Usually they're made by straight men, for straight men. So they're being prototyped as this very reductive stereotype of a woman - very Barbie-like pornified, hyper-sexual dolls - and I think that's really limiting, because we can do much better than that. We really suck at making human-like robots, and we're not very good at accepting them as human-like either. We need to rethink the whole space altogether, and think 'how can technology improve our relationships, how can it give us pleasure and intimacy, either on our own or with someone else?' That's the exciting future of sex robots.
Computer scientist Kate Devlin explores the human questions raised by sex with robots - as an industry on the bleeding edge of AI and robotics tech, and an endeavor that will challenge and redefine society's values around pleasure, intimacy, and ultimately, our relationship with machines.
Kate is author of the book Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots from Bloomsbury.