Ethicist calls for ban on sex robots

The smoldering sex robot debate is about to get a whole lot hotter, and according to the BBC, it now includes very vocal social backlash pertaining to the human use of robots for sex.

Leading the backlash is robot ethicist Kathleen Richardson and the Campaign Against Sex Robots. The organization wants a ban on the development of sex robots and argues on its website that they, “Are harmful and contribute to inequalities in society. We believe that an organized approach against the development of sex robots is necessary in response the numerous articles and campaigns that now promote their development without critically examining their detrimental effect on society." The organization added that "as humanoid robots become more widespread it is necessary to develop an engaged ethical response to the development of these new technologies.”

Related: No sex of any kind for Pepper the robot, say creators

In the opposing corner is Douglas Hines, Chief Executive of  True Companion, a company  that is currently developing a sex robot called Roxxxy. According to Hines, Roxxxy is designed to be used as more of an intimate companion than a tool for manipulation, but at $7,000, Roxxxy is no cheap date.

Hines told the BBC, "We are not supplanting the wife or trying to replace a girlfriend. This is a solution for people who are between relationships or someone who has lost a spouse. People can find happiness and fulfillment other than via human interaction."

The issue is gaining traction. SoftBank, the Japanese designer of Pepper the Robot, has released detailed instructions for proper handling and interaction with Pepper. And, loosely translated, the wording included the following rule: no sex.