Banned in Malaysia, an international conference on sex robots will be hosted by Goldsmiths University, and will gather top scientists in the fields of robotics and human-computer interaction.
"I think robots could become our lovers in the future. Does love have to be reciprocated in order to be valid?" said Dr. Kate Devlin, event host, according to the Daily Mirror. She recently authored a paper called "In Defence of Sex Robots."
As technology improves, Devlin believes society must be open to the idea that sex robots could play an important role.
"Our research aims to carve a new narrative, moving away from sex robots purely defined as machines used as sex objects, as substitutes for human partners, made by men, for men," she said. "A machine is a blank slate – it is what we make of it. Why should a sex robot be binary? What about the potential for therapy? It’s time for new approaches to artificial sexuality."
Open to the public, the conference will be held December 19-20.
A similar conference took place in Manchester last month. Called the Human Choice and Computers conference, the event gathered experts in psychology and human behavior.
"Increasingly, we can wear technology to monitor our health or enhance access to information, we engage with social media in a highly personal nature and can even implant technology devices in our bodies to track movement or communicate," Dr. David Kreps wrote in his paper, "Performing the Discourse of Sexuality Online."
"Sex robots are simply another way in which technology is being developed to enhance pleasure."
Others are not convinced. Speaking to Sputnik, Russian sexologist Lev Shcheglov warned of the long-term effects of sex-robot use.
"It could be useful when it comes to wheelchair users or people injured in some tragic incidents. For such people, a real romantic encounter and sexual contact is unlikely, that is why sex with a robot could be good for them," he suggested.
"But for the great mass of normal people, it won’t be good. 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 emotional effect that gives us a true communion."
"You can eat pseudo-food to still hunger, but over time it will still end badly," he remarked. "After all, the body won’t get the substances that are present in the natural products. And in this case – the emotions that shape and bring sense to our life, make it unique, different from others."