The future is now. We may not have flying cars yet, but there is one thing from the old science fiction stories that has become a reality: sex robots.
The first robot brothel, Lumidolls, was opened in Barcelona earlier this year, offering a sexual experience with silicone ladies who appear “totally realistic” and are “hardly distinguishable” from real women. The owners seek to expand these sex robots globally.
Since robots are not real human beings, some might believe there should be no moral limits imposed upon them, because whatever a man does with silicone is his own business. But should a person really be able to do whatever they please, even with silicone?
Those offended by that question while insisting there should be no limits on fantasy, might feel differently if they learned a sex robot was made in the shape of a child.
A few years ago within the virtual world of Second Life, there used to be an “anything goes” attitude toward fantasy in some circles. Many logged in to the virtual world to role play as animals, different genders, masters or slaves; and most would say that even if some fantasy wasn’t for them, they were OK with others doing as they pleased.
That is, until “age play” became an issue.
In the virtual world you can look however you want to look. Because of this, some decided to give their avatars the appearance of children while engaging in virtual seduction, sex, and prostitution. The people controlling these avatars were adults. No real children were involved, and yet the idea of pedophilia is so repugnant to most people, this practice became forbidden even in the virtual world. Anyone engaging in age play to this day is banned from Second Life.
The point? A good number of people will say anything should be allowed when it comes to fantasy, especially with robots, but even people who are quite liberal have lines they believe should not be crossed. Pedophilia is usually one of them.
At this time, Lumidolls does not have robots in the shape of children that we know of, but it is not hard to imagine such a thing happening in the future if more people open robot brothels. Prostitution may be one of the world’s “oldest professions” but sex robots bring new dilemmas for theologians and scientists alike.
For example, what if a person’s fantasy is to rape, maim or kill someone, and they want to act this out on a robot? Though the robot isn’t real, it should be noted that most serial killers start out with fantasy, working their way up from cruelty to animals to people. Some begin as voyeurs, before eventually needing a bigger thrill and finally killing someone.
Will robot sex places allow “abuse” of their robots? If so, one might ask how healthy could it be to let someone vent their aggression on something in the shape of a person? Would allowing a man to rape a robot keep him from going after a real person, or would it add fuel to a destructive desire better off extinguished? These are just some of many ethical questions that might surface regarding the use robots.
We don’t have robot brothels on every street corner yet, but if there comes a time when we do, they’re certain to prompt an array of discussions and moral debates. Even the idea of a sex robot opens an ethical can of worms.