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

In John Danaher & Neil McArthur (eds.), Robot Sex: Social and Ethical Implications. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. pp. 219-244 (2017)
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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.



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Author Profiles

Lily Frank
Eindhoven University of Technology
Sven Nyholm
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München

Citations of this work

Welcoming Robots into the Moral Circle: A Defence of Ethical Behaviourism.John Danaher - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2023-2049.
Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.Vincent C. Müller - 2020 - In Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Palo Alto, Cal.: CSLI, Stanford University. pp. 1-70.
The Quantified Relationship.John Danaher, Sven Nyholm & Brian D. Earp - 2018 - American Journal of Bioethics 18 (2):3-19.
Experimental Philosophy of Technology.Steven R. Kraaijeveld - 2021 - Philosophy and Technology 34:993-1012.

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