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Is It Ethical to Have Sex With a Robot?

1 minute read

Yes! They could offer relationships to the lonely

There were times certain sexual practices between humans were illegal. The general view now is “anything goes” between consenting adults, so I see nothing wrong from an ethical point of view with having sexual relationships with robots. One has to consider it as similar to a [sex toy], for example. Clearly there’s nothing wrong in using electronic devices to create sexual satisfaction. Why should there be moral problems with hiring or buying a sex robot?

David Levy, author of Love and Sex With Robots

No! It perpetuates a culture that objectifies women

Sex is already thought of as instrumental, and women in particular are already treated like objects. When you look at the trinity of prostitution, pornography and child abuse, you see a culture where men relate to women not as people but as their breasts, their mouths … Automizing people’s experiences of sex with robots contributes to that disconnect between sex and humanity, and exacerbates the trend of objectification and abuse.

Kathleen Richardson, fellow in ethics of robotics at De Montfort University in the U.K. and founder of the Campaign Against Sex Robots

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com