Saturday, September 19, 2015

Rights for Sex Robots?

Do we need to confer basic rights to inanimate objects in order to prevent abusive use and promote respect to objects that technically are considered devoid of any life?

The question begun to perpetuate the air waves after the debate for and against the development of a sex robot is expected to become hotter. According to BBC,the debate "now includes very vocal social backlash pertaining to the human use of robots for sex."

Leading the backlash is robot ethicist Kathleen Richardson and the Campaign Against Sex Robots. The organization wants a ban on the development of sex robots and argues on its website that they, "Are harmful and contribute to inequalities in society. We believe that an organized approach against the development of sex robots is necessary in response the numerous articles and campaigns that now promote their development without critically examining their detrimental effect on society."

The organization added that "as humanoid robots become more widespread it is necessary to develop an engaged ethical response to the development of these new technologies."

The campaign proposes the following:
  1. We propose to campaign to support the development of ethical technologies that reflect human principles of dignity, mutuality and freedom.
  2. All human beings regardless of age, gender and class have the right to have their subjectivity recognized, but not at the expenses of anothers' through violence, discrimination or coercion.
In the opposing corner is Douglas Hines, Chief Executive of True Companion, a company that is currently developing a sex robot called Roxxxy. According to Hines, Roxxxy is designed to be used as more of an intimate companion than a tool for manipulation, but at US$ 7,000, Roxxxy is no cheap date.

Hines told the BBC, "We are not supplanting the wife or trying to replace a girlfriend. This is a solution for people who are between relationships or someone who has lost a spouse. People can find happiness and fulfillment other than via human interaction."

The issue is gaining traction. SoftBank, the Japanese designer of Pepper the Robot, has released detailed instructions for proper handling and interaction with Pepper. And, loosely translated, the wording included the following rule: no sex.

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