David Levy, author of ‘Love and Sex with Robots‘, and organizer of the annual conference of the same name (which often as not gets banned for inappropriate choice of location), has apparently warned that male sex robots could ‘rape’ their female owners through faulty programming. Incredibly, according to the media reports which have appeared in not exactly 100% trustworthy places such as the Daily Star and Sputnik, Levy seems to think this is a good thing – I mean, that sex robots could be judged to have ‘raped’ their owners and be held accountable.
According to The Daily Star, the author, who wrote a book about robot-human sex relations, saying that they will be routine by 2050, suggests that even though future sex robots “will be our equals or betters in many ways”, male ones may be found guilty of rape if their programming fails.
Levy criticized the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament for “victim-blaming”, since the institution’s 2016 report said, “Damage caused by autonomous robots might also be traced back to user error. In such instances, either strict or fault-based liability may be imposed, depending on circumstances”.
“This would seem to imply that, in some cases of inappropriate or illegal behaviour by a malebot seeking sex with a woman, the woman herself could be found to be liable. To me this sounds too much like ‘She was asking for it'”, Levy explained.
The expert then added that while humans will have certain responsibilities to the bots, the machines should as well have responsibilities towards their “sexual partner”.
For somebody who clearly has devoted a lot of time to promoting the idea of sex robots as a good and inevitable thing for society, it seems remarkable that he has chosen to make the extraordinary claim that a sex robot could ‘rape’ its owner. Is a woman who finds she can’t turn off her vibrator mid-session because of faulty design, being ‘raped’ or ‘assaulted’ by her sex toy? Why David Levy would want to feed such media sensationalist headlines regarding the dangers of sex robots is a mystery. He does have his forthcoming 4th sex robot conference to promote. Hopefully he hasn’t chosen a Muslim country or some deeply religious Conservative American town to hold it in this time.
Anti-sex robot campaigners have increasingly focused on the possibility that men might ‘rape’ their sexbots, or that sex robots might encourage the rape of real women. As the Sputnik article mentions, Sergei Santos, the creator of ‘Samantha’ has even claimed that his ‘robot’ had been violently assaulted by visitors to a trade show it was being exhibited at (leading to calls from feminist crazies for sex robots to be banned – a publicity stunt from Santos that backfired). Other ‘experts’ have voiced concerns that sex robots might be ‘hacked’ by third parties and be used to kill their owners. But this appears to be the first time that fears have been stoked of sex robots ‘raping’ their owners.