Call for ban on sex robots as demand picks up

AS four US companies begin to ship sex robots around the world, there is a growing campaign against them. UK academic Kathleen Richardson and computer scientist Prof Noel Sharkey from Northern Ireland are among two experts who have been calling for a ban on them.

Dr Kathleen Richardson, a senior research fellow in the ethics of robotics at De Montfort University, started the Campaign Against Sex Robots.

"I want people to stop thinking about the word 'robot' and think about the word 'property', and what we're being encouraged to do is have relationships with property," she said.

She said not only are sex robots "dehumanising and isolating", they are also inherently sexist.

"While we live in a world which still considers women as property, then it's not too much of a stretch of the imagination to start creating property that looks like women and then encouraging people to have the same sort of relationships."

Sharkey, on the other hand, called for a ban on the import of sex robots designed to look like children. He urged society to consider the impact of all types of sex robots.

His Foundation for Responsible Robotics has conducted a consultation on the issue.

A BBC report quoted Sharkey as saying it was time society woke up to a possible future where humans and robots had sex,

"We do need policymakers to look at it and the general public to decide what is acceptable and permissible," he told the BBC.

"We need to think as a society what we want to do about it. I don't know the answers - I am just asking the questions."

Meanwhile, The Sun of UK today reported that couples are enjoying risk-free threesomes by bedding sex robots. This way they can add spice in the bedroom without the emotional complications.

Current designs, often modelled on porn stars, can speak, use facial recognition, can take up to 50 sexual positions, fake orgasm and even "lurch backwards and forwards", the report said.

Others have interchangeable private parts, so they can play the role of a man or woman.

The sex robots cost from about £4,000 to £11,000 (RM22,220 to RM61,120).