New Documentary Sees Darker Side Of Sex Robots

There's been a lot in the media lately surrounding sex robots; with some arguing they're set to completely transform the way people view sex and relationships while others are more concerned with the dangers of human-robot relationships and what it could mean for us as a species.

A new documentary on BBC Three Sex Robots and Us explores the world of...well, sex robots, the clue is in the title, really.

Presenter James Young sets off to find out more about the rise of the sex robots, but while doing so he stumbles across an even darker-side, which leaves him visibly upset, when he finds a factory in Japan making 'very young looking dolls'.

Credit: BBC
Credit: BBC

James told LADbible: "It was shocking to see the 'child-sized' sex dolls. I did get quite emotional. I was trying to talk to the factory owner about the dolls, but my mind was just busy trying to process it all.

"The owner explained to me that it was a cultural thing. He says this type of doll is seen as cute. He told me that the doll didn't have an 'age', so it was up to whoever bought it to project a 'human age' on to it.

"There are no limits on what can be made in these factories, which is a concern."

And it's not just the child-sized dolls that are a concern. James continues: "I think I was also a little bit surprised by my reaction. I was upset over seeing these child-form dolls but not the women ones, when really, the implications are the same - objectifying women like that could lead to a change of attitude towards women in the real world."

Aside from the objectification of females - because the dolls he finds are exclusively female - James also thinks there could potentially be a bigger impact on society if people shun social interaction and instead opt for one of these 'one-sided relationships' with a robot.

"The danger is that people can just get into these 'relationships' and they're missing out on so much," he says.

"One of the best things about meeting someone new is finding out about and getting to know them; even with a hi-tech robot, you're just not going to get that."

Noel Sharkey, from the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, echoes James' thoughts, saying: "We're just doing all this stuff with machines because we can, and not really thinking how this could change humanity completely.

"Some people have suggested that sex robots create an attitude of 'too-easy' sex which is always available. This could take meaning out of our lives and turn us into zombies."

Although, James says that until the big backers get involved the idea of a full-on-robot-girlfriend is very distant; we're not talking about super advanced AI partners here just yet. For the most part, they're sex dolls fitted with an Alexa-style operating system. But if the idea of robot lovers becomes more mainstream there's a fair chance that tech-giants will be tempted to put their money into it.

If you're now thinking that might never happen, then you might want to think again, because in the not-so-distant future, the idea of rushing out to buy a sex doll could become more socially acceptable.

Credit: BBC
Credit: BBC

James reckons that one of the weirdest things about filming the documentary - and we can imagine there were a lot of them - was how accepting the general public is with the idea of these sex dolls.

"When we were out filming, people would come up and ask what we were doing," he explains. "And when we'd say 'oh we're filming a documentary about sex robots' everyone wanted to talk about it. Everyone was really interested in it."

So, while the tech might not be up to scratch just yet, we could be looking at human-robot relationships sooner than you think, whether that's a good thing or not, you guys make up your own minds.

Sex Robots and Us is available now on BBC Three via BBC iPlayer and YouTube

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

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