There has been much talk recently of robots and ethics—well, in particular—sex with robots and ethics. And beyond ethics, as robots become more life-like, legal issues.
As it is right now, we don’t have real “sex robots” so there’s really no ethical or legal questions to answer. But, with the exponential acceleration of technology, human-like robots will emerge soon enough.
What people do now to their own beautiful, silicone dolls is their own business, as it should be. But at what point along the evolution of robots do we start applying human laws of protection to them? An absurd thought? I don’t think so.
Let’s make it simple to understand, and move forward to the time when robots will respond with appropriate human reactions to the input they receive. Not only will they respond with pleasure when they are having sex with you, but they will respond with pain if you hurt them. For all intents and purposes, they will seem real to you. So inflicting pain to, or performing illegal activities with them, will cross the lines of ethics. But should it cross the lines of the law?
Robots will move towards mimicking humans, in all their senses. And humans will evolve toward robots, beginning with implants, limbs and finally brain augmentations and complete replacements. What will be robotic and what will be human?
Given this meeting of evolutions, here are some specific examples of questions to ponder:
Can a robot doll owner film the torture and “murder” of a sex robot and place it on the internet? Sell it as a robot snuff film?
Should it be a crime to have sex with a 12 year old robot? Should it be a crime simply to make such a doll?
Can you kick around your robot puppy?
Can a robot be made into a sex slave, forced to live in the closet, chained up, when not in use.
All these things are illegal with humans, but legal with the “robots” or “dolls” of today.
I think it’s obvious to most rational people that as the distinction between robots and humans blur, these should be treated just as are crimes against humans. And, I think we can also agree, that with the today’s primitive technology, no such actions should yet be criminal. So the question is, at what point do we criminalize these actions? How do you define this point in their evolution?