Sharkey, N., van Wynsberghe, A., Robbins, S., & Hancock, E. (2017). Our Sexual Future with Robots. The Hague, Netherlands: Foundation for Responsible Robotics. Retrieved from http://responsiblerobotics.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FRR-Consultation-Report-Our-Sexual-Future-with-robots_Final.pdf
In 2017 most liberal societies accept or tolerate sex in many different forms and varieties. Sex toys and masturbation aids have been used for centuries and can be easily purchased in stores in many countries. Now companies are developing robots for sexual gratification. But a robot designed for sex may have different impacts when compared with other sex aids. Those currently being developed are essentially pornographic representations of the human body – mostly female. Such representations combined with human anthropomorphism may lead many to perceive robots as a new ontological category that exists in a fantasy between the living and the inanimate. This is reinforced by robot manufacturers with an eye to the future. They understand the market importance of adding intimacy, companionship, and conversation to sexual gratification.
The aim of this consultation report is to present an objective summary of the issues and various opinions about what could be our most intimate association with technological artefacts. We do not contemplate or speculate about far future robots with personhood – that could have all manner of imagined properties. We focus instead on significant issues that we may have to deal with in the foreseeable future over the next 5 to 10 years.