Sex With Robots: Something New to Worry About

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Photo: Mimi Haddon/Getty Images

We’re probably a long way out from robot sex seeming normal, but panic around human-robot lovemaking is already running high.

Just look at the current climate: The fact that people (who are into that sort of thing) can order $60,000 sex robots has already spurred a Campaign Against Sex Robots. SoftBank, a Japanese robotics firm that makes a popular “humanoid” named Pepper, is sufficiently concerned about robot sex that Pepper's user agreement requests that buyers “... not perform any sexual act on the robot or engage in other indecent behavior.” And now, Malaysian officials are trying to keep academics from gathering to discuss robot sex.

According to Free Malaysia Today, the country has banned the international Love and Sex With Robots conference from taking place in the country next month, on the grounds that “there is nothing scientific about sex and robots!”

Partly this seems to reflect a misunderstanding. The conference isn't a gathering of people planning to dry-hump metal parts; it's just some open-minded nerds getting together to share papers on interesting topics like  “robot emotions, robot personalities, teledildonics and intelligent electronic sex hardware,” according to the site. Less deviant orgy, more Saturday-night Sci-Fi Club meeting.

Luckily, we have until 2050 — the year some futurists predict robot-human sex will be more common than human-human sex  — to educate others and to learn to accept our Bonebot overlords with open arms and throbbing loins.