Do you touch couches inappropriately? Have you molested a footstool? Do you say shameful things to blenders?

You probably told your stove it was hot, you animal.

Well, a couple of university intellectuals wanna liberate you from your wiley ways by training you to always ask for consent from inanimate objects — or at least inorganic ones. In fact, if you master respect for the mechanical, you just might incorporate it into liaisons with the living.

Meet Pim Haselager and Anco Peeters.

Dr. Pim is an associate professor at Radboud University’s Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behavior in Nijmegan, Netherlands. Anco was a research assistant at Radboud and is currently a PhD student at Australia’s University of Wollongong.

The two fans of “virtue ethics” have teamed up to create an 11-page treatise on sex robots and their use in building a better world.

As the piece — published in the International Journal of Social Robotics — states, “We propose that virtue ethics can be used to address ethical issues central to discussions about sex robots. In particular, we argue virtue ethics is well equipped to focus on the implications of sex robots for human moral character.”

Their “evaluation develops in four steps”:

  • [W]e present virtue ethics as a suitable framework for the evaluation of human–robot relationships.
  • [W]e show the advantages of our virtue ethical account of sex robots by comparing it to current instrumentalist approaches, showing how the former better captures the reciprocal interaction between robots and their users.
  • [W]e examine how a virtue ethical analysis of intimate human–robot relationships could inspire the design of robots that support the cultivation of virtues. We suggest that a sex robot which is equipped with a consent-module could support the cultivation of compassion when used in supervised, therapeutic scenarios.
  • [W]e discuss the ethical implications of our analysis for user autonomy and responsibility.

How might it assist in the “cultivation of virtue”?

Well, like this:

One way of preventing unwanted behavioural patterns is by providing sex robots with a module that can initiate a consent scenario. Like consenting humans, a robot and its human partner will have to communicate carefully about the kind of interaction that will take place and the human will be confronted by the subject-like appearance and the behaviour of the robot. And like in a relationship between humans, this communication could potentially result in the robot sometimes not consenting and terminating the interaction. Such interaction with a robot might prevent the practice of unidirectional behavioural habits and a resulting increased objectification of other humans.

So imagine it: There you are — so pitiful, you need a robot in order to get lucky. Then you make your move, give it your best shot, but she’s not in the mood.

“Not tonight, I have a core processorache.”

You get shot down by a gadget. One that was solely made to have sex.

But look on the bright side — it’ll teach you to mind your manners with your end table.

And let’s just pretend you don’t even own a vacuum.

Back to your cold fish of a sex machine, the authors say she’s on her way. Or he.

In fact, they’re trusting AI expert and author David Levy, who believes a human will marry a robot by 2050.

From the report:

For the present discussion, we will assume that the physical aspects of these robots can be worked out more or less along the lines which Levy describes. Interestingly, Levy goes so far as to say that “robot sex could become better for many people than sex with humans, as robots surpass human sexual technique and become capable of satisfying everyone’s sexual needs.”

Pim and Anco conclude their piece thusly:

The implications of developing love and sex robots are potentially huge and we have striven to tentatively chart one path, a virtue theoretical approach, within this domain. … We suggest that there is the possibility, worthy to be investigated, that some changes might be for the good. When we realize that the way we design and use such robots is bound to affect us, we can think about ways of improving ourselves through the technology, by careful consideration and monitoring.

So there ya go. Love and robots — it’s coming.

But sex? You’ll have to ask.

-ALEX

 

See 3 more pieces from me:

Woman’s Boyfriend Shoots Her In The Head, But She Forgets For Almost Two Months So They Keep Dating

Man Gets Harassed And Accused Of Shoplifting Over The Suspicious Bulge In His Pants. He Keeps Insisting It’s His Penis

How Far Would You Go For A Lost Love? Here’s An Incredible Story About A Family And Their Commitment To Never Give Up

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below.