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The Symbolic-Consequences Argument in the Sex Robot Debate

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

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  1. Symbiosis with artificial intelligence via the prism of law, robots, and society.Stamatis Karnouskos - forthcoming - Artificial Intelligence and Law:1-23.
    The rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics will have a profound impact on society as they will interfere with the people and their interactions. Intelligent autonomous robots, independent if they are humanoid/anthropomorphic or not, will have a physical presence, make autonomous decisions, and interact with all stakeholders in the society, in yet unforeseen manners. The symbiosis with such sophisticated robots may lead to a fundamental civilizational shift, with far-reaching effects as philosophical, legal, and societal questions on consciousness, citizenship, rights, (...)
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  • In search of the moral status of AI: why sentience is a strong argument.Martin Gibert & Dominic Martin - 2021 - AI and Society 1:1-12.
    Is it OK to lie to Siri? Is it bad to mistreat a robot for our own pleasure? Under what condition should we grant a moral status to an artificial intelligence system? This paper looks at different arguments for granting moral status to an AI system: the idea of indirect duties, the relational argument, the argument from intelligence, the arguments from life and information, and the argument from sentience. In each but the last case, we find unresolved issues with the (...)
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  • From Machine Ethics to Computational Ethics.Samuel T. Segun - 2021 - AI and Society 36 (1):263-276.
    Research into the ethics of artificial intelligence is often categorized into two subareas—robot ethics and machine ethics. Many of the definitions and classifications of the subject matter of these subfields, as found in the literature, are conflated, which I seek to rectify. In this essay, I infer that using the term ‘machine ethics’ is too broad and glosses over issues that the term computational ethics best describes. I show that the subject of inquiry of computational ethics is of great value (...)
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  • Building Better Sex Robots: Lessons From Feminist Pornography.John Danaher - forthcoming - In Yuefang Zhou & Martin Fischer (eds.), AI Love You- Developments on Human-Robot Intimate Relations. Dordrecht: Springer.
    How should we react to the development of sexbot technology? Taking their cue from anti-porn feminism, several academic critics lament the development of sexbot technology, arguing that it objectifies and subordinates women, is likely to promote misogynistic attitudes toward sex, and may need to be banned or restricted. In this chapter I argue for an alternative response. Taking my cue from the sex positive ‘feminist porn’ movement, I argue that the best response to the development of ‘bad’ sexbots is to (...)
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  • The Quantified Relationship.John Danaher, Sven Nyholm & Brian D. Earp - 2018 - American Journal of Bioethics 18 (2):3-19.
    The growth of self-tracking and personal surveillance has given rise to the Quantified Self movement. Members of this movement seek to enhance their personal well-being, productivity, and self-actualization through the tracking and gamification of personal data. The technologies that make this possible can also track and gamify aspects of our interpersonal, romantic relationships. Several authors have begun to challenge the ethical and normative implications of this development. In this article, we build upon this work to provide a detailed ethical analysis (...)
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  • Sex Robots and Views From Nowhere: A Commentary on Jecker, Howard and Sparrow, and Wang.Kelly Kate Evans - forthcoming - In Ruiping Fan & Mark J. Cherry (eds.), Sex Robots Social Impact and the Future of Human Relations. New York, NY, USA: Springer.
    This article explores the implications of what it means to moralize about future technological innovations. Specifically, I have been invited to comment on three papers that attempt to think about what seems to be an impending social reality: the availability of life-like sex robots. In response, I explore what it means to moralize about future technological innovations from a secular perspective, i.e., a perspective grounded in an immanent, socio-historically contingent view. I review the arguments of Nancy Jecker, Mark Howard and (...)
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  • Non-Consensual Personified Sexbots: An Intrinsic Wrong.Karen Lancaster - 2021 - Ethics and Information Technology 23 (4):589-600.
    Humanoid robots used for sexual purposes are beginning to look increasingly lifelike. It is possible for a user to have a bespoke sexbot created which matches their exact requirements in skin pigmentation, hair and eye colour, body shape, and genital design. This means that it is possible—and increasingly easy—for a sexbot to be created which bears a very high degree of resemblance to a particular person. There is a small but steadily increasing literature exploring some of the ethical issues surrounding (...)
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  • The Ethics of Virtual Sexual Assault.John Danaher - forthcoming - In Oxford Handbook of Digital Ethics. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter addresses the growing problem of unwanted sexual interactions in virtual environments. It reviews the available evidence regarding the prevalence and severity of this problem. It then argues that due to the potential harms of such interactions, as well as their nonconsensual nature, there is a good prima facie argument for viewing them as serious moral wrongs. Does this prima facie argument hold up to scrutiny? After considering three major objections – the ‘it’s not real’ objection; the ‘it’s just (...)
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  • Robot Sex and Consent: Is Consent to Sex Between a Robot and a Human Conceivable, Possible, and Desirable?Lily Frank & Sven Nyholm - 2017 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 25 (3):305-323.
    The development of highly humanoid sex robots is on the technological horizon. If sex robots are integrated into the legal community as “electronic persons”, the issue of sexual consent arises, which is essential for legally and morally permissible sexual relations between human persons. This paper explores whether it is conceivable, possible, and desirable that humanoid robots should be designed such that they are capable of consenting to sex. We consider reasons for giving both “no” and “yes” answers to these three (...)
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  • Will Sexual Robots Modify Human Relationships? A Psychological Approach to Reframe the Symbolic Argument.Piercosma Bisconti - 2021 - Advanced Robotics (1):1-28.
    The purpose of this paper is to understand if and how interactions with Sexual Robots will modify users’ relational abilities in human-human relations. We first underline that, in today’s scholar discussion on the ‘symbolic argument’, there is no theoretical framework explaining the process of symbolic shift between human-robot interactions (HRI) and human-human interactions (HHI). To clarify the symbolic shift mechanism, we propose the concept of objectual mediation. Moreover, under the lens of Winnicott’s object-relation theory, we argue that HRI can structurally (...)
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  • Friends, Lovers or Nothing: Men and Women Differ in Their Perceptions of Sex Robots and Platonic Love Robots.Morten Nordmo, Julie Øverbø Næss, Marte Folkestad Husøy & Mads Nordmo Arnestad - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
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  • There’s More to Humanity Than Meets the Eye: Differences in Gaze Behavior Toward Women and Gynoid Robots.Jessica M. Szczuka & Nicole C. Krämer - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
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  • How to Treat Machines That Might Have Minds.Nicholas Agar - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):269-282.
    This paper offers practical advice about how to interact with machines that we have reason to believe could have minds. I argue that we should approach these interactions by assigning credences to judgements about whether the machines in question can think. We should treat the premises of philosophical arguments about whether these machines can think as offering evidence that may increase or reduce these credences. I describe two cases in which you should refrain from doing as your favored philosophical view (...)
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  • The Philosophical Case for Robot Friendship.John Danaher - forthcoming - Journal of Posthuman Studies.
    Friendship is an important part of the good life. While many roboticists are eager to create friend-like robots, many philosophers and ethicists are concerned. They argue that robots cannot really be our friends. Robots can only fake the emotional and behavioural cues we associate with friendship. Consequently, we should resist the drive to create robot friends. In this article, I argue that the philosophical critics are wrong. Using the classic virtue-ideal of friendship, I argue that robots can plausibly be considered (...)
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  • Direct-to-Consumer Neurotechnologies and Quantified Relationship Technologies: Overlapping Ethical Concerns.Sven Nyholm, Brian D. Earp & John Danaher - 2019 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 10 (4):167-170.
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