As if parents don’t have enough to be concerned about when it comes to their teenagers. Now, a professor warns that android dolls could steal their virginity and prevent them from forming intimate relationships with fellow humans.
Lifelike sex robots with limited speech recognition are already for sale in the United States and Japan. They are sold to adults as “companion devices” and come in a variety of skin tones, faces and hair colors. Some even are designed to read certain emotions and analyze facial expressions and vocal tones.
The fear is that these androids will be accessed by teens before they experience human relationships and have dire consequences for them and for society.
Professor emeritus Noel Sharkey from Sheffield University taught robotics and warns,
It’s not a problem having sex with a machine. But what if it’s your first time, your first relationship? What do you think of the opposite sex then? What do you think a man or a woman is? It will get in the way of real life, stopping people forming relationships with normal people.
It is predicted that within ten years, lifelike and affordable humanoid robots could be a common bedroom accessory and are predicted to be the next big tech trend. There is even a term for having an intimate relationship and/or falling in love with androids: Robophilia.
Professor Sharkey says,
Sex robots are accessible now and certainly (will be common) within the next ten years. I think there will be an age limit. Certainly there should be, but if your dad or mum had one, you could sneak in and use it.
Dr. Helen Driscoll from the University of Sunderland and a leading author on the psychology of sex and relationships explains,
We tend to think about issues such as virtual reality and robotic sex within the context of current norms. But if we think back to the social norms about sex that existed just 100 years ago, it is obvious that they have changed rapidly and radically. As virtual reality becomes more realistic and immersive and is able to mimic and even improve on the experience of sex with a human partner; it is conceivable that some will choose this in preference to sex with a less than perfect human being. People may also begin to fall in love with their virtual partners.
In the future, will young men and women bring an android home to meet their parents? Will weddings be planned between lifelike robots and humans? The idea of reproduction seems a bit tricky. The future is filled with many unusual possibilities. In the future, parents will have even more issues to contend with their teens.