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Sex robots are on the rise — but are they beneficial to society?

Sex robots are on the rise. They create the experience of being with a real human. A standard sex robot starts around $6,000. (Image source: Ethan Miller)

What is a sex robot?

Sex robots are anatomically correct hyperrealistic dolls that mimic human movements to create the experience of being with a real human. Some have extra features, such as built-in heaters to simulate body warmth, sensors that react to touch, and the ability to speak, give specific voice-activated responses, smile, and even sing.

How much do they cost?

A standard sex robot starts around $6,000, and can range up to $12,000 or more, depending on extra features added. Robots that are custom made to a client's specifications can be even more expensive. Harmony, one prototype set to release later this year, already has a set price of $15,000. The first AI sex robot was made a few years ago, and due to popularity, more technology companies are investing in the specialized robot industry.

What the experts are saying

● "With AI particularly, one of the things we realize in psychology is that sometimes just because we can do something doesn't mean we should do it and I think sex dolls are a perfect example. We're objectifying women, but worse than that, we're commercializing them — becoming consumers of women's bodies in this way." — British psychologist Emma Kenney

● “If we are talking about individuals who are not only disabled but have been traumatized, in some ways this could be a beneficial instrument, if you will, to help them in their [sexual] healing process... You have to strike a balance between lack of regulation – so we have all different uses and personifications of children and women as sexual objects – or you have overregulation and you stifle the technology." —Dr Aimee van Wynsberghe, assistant professor in ethics and technology at Delft University of Technology

● "We have already seen rapid changes in human relationships thanks to the internet, mobile devices and social media. The next major advance will enable us to use our technology to have intimate encounters with the technology itself – to fall in love with the technology, to have sex with robots and to marry them." — David Levy, artificial intelligence expert and author of the book "Love and Sex" with Robots

● "Sex with a robot is just a fake imitation. And it can lead to psychopathic disorders and isolation... Sex with robots won’t bring into a person’s life the emotion effect that gives us a true communion. You can eat pseudo-food to still hunger. But over time, it will still end badly.” — Sexologist Lev Shcheglov

A real life experience

One sex robot user, Arran Wright, appeared on the British talk show "This Morning" to explain his typical day-to-day with his sex robot, Samantha. He told the co-hosts that the sex robot often spends time with his wife and kids, who ask for her.

"When I put her in the car, they really enjoy it," Wright said.

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