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Does your dildo have a soul? Probably but, as sex toys and in particular sex dolls take on more and more human features, moral and ethical philosophers (and soon liberals who voted for Bernie Sanders and now have no cause to fight for) are starting to ask questions about whether the way we think about them should change. Kent Law School Professor Robin Mackenzie specializes in areas such as robotics and the ethical and legal relations between humans and robots. She said recently: “Sex, law and ethics will never be the same. Sooner than we think, technologists will create sentient, self-aware sex robots, capable of emotional/sexual intimacy.” She added: “Humans having sex with other humans who are unable to consent to sex, like children and adults lacking decision-making capacity, is seen as unlawful and unethical. So is human/animal sex. Such groups are recognised as sentient beings who cannot consent to sex with interests in need of protection. Sentient, self-aware sex robots created to engage in emotional/sexual intimacy with humans disrupt this tidy model. They are not humans, though they will look like us, feel like us to touch and act as our intimate and sexual partners. While they will be manufactured, potentially from biological components, their sentience, self-awareness and capacity for relationships with humans mean that they cannot simply be categorised as things or animals.”

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Maybe that means something and mabye it doesn’t, but at least we have to ask the questions, says Robin. “Ethicists, lawmakers and manufacturers treat robots as things, but future sex robots are more than things. Robotic animated sex-dolls, able to simulate human appearance, assume sexual positions and mimic human conversation and emotions are on sale now. These are things, neither sentient nor self-aware, incapable of relationships or intimacy, as described in the Foundation for Responsible Robotics report just released.” That report, called ‘Our Sexual Future with Robots’ by the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, looked at some of the same issues, including rape and sex robots. The report stated: “On the one hand, if a sex robot is designed to resist sexual advances such that their use constitutes a simulated act of rape, then building them puts the user in relationship with the act of raping a woman. It exhorts and endorses rape. On the other hand, building a robot that is passive or elicits sex is ethically problematic for what it communicates to the broader public about women’s sexuality.”

And all you wanted to do was bust a nut in a soft, warm and wet spot without buyer dinner or having to cuddle after.


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