Is Sleeping with a Sexual Robot Deceiving?

Admin 2019-07-05 July

"Honey, I have to talk to you ... I deceived you with a robot." A fiction, you say? This scene vaguely reminiscent of the intimate relationship between Joaquin Phoenix and an artificial intelligence described in Spike Jonze's Her could become a reality. While Japanese gamers fall in love with video game heroines (LovePlus on Nintendo DS) and consumers are seduced by inflatable dolls in the manner of Lars and the real girl, intelligent sex robots that look like two drops of water to a human, are about to knock on the door of our homes.

The sex robot has all of a sex toy

If we have sex with robot sex dolls and if they can talk like in Westworld, will we still see them as mere objects? Will an adultery be accused of a married man in full swing with an intelligent sex doll? First of all, Véronique Margron, a theologian and ethics specialist, must define this notion. "We do not love each other to be faithful, we are faithful because this fidelity serves our love". They are more than a pleasure doll.

"Unfaithfulness puts at stake the betrayal of a given word," insists the author of Fidelity-infidelity (Editions du Cerf). She breaks a contract of trust. Masturbatory fantasies - and thus the sex robot - do not have much to do with all that. "A fantasy is often of the order of the involuntary, it escapes the person," said Margron. The inflatable sex doll, intelligent or not, has all of an improved sex toy on which we project the affect. A good handjob, nothing more.

And Laurence Devillers, professor-researcher at the Laboratory of Computer Science for Mechanics and Engineering Sciences of the CNRS and author of robots and men: myths, fantasies and reality (Plon), seems of the same opinion. "To be in love with a robot is to be in love with an object. The machine responds to a one-sided need of a person who is struggling to build relationships with others. In the relationship, what is interesting is reciprocity. Sexuality is marked by enjoyment and frustration.

real doll sex robot

A relationship of dependence

The love life is more human if it takes place in a relationship of otherness. "A sexual relationship with a robot would be closer to the most fleeting relationship possible with a prostitute or with someone whose only object you use," concludes Véronique Margron. Because the robot will always remain a machine. Fetishism, the strong attachment for a thing, does not date from today. Some adore adoration for stilettos, for example. From there to talk about love, there is a step.

The fact that the robot looks like a human, that it is moving, generates empathy, in the manner of the humanoid robot Atlas, presented by Boston Dynamics in 2016, able to walk in the snow, to get up after a fall, to adapt to new situations.

"At the end of the video, he enters a garage and someone pushes him with a stick to make it fall, it shocked people," remembers Laurence Devillers. "It is projected that he is suffering, but he is not suffering. The fact that the object is moving generates even more empathy, "says the researcher. The more they look like us, the more this phenomenon should be accentuated, but the humanoids have no interiority, they do not feel more pain than a doll dismembered by a little girl. At best, they simulate suffering.

"An infidelity to your own humanity"

And if we fall in love anyway? Let's not forget that many Japanese claim to like video game characters or inflatable Japanese real dolls. The robot is "a double that responds to what we want. More than love, it's addiction, "says Laurence Devillers, a specialist in human-machine interactions. But, casually, addiction can be a deception if the other feels sidelined. "To leave the loved one with whom you have decided to make the heart of your life is a form of infidelity," confirms Véronique Margron. For the theologian, to imagine falling in love with a robot is "infinitely poor".

Today, technology is not advanced enough to replicate the complexity of human discussion. It is very far, but by 2050, everything can change. Artificial intelligences will be able to make illusion, predicts David Levy, author of Sex and love with robots. We will no longer make the difference between an intelligent robot and a human mind, even physically.

To sleep with a machine that looks like us, that interacts like us and develops feelings of love for her, it starts to smell bad adultery, right? "It's an infidelity to your own humanity," notes Margron. But for now, all this remains science fiction.

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