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The rise of sex robots: Are they actually good for humans?

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Mon, June 11, 2018  /  01:00 am
The rise of sex robots: Are they actually good for humans?

Harmony, a sex robot produced by RealDoll. (RealDoll's Instagram/File)

Sex robots, also known as sex bots or sex dolls, are beginning to increase in popularity and are advancing fast.

Completely artificial and made with computer chips, they are starting to get a realistic lifelike look and are equipped with features that allow them to be the perfect companion for the buyer, such as speech, eye-tracking capabilities and the capability to do trivial things such as quote Shakespeare or remember the buyer’s birthday. Available for between US$5,000 and $15,000, they are currently aimed at the male market.

But the arrival of sex bots has been causing many doctors to question the claims that are being spread. Could bots prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases? Could bots help treat impotence? Could sex bots serve as part of a therapy program for pedophiles and rapists? A company has even gone so far as to market a child version of the doll, calling it a ‘pedo-bot’.

In a report published in the British Medical Journal, Susan Bewley and Chantal Cox-George investigate all these claims about sex bots — both the theories promoting sex bots and the theories condemning them — and found that there is too little evidence to either support or deny these claims. 

Read also: Meet Harmony, a sex robot who knows how to be jealous

"Based on the lack of evidence, which is at the heart of medical professionalism, we advise that sexbots shouldn't be used in medical practice, at least not unless that forms part of robust and ethical research," they said in their report. 

According to these researchers, there is even less evidence to indicate that sex bots could help reduce violent and inappropriate sexual behavior. In fact, the information seems to suggest otherwise — the robots could desensitize them even more and it could have negative consequences including the possible sexual exploitation of people. 

"While many sexbot users may distinguish between fact and fantasy, some buyers may not, leading to concern about potentially exacerbating the risk of sexual assault and rape of actual children and adults," they added in their report.

Last April, the pedo-bots were removed from Amazon Marketplace over fears that it could lead to the abuse of real children.

In the meantime, while people argue about the claims, the markets will still continue to manufacture sex dolls. (ely/kes)