Scholars release a collection of essays exploring a future with android lovers.
What if being a robot sex slave is actually good for robots? How might pleasure droids improve social norms concerning marriage? And can they secure the sexual rights of people with disabilities?
These questions, along with several others, appear within Robot Sex: Social and Ethical Implications, a book featuring a collection of essays tackling current debates on sexbots. What’s more, it pushes mainstream discourse into new directions, with perspectives from 18 academics from different disciplines across North America and Europe.
The compilation is published by The MIT Press and co-edited by John Danaher of the Law School at National University of Galway, Ireland, and Neil McArthur of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba.
If you’re regular reader of Future of Sex, the name Danaher likely rings a bell. We’ve covered the legal philosopher’s analyses more than a few times. In fact, two popular articles examined his arguments regarding how robots might influence the demand for human sex workers and the criminalization of child sex robots and robotic rape. In a TedX talk earlier this year, he also set out a path for reframing the sex robot debate in a more productive manner.
In an email, Danaher described the book as a “serious and sober reflection on the topic” of robot sex, but “with bits of levity sprinkled throughout.”
“Nevertheless, we tried to make the individual chapters broadly accessible and I think that anyone interested in the future of sex or the ethics of technology should find something of value in it,” he added.
Danaher also touched on why the subject is so important at this point in time, explaining that it deserves to be taken seriously by academics.
“It’s not something that should be debated solely by the companies making the technology and opinion writers in tabloid media,” Danaher wrote.
He’s right. I’ve seen the mainstream media too often publish and republish inaccurate stories on the state of sex robots. Over and over tabloids print salacious headlines for shock value. As a result, they often paint people who are attracted to robots as deviants and report on sexual technology in an adolescent tone that undermines its significant potential to shape the future.
So for me, reading Robot Sex was like taking in a breath of fresh air. If you’ve enjoyed reading our articles on Danaher’s work (linked to above), then I’d certainly recommend picking up this compilation.
It has 15 chapters in total, all separated into the following six sections: Introducing Robot Sex, Defending Robot Sex, Challenging Robot Sex, The Robot’s Perspective, The Possibility of Robot Love, and The Future of Robot Sex.
We plan to speak to some of the experts in order to dig deeper into the topics that span across the domains of economics, psychology, religious studies, law, and philosophy.
In the meantime, if you do read the book let us know what you think in the comments section below. Which chapter or chapters did you find the most intriguing or eye-opening? Which did you disagree with? How do you think the future of robot sex will change society and humanity?
Image sources: Amazon, Giphy