On 24 October 2020 the article „Love Dolls and Sex Robots in Unproven and Unexplored Fields of Application“ by Oliver Bendel was published in Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics. From the Abstract: „Love dolls, the successors of blow-up dolls, are widespread. They can be ordered online or bought in sex shops and can be found in brothels and households. Sex robots are also on the rise. Research, however, has been slow to address this topic thoroughly. Often, it does not differentiate between users and areas of application, remaining vague, especially in the humanities and social sciences. The present contribution deals with the idea and history of love dolls and sex robots. Against this background, it identifies areas of application that have not been investigated or have hardly been investigated at all. These include prisons, the military, monasteries and seminaries, science, art and design as well as the gamer scene. There is, at least, some relevant research about the application of these artefacts in nursing and retirement homes and as such, these will be given priority. The use of love dolls and sex robots in all these fields is outlined, special features are discussed, and initial ethical, legal and pragmatic considerations are made. It becomes clear that artificial love servants can create added value, but that their use must be carefully considered and prepared. In some cases, their use may even be counterproductive.“ The article is available here for free as an open access publication.
The paper „Care Robots with Sexual Assistance Functions“ by Oliver Bendel was accepted at the AAAI 2020 Spring Symposia. From the abstract: „Residents in retirement and nursing homes have sexual needs just like other people. However, the semi-public situation makes it difficult for them to satisfy these existential concerns. In addition, they may not be able to meet a suitable partner or find it difficult to have a relationship for mental or physical reasons. People who live or are cared for at home can also be affected by this problem. Perhaps they can host someone more easily and discreetly than the residents of a health facility, but some elderly and disabled people may be restricted in some ways. This article examines the opportunities and risks that arise with regard to care robots with sexual assistance functions. First of all, it deals with sexual well-being. Then it presents robotic systems ranging from sex robots to care robots. Finally, the focus is on care robots, with the author exploring technical and design issues. A brief ethical discussion completes the article. The result is that care robots with sexual assistance functions could be an enrichment of the everyday life of people in need of care, but that we also have to consider some technical, design and moral aspects.“ The paper had been submitted to the symposium „Applied AI in Healthcare: Safety, Community, and the Environment“. Oliver Bendel will present the paper at Stanford University between 23 and 25 March 2020.
Fig.: Should care robots have sexual assistance functions?
The „4th International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots“ will be held at the University of Montana, Missoula, in the United States on 6-7 December 2018. In 2016 and 2017, the scientists met in London to discuss this topic. Matt McMullen will be the keynote speaker this year. He is CEO of Realbotix, „is the artist and design director for the company, and brought the core Realbotix team together“. „He started Abyss Creations, the manufacturer of Realdoll, out of his garage in 1997. For the past 20 years he has been creating ‚The World’s Finest Love Dolls‘, as well as undertaking multiple custom projects along the way. McMullen’s dolls have popped up on more than 20 television shows and also co-starred in 10 films. Now, he focuses on integrating cutting edge technology with silicone doll artistry and believes that AI driven robots can become companions and partners to human beings, and can connect with us in ways that are often overlooked when considering these technologies.“ (Website LSR 2018) Further information is available via loveandsexwithrobots.org.
Fig.: Love dolls are becoming more and more human-like