So I found out some people were trying to ban sex robots from being developed. I wrote about that yesterday and talked about if such things were indeed undesirable and unnecessary. Which, it turns out that they are both desirable and potentially necessary. Now I wanna look at how they’re justifying their anti-robot sentiments.
From their About Page:
Over the last decades, an increasing effort from both academia and industry has gone into the development of sex robots – that is, machines in the form of women or children for use as sex objects, substitutes for human partners or prostitutes. The Campaign Against Sex Robots highlights that these kinds of robots 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. As humanoid robots become more widespread it is necessary to develop an engaged ethical response to the development of these new technologies.
First thing here is I’ve done some research and I have not found any evidence that there is an attempt to make robotic Children, much less robo-kids to be used for sex. So already we’re going into “won’t someone think of the children!” territory when in fact no children real or robotic will be involved.
Also, without these robots even existing yet, they’re already “Harmful” and contribute to “inequalities in society.” Now, they are potentially substitutes for human partners and prostitutes, sure, but this kinda is like arguing that the invention of the cotton gin is going to be harmful because it puts slaves out of a job. Technically true, but hardly a good argument against the coming mechanical existence.
Now, before I get into their bullet points, I want to post this part first.
We believe in the benefits of robots and technologies to our society and human cultures, but want to ensure that robotics develops ethically and that we do not reproduce inequalities with their development that could further reinforce disturbing human lived experiences.
We are not proposing to extend rights to robots. We do not see robots as conscious entities. We propose instead that robots are a product of human consciousness and creativity and human power relationships are reflected in the production, design and proposed uses of these robots. As a result, we oppose any efforts to develop robots that will contribute to gender inequalities in society.
See, I can’t help but feel there’s something wrong here, especually given some of the language used in other areas to argue against it. Here, this group clearly states that robots are not humans, they do not see robots as humans, and they do not want rights given to robots. But they want to be ethical about robotic development.
And then they say something like this:
The vision for sex robots is underscored by reference to prostitute-john exchange which relies on recognizing only the needs and wants of the buyers of sex, the sellers of sex are not attributed subjectivity and reduced to a thing (just like the robot).
Ignoring for a moment how badly mangled that sentence is (where did they learn grammar?), the basic validation for banning sex capable robots is that it is the same exploitation as prostitution, with only the needs and wants of the buyer being recognized but no the wants/needs of the producer. But in this case the producer is a robot who may not have any needs/wants of their own. And even if they did, in their own ethics page this Campain Against Sex Robots already states they do not see robots as people in any way.
Their argument is basically, I should not have a computer because only the desires of the operator are taken into account. But that logic can be used towards cars, tvs, hell, even toasters! “No toasters for you because that is is prostitution of bread and machinery!!!!!”
We believe the development of sex robots further objectifies women and children.
There’s a big obsession with children by CASR. Especially since there is still no push at all to create robotic children for any reason, much less sexual. Also, this idea that robots who look like women would further objectify women seems a weak argument to me. But then I’m one of those old fashioned assholes who doesn’t think statues of women objectifies women.*
The development of sex robots and the ideas to support their production show the immense horrors still present in the world of prostitution which is built on the “perceived” inferiority of women and children and therefore justifies their uses as sex objects.
Prostitution is so horrific we’re building robots to replace the women…and that’s horrible because we’re objectifying women and replacing them with robots? I’m presuming Dr. Richardson has had something to do with writing this, but I don’t know any philosophy or ethics program worth its salt that would allow this kind of logic in a Doctor.
Also, prostitution is not built on the “perceived” inferiority of women (or children, geez are we sure these folks are pedos?) which justifies their use as sex objects. Prostitution is based on the inherent value of sex and the act of women and men to commercialize it. If women were “inferior” and that’s why there was prostitution, prostitutes would not run up to six figures a night. You don’t pay that much for an inferior product.
We propose that the development of sex robots will further reduce human empathy that can only be developed by an experience of mutual relationship.
Yeah, except that most people who would be getting a sex robot are people who generally don’t have “mutual relationships” for various reasons to start with. And I’m not sure about this emphasis on “empathy” that they’re arguing for. Last time I checked, we didn’t have sex robots and humans were a terribly unempathetic bunch. Especially towards the men and women who would be leaning towards getting a sex robot.
We challenge the view that the development of adults and child sex robots will have a positive benefit to society, but instead further reinforce power relations of inequality and violence.
Again, with the child sex robots. Fucking Hel, pedos, pedoes all of them. And if all these “violent” men are off with relationships involving robots, who in the hell are they going to be violent towards? There won’t be any women or children around them to abuse. And it couldn’t enforce power relations, if anything it would destroy the present “destructive” ones. Women and children would be freed of male influence because apparently all of man will run off with robot girls.
We take issue with those arguments that propose that sex robots could help reduce sexual exploitation and violence towards prostituted persons, pointing to all the evidence that shows how technology and the sex trade coexist and reinforce each other creating more demand for human bodies.
Seriously, how will robot bodies create more demand for human bodies? There’s absolutely no logic to this. And yes, technology and the sex trade coexist and reinforce each other, but that has not lead to greater and greater exploitation in all the research I’ve done over the years.
So ultimately, their argument is it is wrong to make sex robots because then they will be exploited like people, but they are in no way people nor should they be regarded as people. Having said robots will mean they are sold to the people who would commit violence against women and children, but despite the fact no women and children will be around they will somehow be exploited even worse than they were before the robots existed.
Philosophically and ethically, the CASR fails on both points. A toaster has no rights and should not be given rights, but somehow in creating the toaster we will lead to greater exploitation of automobiles and ham radios.
You know, if they were arguing that AI gifted robots were sentient beings, I could almost get behind this. I mean, I loved that Star Trek episode where in they argued Data’s humanity. But these people argue the complete opposite of supporting android humanity. They have no problems exploiting robot labor, but the instant sex comes on the table and gives men and women a choice…deny robot humanity and sexuality.
*Although Hel loves how much I objectify her with all the idols I’ve bought for/of her.