If Male Sex Robots Rape Someone, Charge the Programmers, Not the Robots

Apparently, the sex robots are coming, and, well, they’re already here.  Right now, they cost a pretty penny, but don’t worry, technology has a tendency to become cheaper and cheaper as it gets more efficient, so you bargain basement dwellers might soon be able to afford your own sex robot.

With the proliferation of sex robots into the mainstream, new ethical questions are being raised.  One such ethical question is this, what do you do if your sex robot rapes someone?  In typical patriarchal fashion, a professor at the University of Sheffield seems to only attribute this possibility to MALE sex robots, as if females are powerless to rape people.   He’s clearly a misogynistic pig, right?

The professor is Noel Sharkey, who is a professor of “robotics and AI,” meaning the dude plays with robots and gets to teach kids about all the wonders of playing with robots (I’ll let you infer what you will from that statement).

Sharkey has come out and expressed concerns about the possibility of male sex robots one day going on a rape binger, though I may be exaggerating his point just a bit (ok, I’m taking his ACTUAL point and running wild with it, like a male sex robot running wild in a rape frenzy).  His thoughts came out in an interview with the Daily Star

Sharkey isn’t talking bingers so much as he’s talking about the odd one-off incident in which a male sex robot might not pay attention when “his” partner says no.  He says that since sex robots are “inanimate devices run by computer programming,” that the one who should be prosecuted for the rape should be the programmer(s), not the robot.

The robot for his part, can LITERALLY say the devil made him do it, only in this case the devil would be the programmer who couldn’t figure out a way to write safe sex code.

Our robot-playing professor goes on to say that, “…if a male gendered sex robot were to rape a woman…the police would need to hunt down the programmer.”

Notice, again, how the robot-playing prof doesn’t include females in this sentence.  What if a fembot sexbot sexkittenbot hotbot gal were to continue with the thrustings after “her” male partner said no?  Would that not constitute rape?  Would programmers not be held liable for that violation of personhood?

It seems that Sharkey, in his limited view of women, once again, has failed to see how it might be possible that women, even robot women, can do what men can do.  Sigh.  The patriarchy wins again.

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Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at pg@istate.tv