The $30 billion sex tech industry is reportedly ready to unveil a robot wired for intimate human relations, but two researchers say the sexbot might not be a healthy choice.
In a report published Monday in the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health, Chantal Cox-George, a doctor at St. George’s University Hospitals in Britain, and Susan Bewley, an obstetrician at King’s College London, say there is no evidence to back up suggestions sex robots are a way to promote safe sex or used as therapies for people with companionship problems.
“We advise that sexbots shouldn’t be used in medical practice, at least not unless that forms part of robust and ethical research,” said Cox-George, according to The Washington Post.
Sex robot manufacturers have engaged in “massive marketing” that claim benefits to those who struggle to make human connections — but they are on shaking ground, Sharkey said.
“A lot of experts are saying it would not help with social isolation and might even make them more socially isolated,” Sharkey said, the Post reported, adding he knew of at least one case in which a man left his wife and kids for a sex doll.
Sex robots have also been suggested as companions for the elderly or people with disabilities — an idea the researchers see both as patronizing, and as an argument “for a ‘lesser’ sexual experience when most people with disabilities can form mutually satisfying relationships.”
Given the lack of data, Cox-George and Bewley conclude medical professionals should apply what is known as the precautionary principle: “There is a social responsibility to protect the public from harm, unless findings emerge to show no harm,” Cox-George said.
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