What if you could have your very own personal sex slave? And what if this was generally approved of by polite society — since your sex slave was a robot — meaning that this was essentially a victimless crime? If this sounds like a ridiculously absurd ethical and moral conundrum, it might not be.
At least, based on the rate of technological advancement (and the number of articles about this I’m seeing of late), it may be closer to a real-life possibility than to a sci-fi fantasy.
We are to the point where people are seriously wondering whether or not this could catch on. Along those lines, The Daily Beast reports that “one in five U.K.-dwellers would be willing to have sex with robots…”
(I’m guess many of the remaining four in five who said they wouldn’t be willing haven’t fully considered the benefits of being able to design one’s very own sexbot — to his or her exact specifications — which would require no compliments, flowers, jewelry, or even reciprocity…)
If you think the accessibility and ubiquity of online porn is problematic and addictive for men, just imagine what the future may hold. I mean, what if you could just order up a young Angelina Jolie-bot for $1,500 (I’m assuming here these things won’t look like Woody Allen in Sleeper)?
Of course, before the technology arrives (if it does), we might want to consider the potential cultural, spiritual, and moral ramifications. Would this lead to more people delaying or skipping marriage? (Yes.) Would any of us show up to work? (How else could we afford to buy more?!?) Would spouses be jealous? (Of course!) Would it just be a matter of time before the robots would rise up and destroy us? (That’ll happen either way.)
What about people of faith? It’s one thing to advise against extramarital affairs, against prostitution, etc. — but this seems much less messy — which is to say it would be much more seductive and tempting. Heck, this could even be billed as a solution to everything from extramarital affairs to human trafficking. In fact, I would fully expect someone to make that argument.
Keep in mind that, in this scenario, there is also now zero chance of disease (since your robot will be monogamous) or of unwanted pregnancy.
What is more, robots don’t get their feelings hurt — don’t leave angry messages on your answering machine for your wife to discover. And robots are rarely spotted sneaking out of your house by the neighbors. In a word, robots are…discrete.
So here’s the bottom line: The ethical challenges we face today — the moral challenges our children will almost certainly face tomorrow — amount to an avalanche of temptations that could never have been anticipated in past times. We had better think these things through now.