SexBots Programed to Simulate Being Raped Could Encourage More Real Rapes

The top headline in today’s Drudge Report is ‘ROBOT RAPE,” and it links to a new study warning that sex robots [ sexbots ], now available for sale to anyone over the Internet, can be programmed to simulate being raped, and how many argue that this will lead to even more real rapes.

Sexbots
By Ed Emshwiller [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The study also notes that very realistic and lifelike sexbots can also now be made to appear like young children, raising the concern that their sale to pedophiles, as well as to potential perverts, could encourage increased sexual assaults on tots, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

The study reports that sexbots are already popular in traditional brothels, where men may pay over $100 for the opportunity to engage in various sexual activities with them, and that cyber brothels featuring only robotic sex partners are opening around the world, including in New York City.

The article explains how Banzhaf, while recognizing that these dire predictions might or might not be correct, is nevertheless warning that government officials should at the very least study the possibility that the ready availability of these new and improved sexbots could lead to child molestation and rape.

If so, he suggests that there might be measures that government could take: e.g., prohibiting their sale to minors, prohibiting sexbot brothels, etc.

As he noted, “If these sexbots do pose significant risks to women and/or to young children, but no action is taken now, it may be too late if we wait until millions are already in the hands of actual or potential rapists, actual or potential child molesters, etc.”

As the article notes: “Banzhaf posits that Congress should investigate the risks and consequences that the unregulated sale of sexbots poses by examining the opinions of experts and holding hearings on the issue. Possible regulations include restricting sale of sexbots to law-abiding citizens 18 years or older, or attaching warnings about the potential consequences of use.”

Regarding the idea of deliberately programming lifelike and responsible robots to act as if they were being raped, a New York Times op-ed noted: “we should no more be encouraging rapists to find a supposedly safe outlet for it than we should facilitate murderers by giving them realistic, blood-spurting dummies to stab…to make such a solution available is to risk normalizing rape by giving it a publicly acceptable face.”

It presumably would be constitutional for legislators to ban sexbot brothels, or even the sale and promotion of the sexbots themselves. After all, an Alabama court upheld a law which made it a crime to distribute “any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for anything of pecuniary value.” Sexbots are simply sex toys on steroids, argues Banzhaf.

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