Is sex with a ro­bot a form of cheat­ing?

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - Chelsea Whyte

As­tudy ex­plor­ing the morals of sex ro­bots has found that peo­ple tend to be OK with the idea of a sin­gle per­son pay­ing to use a sex ro­bot, but less so if some­one is in a re­la­tion­ship.

That is ac­cord­ing to Mika Koverola at the Univer­sity of Helsinki in Fin­land, who asked more than 300 peo­ple to judge the moral char­ac­ter and ac­tions of peo­ple in a fu­tur­is­tic sce­nario.

The story was set in the year 2035, in which a per­son, ei­ther male or fe­male, sin­gle or mar­ried, de­cided to visit a brothel. De­pend­ing on the sce­nario a sign read ei­ther “You can­not tell our ro­bots from real hu­mans” or “All our work­ers are real hu­mans”.

Par­tic­i­pants were asked to judge the ac­tions of the char­ac­ter on a scale of 1 to 7. They were sig­nif­i­cantly more likely to con­demn a mar­ried per­son than a sin­gle per­son who vis­ited the brothel.

The re­searchers also asked study par­tici-

CHEAT CODE: pants about their per­sonal sex­ual his­tory, and found those who self-re­ported hav­ing more sex­ual part­ners were more per­mis­sive to­wards the idea of vis­it­ing a brothel, re­gard­less of the na­ture of the sex worker. Women more harshly con­demned the char­ac­ters than men.

“Re­la­tion­ships seem to drive how peo­ple morally judge the use of sex ro­bots,” says Thomas Arnold at Tufts Univer­sity in Med­ford, Mas­sachusetts. “The more you start think­ing about it as some­thing that could com­pete against or in­ter­fere with your re­la­tion­ships, that seems to be what peo­ple morally ob­ject to.”

Sex ro­bots aren’t likely to look or act like a hu­man any time soon, but plans for ro­bot broth­els are al­ready in the works. In Texas, a pro­posed ro­bot brothel was blocked from open­ing by the lo­cal coun­cil. A sim­i­lar fa­cil­ity is planned in Cal­i­for­nia.

At­ti­tudes to­wards sex ro­bots may vary be­tween cul­tures, and the team plans to look at those dif­fer­ences, says Koverola.

Getty Im­ages

Peo­ple are more okay with a sin­gle per­son vis­it­ing a ro­bot brothel than some­one who is mar­ried

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