Experts concerned that despite new 'family mode,' having a sex robot in your home is damaging to children

Yahoo Lifestyle
Robots in a lab of a doll factory of EX Doll, a firm based in Dalian, China, Feb. 1, 2018. (Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)
Robots in a lab of a doll factory of EX Doll, a firm based in Dalian, China, Feb. 1, 2018. (Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

It seems like common sense that you should keep your sex dolls and your family life separate, but the year is 2018, and the world is full of horrors.

Samantha, a sex robot whose personality is run by artificial intelligence that reacts to a person’s touch and voice, and can even say no if she’s not in the mood, went on sale in the U.K. last September.

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She even comes with a “family mode,” in which she tones down her more suggestive lines. Instead of asking you to get more sensual, Samantha can talk about animals, philosophy, or science, and is programmed with 1,000 jokes.

One sex robot owner, and a co-founder of the company that makes the robots, Synthea Amatus, appeared on the British TV show This Morning with Samantha. Arran Lee Wright, 36, caused a few viewers to raise their eyebrows when he told the hosts that he lets his kids play with the robot.

Wright has 3- and 5-year-old children, and his wife does not seem bothered by the inclusion of Samantha in the household. She said, “I am not worried she will replace me. She is just someone there like a family member.”

But is having a sex robot, albeit a “family friendly” one, healthy in a household where young, impressionable children are growing and learning? You’re probably saying, “Obviously not!” and you’re correct, according to Kathleen Richardson, who is a professor of ethics and culture of robots and AI at De Montfort University, and founder of the Campaign Against Sex Robots.

“Children will imitate machines if brought up by them,” Richardson is quoted by NewStatesman as saying at the For the State of the Future conference in London on June 29. “A daughter is going to grow up and think maybe this happened because Mummy wasn’t beautiful enough — am I? They’ll learn that women only have certain uses. Then they start to use that as a template for how they interact intimately with others — this is profoundly damaging.”

While these dolls may help disabled, lonely, or elderly men, some experts warn that the use of them could desensitize people to the sexual exploitation of real humans.

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