The bottom half of a robotic face, featuring nose and mouth in blue lighting

Sex Robots are Here, But Can the Law Keep Up The With Ethics and Privacy Issues?

The robots are here. Are the “sexbots” close behind?

From the Drudge Report to The New York Times, sex robots are rapidly becoming a part of the national conversation about the future of sex and relationships. Behind the headlines, a number of companies are currently developing robots designed to provide humans with companionship and sexual pleasure – with a few already on the market.

Unlike sex toys and dolls, which are typically sold in off-the-radar shops and hidden in closets, sexbots may become mainstream. A 2017 survey suggested almost half of Americans think that having sex with robots will become a common practice within 50 years.

As a scholar of artificial intelligence, neuroscience and the law, I’m interested in the legal and policy questions that sex robots pose. How do we ensure they are safe? How will intimacy with a sex robot affect the human brain? Would sex with a childlike robot be ethical? And what exactly is a sexbot anyway?

This post originally appeared at The Conversation. Read the rest of it there! 

Francis X. Shen

Francis X. Shen

Professor Shen is Associate Professor of Law and McKnight Land-Grant Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, where he joined the faculty as an associate professor in 2012. In fall 2017, Francis X. Shen became the third Senior Fellow in Law and Neuroscience at the Project on Law and Applied Neuroscience, a collaboration between the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Petrie-Flom Center. He was previously a Visiting Scholar at the Center in spring 2015.

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