I’m as ready as anyone for robots to begin appearing alongside us squishy meatbags in many public and private settings. While there are constant cries by Luddites that automation and the burgeoning robotics revolution will be a bad thing for humanity, I’m sure it’ll all work out in the end. Robots are just one more step in our ongoing effort to remove all labor and effort from our daily lives. House need vacuuming? There’s a ‘bot for that. Need a ride to the airport? Let your robotic car drive itself. Need life-saving surgery? Definitely a ‘bot for that. Need to spice up your love life? Yep, robots can do it. That ‘it.’
Sex robots are, believe it or not, one of the hottest growing areas of consumer robotics. Despite the ethical pitfalls and psychological weirdness that might ensue, more and more people are designing and purchasing sex ‘bots, with some individuals going so far as to proclaim themselves “robosexuals” and even seek to legally marry their robot lovers. What could go wrong?
Well, a lot, warns a leading cybersecurity researcher. In an interview with the Daily Star, Deakin University professor Nick Patterson points out that robotic sex dolls could be vulnerable to intrusions from hackers just like any other internet-connected device out there (also – why do sex ‘bots need to be connected to the web?). Patterson says that given the mechanical strength of these dolls, users ought to be wary of potential hacks:
Hackers can hack into a robot or a robotic device and have full control of the connections, arms, legs and other attached tools like in some cases knives or welding devices. Often these robots can be upwards of 200 pounds, and very strong. Once a robot is hacked, the hacker has full control and can issue instructions to the robot. The last thing you want is for a hacker to have control over one of these robots!
Sounds pretty terrifying. I imagine it’d go something like this:
Aside from the threat of sex ‘bots crushing our skulls between their cold metal hands like an overripe melon, I’m more concerned about the potential long term ramifications of these love machines. Given that we can already produce human embryos in labs without the need for human copulation, could these robots once and for all render human sexuality meaningless? Pair a sex robot with augmented reality headsets, and you’ve got an entire cornucopia of sexual experiences at your fingertips, perhaps even ones we can’t even imagine yet.
Is that a bad thing though, given all of the potential harm that inevitably comes with human sexual contact? Who knows. But remember kids: no means no, even when a creepy robot sex doll says it. Even robots have their limits.