An expert on sex robots has warned that the machines could lead to humanity growing addicted. A.I. powered bots designed for intercourse would be able to learn techniques and cater to a user’s whims, reducing the desire for sex with humans.
“Robotic sex may become better than human sex,” Joel Snell, a research fellow from Kirkwood College, told the Daily Star in an interview published Saturday.
Although machines claiming to be sex robots exist on the market, they pale in comparison to what many researchers believe future robots could be like. One researcher, who thinks the machines will be widespread by 2050, said the emotional intelligence in current products is severely lacking. “They really fall far short of a proper sex robot,” futurologist Ian Pearson told Inverse in October. A.I. improvements may transform future sex robots into learning machines.
Snell also believes people would be attracted to the instant gratification future sex robots would provide. “Sexbots would always be available and could never say no, so addictions would be easy to feed,” he said. “People may become obsessed by their ever faithful, ever pleasing sex robot lovers. People will rearrange their lives to accommodate their addictions.”
There are a number of reasons why sex robots are years away. Beyond the A.I. not quite measuring up to standards, the current robots are prohibitively expensive, retailing for nearly $10,000. That’s a lot to ask for something that, right now, is essentially a glorified sex toy.
Snell’s theory that sex robots could combine on-demand sex with machine intelligence is an issue campaigners have raised previously in the past. Whether it’s okay to create an A.I.-powered machine that lacks the ability to choose is a difficult issue, as it takes away an ability of consent the robot may have otherwise had. Anti-robot campaigners reject this personification of machines, arguing that A.I., like the rest of the robot, confuses inanimate objects for real beings. Considering the current state of the market, though, it may be a while before these issues come into play.