Ethicists worry having sex with robots will further objectify women, weaken human relationships and raise weird ethical questions—like whether it's acceptable to have sex with a sex robot designed to look like a child. Sex robots are not an inevitable function of technology. People are actively creating and marketing them to bring them into the world. We can stop it if we want.
There's nothing wrong with creating innovative sex toys. The problem is creating human-like robots for the sole purpose of sex. Just take a look at imagery we create about women, men and sex. It's usually far from reality and extremely problematic. Now imagine bringing those ideas into physical reality. It's a recipe for disaster.
I think you can look at the imagery that populates movies, video games, virtual reality, porn—a construction of a woman that doesn't really exist, that's been physically enhanced—and the development of sex dolls is a similar echo chamber of male desire. You cannot separate sex robots from the sexist nature of porn. They reinforce this idea that women are just sexual property.
Experts say sex robots could help lonely people and end human trafficking. People around the world are getting lonelier and lonelier. People who are disabled, elderly and more are unable to have sex despite still having the need for it. Sex robots can fill that void. Sex with a robot isn't much different than what we have today with sex toys. It's using electronic devices for sexual satisfaction. The moral panic over sex robots is like the moral panic over sex toys, porn and sex itself. It's just sex.
Still, I think the really massive benefit is that there are millions of people in this world, who for one reason or another cannot make good relationships themselves with other human beings. And so they’re lonely and miserable. I think when they’ve got the option of having relationships with very sophisticated robots, that will for many of them fill a big void in their lives and make them much happier.