3. Economics of an Electric Sheep
Dr. Pearson sees the future of the sex industry as the synthesis of VR and realistic sex dolls. If robots are already advanced enough to dance on a poll, and VR can immerse a user in a realistic virtual world, the combination of these technologies opens up intriguing possibilities for the sex industry.
Pearson projects that soon “Sex toys alone will account for a UK market of over £1bn!… augmented virtual reality will create lucrative 3D opportunities that offer lots more fun and feeling.” He predicts that the global sales of £10Bn per year will triple with the improvement of these technology.
Not only will strip clubs and brothels employ sexbots and VR as a cheaper replacement of “real life” performers, but, as tech improves, robosex specifically will attract audiences. Thus, robosexuality, or the desire to have sex specifically with robots, will intensify and proliferate.
4. Love and Sex
Pearson writes that sexbots “will be perfect for those people who want to live their ultimate fantasy without all the strings and emotional commitments of real relationships.” Sex robots will provide the stability and ease that “real” relationships do not. Though Pearson foresees the movement’s detractors, he believes that as AI and mechanical behavior improve, this squeamishness will disappear.
But, if Pearson’s predictions are correct and AI improves, this raises a question that films like Blade Runner have been asking for years: will people fall in love with robots, and, in turn, could a robot fall in love with a human? For some people, for whom finding a partner in life is difficult, falling in love with a automaton could be a safe and comforting option.
For these people, robots could offer the companionship that real people do not. As Davecat explains about his basic RealDoll: the relationship with his doll is not purely about sex, but more. He is happiest when lying in bed with her on a sunny morning. But what would it mean if this doll had some sort of artificial intelligence?
5. The Future
Pearson hopes that as technology advances, so too will acceptance of those who are attracted to non-living partners. Yet, if we have learned anything from the struggle of the LGBT community, interracial couples and women’s’ rights, the road will be long and hard.
Most likely, robots will not gain sentience for a long time. But when robots become sentient, the prospect of intimate, romantic relationships will become even more complicated.
While this article attempts to avoid moralizing the emergence of robosexuality, its emergence seems inevitable, and a larger conversation about the rights of robosexual is on the horizon.
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