this year, the Australian Federal Police told the ABC that anatomically correct dolls that represent underage people are considered child exploitation material, and are therefore illegal.
And to offer a conversational robot as a stand-in for a real human being is an unforgivable deception, and an assault on the recipient’s human dignity.
By all means, let’s encourage research on designing robots to make helpful trips to the fridge.