Thrilling Devices Begging for Strict, Punishing Regulation

March 20, 2019

Why are we not surprised? The Next Web reports, “Laws Can’t Keep Up with Sex Robots’ Ethical and Privacy Issues.” Whatever one feels about them, “sexbots” are already being sold overseas and seem destined to arrive here in the not-too-distant future. As laws are now, these products will probably fall under the category of sex toys, a market that is not heavily regulated for safety. There is one exception—legislators are already making laws to guard against sexbots that resemble children. That disturbing possibility aside, writer Francis X. Shen examines some potential hazards of these devices:

“For example, dangers lurk even in a seemingly innocent scene where a sex robot and human hold hands and kiss. What if the sexbots’ lips were manufactured with lead paint or some other toxin? And what if the robot, with the strength of five humans, accidentally crushes the human’s finger in a display of passion? It’s not just physical harm, but security as well. For instance, just as a human partner learns by remembering what words were soothing, and what type of touch was comforting, so too is a sex robot likely to store and process massive amounts of intimate information. What regulations are in place to ensure that this data remains private? How vulnerable will the sex robot be to hacking?”

See the write-up for more unanswered questions. No one knows what the future holds in this arena, but reportedly about half of us believe sexbots will be commonplace in 50 years. I suppose we had better decide how to deal with them before that time arrives.

Cynthia Murrell, March 20, 2019

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