From Sex Robots to Love Robots: Is Mutual Love with a Robot Possible?

In John Danaher & Neil McArthur (eds.), Robot Sex: Social Implications and Ethical. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (forthcoming)
Authors
Lily Frank
Eindhoven University of Technology
Sven Nyholm
Eindhoven University of Technology
Abstract
Some critics of sex-robots worry that their use might spread objectifying attitudes about sex, and common sense places a higher value on sex within love-relationships than on casual sex. If there could be mutual love between humans and sex-robots, this could help to ease the worries about objectifying attitudes. And mutual love between humans and sex-robots, if possible, could also help to make this sex more valuable. But is mutual love between humans and robots possible, or even conceivable? We discuss three clusters of ideas and associations commonly discussed within the philosophy of love, and relate these to the topic of whether mutual love could be achieved between humans and sex-robots: (i) the idea of love as a “good match”; (ii) the idea of valuing each other in our distinctive particularity; and (iii) the idea of a steadfast commitment. We consider relations among these ideas and the sort of agency and free will that we attribute to human romantic partners. Our conclusion is that mutual love between humans and advanced sex-robots is not an altogether impossible proposition. However, it is unlikely that we will be able to create robots sophisticated enough to be able to participate in love-relationships anytime soon.
Keywords Love  Sex  Robots  Free will  Commitment
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