Sex robot inventor Sergi Santos has reportedly equipped his sex robot Samantha with the ability to say no if she is disinterested or ‘disturbed’ by the sexual behaviour of her partner. Well, perhaps not quite say no, but rather switch off into ‘dummy mode’ whenever she detects aggressive behaviour on the part of her owner or is simply ‘bored’.
Marketing ploy or a clumsy attempt to appease anti-sex robot campaigners?
Seems to me a clumsy sop to anti-sex robot campaigners who have been calling for their ban on the grounds that they could be ‘raped’ and encourage real rape and violence against women. As an unsympathetic writer at ‘Interesting Engineering‘ argues, the dummy mode allows Samantha to be fucked lifelessly, not exactly something that will appease campaigners. On the other hand, this cackhanded attempt to pretend that sex robots have the ability to ‘consent’ (through ‘not consenting’) is likely to encourage radical feminists still further in their attempts to drive forward legislation that will either ban sexbots or even allow them to accuse their owners of rape.
When in dummy mode, the motorized parts of Samantha’s body, her hands, arms, hips, facial expressions, etc will shut down. It seems like the feature is meant to replicate consent, however, the naming of it really doesn’t come close to any sort of thoughtful engagement with the critical issue.
While the feature might encourage some users to treat the robot with respect and care to avoid it going into dummy mode, other could arguably seek out the lifeless robot by abusing it. There are no consequences of using the robot when in dummy mode which seems to forfeit any of the reasons the feature was invented in the beginning.