Television has become preoccupied with the near-future dilemmas of human-android coitus. It has become the topic of exploration in sci-fi for quite a while now, and for a good reason. Advances in robotics and Artificial Intelligence have allowed humans to embark on a feat nobody from decades back would have ever thought of.

With the rise of robotic Sex Dolls, Experts are now on a divide. Not one side questions if it’s ethical to have sex with a robot anymore. Rather, one side is arguing that robot sex could be the way of preventing sex-related crimes, while the other faction wants a full ban on sexbots, especially those that look like children.

Lifelike sex dolls: Yay or nay?

A newly published report titled “Our Sexual Future with Robots” discusses that human-android coitus will soon be a part of the norm and that the society should learn to accept it. However, the report’s co-author, Professor Noel Sharkey, says lawmakers should look into the matter seriously. The report mentions the dark side of the sex doll industry, wherein robots are being used as prostitutes. Sharkey also points out the existence of sex robots that resemble children and calls for a complete ban.

In Japan, a doll manufacturer called Trottla is currently selling underage school girl dolls for pedophiles. The owner of the company is a self-confessed pedophile, who said in an interview that he has learned to shift his attention to dolls instead of real children.

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Some companies have also resorted to programming ‘reluctant’ or ‘shy’ personalities into their sex dolls so that users could feel they were forcing the robots to have sex, something that Sharkey and his colleagues' question.

Sex robots for therapy

On the other hand, sex dolls could act as companions for lonely, disabled, or elderly people and other who find it difficult to establish intimate relationships. These AI robots can also be used alongside sexual therapy by helping people come to terms with their traumatic past.

“You have to strike a balance between lack of regulation — so we have all different uses and personifications of children and women as sexual objects — or you have overregulation and you stifle the technology,” Aimee Van Wynsberghe, assistant professor in ethics and technology at the Technical University of Delft, told the Guardian.

We, as a society and a species, are opening a door to a new world of sex. Social taboos will be challenged; legal questions will be raised. The ethical implications of human-robot relations are deep, complex, and many. And this is just one isolated area where AI is going to have a radical impact on society.