Free uncencored sexbots
Carving a new narrative Richardson does not relish this prospect and to an extent I agree with her misgivings; it is a narrative that should be challenged.
I absolutely agree that to do so would require, as Richardson states in her recent paper: "a discussion about the ethics of gender and sex in robotics". In the gendering of robots, and the sexualised personification of machines, digital sexual identity is too often presumed, but to date little-considered.
Yes, society has enough problems with gender stereotypes, entrenched sexism and sexual objectification.
But actual opposition to developing sexual robots that aims for an outright ban?
The relationship between humans and their artificial counterparts runs right back to the myths of ancient Greece, where sculptor Pygmalion's statue was brought to life with a kiss.
The campaign, led by academics Kathleen Richardson and Erik Billing, argues that the development of sex robots should be stopped because it reinforces or reproduces existing inequalities.That seems shortsighted, even – pardon the pun – undesirable.Existing research into sex and robots generally centres on a superficial exploration of human attachment, popularised by films such as Her and Ex Machina: a male-dominated, male-gaze approach of machine-as-sex-machine, often without consideration of gender parity.The feminist thinker Donna Haraway's renowned A Cyborg Manifesto laid the modern groundwork for seriously considering a post-gendered world where distinction between natural and artificial life is blurred.
Written in 1991, it is prescient in terms of thinking about artificial sexuality.
But just as we should avoid importing existing gender and sexual biases into future technology, so we should also be cautious not to import established prudishness.