Medical Law Review 27 (4):553-575 (2019)

John Danaher
University College, Galway
In July 2014, the roboticist Ronald Arkin suggested that child sex robots could be used to treat those with paedophilic predilections in the same way that methadone is used to treat heroin addicts. Taking this onboard, it would seem that there is reason to experiment with the regulation of this technology. But most people seem to disagree with this idea, with legal authorities in both the UK and US taking steps to outlaw such devices. In this paper, I subject these different regulatory attitudes to critical scrutiny. In doing so, I make three main contributions to the debate. First, I present a framework for thinking about the regulatory options that we confront when dealing with child sex robots. Second, I argue that there is a prima facie case for restrictive regulation, but that this is contingent on whether Arkin’s hypothesis has a reasonable prospect of being successfully tested. Third, I argue that Arkin’s hypothesis probably does not have a reasonable prospect of being successfully tested. Consequently, we should proceed with utmost caution when it comes to this technology.
Keywords Sex  Ethics  Technology  Sexual Abuse  Robots  Child Sexual Abuse  Law  Regulation
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References found in this work BETA

Robots, Rape, and Representation.Robert Sparrow - 2017 - International Journal of Social Robotics 9 (4):465-477.
Pornography, Ethics, and Video Games.Stephanie L. Patridge - 2013 - Ethics and Information Technology 15 (1):25-34.
The Incorrigible Social Meaning of Video Game Imagery.Stephanie Patridge - 2010 - Ethics and Information Technology 13 (4):303-312.
Should We Be Thinking About Sex Robots?John Danaher - 2017 - In John Danaher & Neil McArthur (eds.), Robot Sex: Social Implications and Ethical. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Making Sense of the Knobe-Effect.István Zárdai - 2022 - Journal of Applied Ethics and Philosophy 13:11-20.

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The Making and Molding of Child Abuse.Ian Hacking - 1991 - Critical Inquiry 17 (2):253-288.


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