“Sex robots could be biggest trend of 2016”

Sex robots are almost here! Uh… really?

Back in 2007, artificial intelligence researcher David Levy from the University of Maastricht told LiveScience that people could be marrying robots – and consummating their vows – by 2050.

Although it might not appeal at first, he said, “once you have a story like ‘I had sex with a robot, and it was great!’ appear someplace like Cosmo magazine, I’d expect many people to jump on the bandwagon.”

In his PhD thesis, Intimate Relationships with Artificial Partners, Levy stated that the more human-like robots become in terms of personality, function and appearance, the more likely they are to form romantic partners for real people.

“It may sound a little weird, but it isn’t.

Actually, it is weird. (And the image above is pretty creepy.)

However, to be honest, I don’t see much to worry about. Lots of people already use primitive “robots” to augment their sex lives.

an-unassuming-silver-bullet-vibrator-apparently-inspired-some-bawdy-attention-from-a-tsa-agent-who

Making a robot more like a human doesn’t actually make it human. Robots are just things, and like any other things they can be used for good or ill.

Will lifelike sex robots fundamentally change the sexual dynamic of humanity? Maybe! But lots of other things have done that in the past, and we’ve survived.

  • Monogamy, marriage, divorce
  • Prostitution
  • Birth control in various forms
  • Paternity testing (blood typing, DNA, etc.)
  • Pornography (from cave paintings to the internet)

I don’t see anything qualitatively different between a human-like sex robot and a vibrator — if they ever exist, use with discretion.

13 comments

  1. The area where this gets questionable, IMO, is where it fits into your monogomous relationship. If the ‘tool’ becomes very life-like, is it now just a way to substitute a third-party into your bedroom. We’d never say that is acceptable with a person, but a human-sized, programmed to be life-like robot would be okay? That’s a slippery slope to me. As we continue to advance technology, things will continue to become ‘more real’. Seems there has to be a line at some point and I wonder if this is one area consenual between partners doesn’t quite cover it.

    1. Well, everyone should obey their conscience, but I don’t think God considers lifelike robots to be people.

      1. I guess I wonder if yoyr are truly differentiating at that point if you were to use one. What about on your own without your spouse involved?

  2. I have been following you for about a year. At first I was shocked at the topics you write about. Now I am quite accepting of your topics and enjoy them. In one of your posts you said something like, “if you think this topic is out there, you should read what some of my emails suggest we write about.” Now, I can’t think of a topic about sex in marriage that you would object to talk about. I know you say that it has to be monogamous, agreeable, respectful, but what sexual topics can you not even write about?

    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying our blog! Many Christians are very shy about sex, but we believe that sex within marriage is important and worth discussing.

      The things we choose not to write about are generally not related to marriage.

  3. First- thanks for all the great, God honoring and honest content! I’ve lurked for a while, but never taken the time before to comment.
    In regard to your post, and in connection to the wonderments of SPL, I also have a hesitancy toward regarding lifelike sex robots as a neutral agent. I believe I can see what you are saying, that they are simply man-made tools that could be utilized by spouses in the same way as any other mechanism. My alarm is connected to a couple of thoughts: the idea of these devices earning a place as a suitable partner in a relationship, and the thought that they THEMSELVES are intended to be an object of sexual desire.
    The first problem is pretty easy to see coming- the wierdness underlying Prof. Levy’s prediction that marriages between humans and robots aren’t far off. Marriages are certainly under enough attack without the lure presented in a relationship with a (at least somewhat) sexually capable machine created to serve an owner. If it’s possible to marry a robot, is it then possible (at least legally) to have an affair with one? To divorce the spouse you have currently so as to allow yourself to be married to an automaton created with only you in mind? Those possibilities don’t seem so far fetched if Levy’s prognostication proves true, but they also highlight the second issue.
    If it’s feasible for people to marry a machine, or at least frame a sexual interaction with a machine as a relationship, it seems likely to me that the intended design of these devices is to elicit a connection between user and mechanism that puts the sexbot in the space of the object of physical desire. The apparent hope of future manufacturers is that those using their products will want to have sex with the machines they have created, not use them to have sex with other people. This seems, to me, to highlight a bunch of troubling ethical questions, ones I don’t necessarily have the answers to, but that never-the-less require consideration beyond the standard “if it works for you, go for it!” of more traditional bedroom appliances. Is it all right to fantasize about sexual encounters with something that isn’t alive? Is it productive or ethically sound for the focus of sexual delight to be toward an implement created to be a simulacrum of another human? If something is specifically designed to replace a human being as a sexual partner, does that suggest a danger to healthy relationships too dangerous to endorse without sharp qualification?
    Sexual boundaries in scripture (and please feel free to correct or inform me on any of this) appear focused on the object of lust/desire. Understandable, this usually gets mentioned in the context of other human beings. Focus on your spouse, don’t focus on other people. Don’t focus on people of the same gender. There are further qualifications, however, that I feel characterize a concern for that focus to remain entirely homosapian- a rebuke of angels who had sex with humans, strong aversion to the intertwining of religious liturgy and sexuality, a direct no-no against sex with animals. It could certainly be argued that these examples are focused on a larger category of things that are living, but that limitation gives me pause.
    I don’t currently have articulate proof, but I can say that in my own experience, entirely artificial human caricatures (certainly those not meant to resemble a spouse) seem just as wrong to interact with as a bona fide human. In my case, I’ve had trouble with hentai, a form of illustrated pornography rooted Japanese anime stylings, a form of art that depicts women who are as wholly non-human (but also as intentionally meant to be) as the robots being predicted. In the case of hentai, it’s clear (to me at least) that it is no less damaging or pornographic (certainly no less engaging, degrading, or addictive) than more traditional pornography, media that depicts living humans (albeit likely heavily photoshopped). When I’m tempted to indulge in looking at hentai, I want to enjoy a sexual connection with, or at least am filled with arousal specifically in regard to, these entirely false representations of people. I KNOW(feel in my spirit) this is a wrong activity (I’m assuming you’d feel it’s wrong too, but I’m glad to hear your thoughts), yet I’ve come across purported Christians willing to call it acceptable on the basis of the fact that the people being depicted are literally no more than pixels on a screen or ink dots on a page. Allowing for sexually purposed robots feels alarming similar in rational. Maybe I’m missing something here?

    1. Great points, and thanks for leaving a comment! As with many questions, the issue depends heavily on how God is working in you, specifically.

      There are some things in the Bible that are black and white. Murder is always wrong, worshiping a false god is always wrong, denying Christ is always wrong.

      But there are many things in the Bible that require discernment. For example, the Bible has nothing to say directly about masturbation, using objects or otherwise. I can tell you with certainty that God does not want you to have sex with a person who isn’t your spouse, but I can’t tell you that God demands that you not masturbate.

      See 1 Corinthians 8-10. A thing might be acceptable for one believer, and not for another because of how God is working in that person.

      So, sexuality is intended for marriage. Your sexual life should revolve around your spouse. Some married Christians use sex toys to enhance their sex life, and others feel this is wrong and don’t do it. Both people can be right. Each person should act in the way that best edifies himself, his marriage, his family, and his church, and that brings the most glory to God.

  4. I think I understand you when you say that you don’t see anything qualitatively different between a human-like sex robot and a vibrator. On the other hand I wonder if there is anything qualitatively different between a human-like sex robot and the various forms of pornographic images currently available. As technology gets more and more sophisticated I would even expect a human-like sex robot looking like the latest “hot” porno star, maybe even able to change looks between different stars! In that case I think I would speak against your position of “use with discretion”.

    1. My current thought is that this is a matter of conscience. Strictly speaking, no matter how human-like a thing is, it isn’t human.

      I’m looking forward to more discussion in the years to come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge