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Sex with Robots and the Promises and Perils of New Technologies

In the last several years, humanoid sex dolls have become available, robot brothels have opened, and an abundance of research and development is now underway targeted both to make robots more humanoid and to equip them for intimate behavior.

In order to achieve the goal of achieving robots that can be used for sex, the robots must look more and more like humans. This means less and less transparency with regard to the nature of the entities (robots) with which humans will interact.  In her presentation Deborah G. Johnson zooms in on how this new area of development challenges and weakens the distinction between humans and machines. She discusses how this happens and the negative consequences of weakening the distinction. When journalists write about this new technology, they will influence how it is understood.  They may, intentionally or unintentionally, support the illusion of machines that are human.


Deborah G. Johnson is a professor emerita of technology ethics at the University of Virginia, USA and is soon to publish a new book, Engineering Ethics, Contemporary Debates with Yale University Press.


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Deborah G. Johnson
University of Virginia, USA