Who’s the sexiest robot you know? Obviously the answer is C-3PO. But think harder. Is there a robot in the world that you could fall in love with?
Could you bring a replicant home to meet your parents? What about the robot that runs around screaming “danger Will Robinson”, could he support your family?
The disembodied voice of Scarlett Johansson in Her is a good contender for nicest robot, but she’s got no arms. And a robot you can’t hug is hardly a robot at all.
These are serious considerations we must all eventually face as technology stumbles blindly into the uncharted waters of sex robotics.
The future will undoubtedly be filled with robo pals who can contort themselves into hitherto undiscovered positions and are always ready to dive beneath the sheets.
Humanoid machines programmed to please. Siri as a sex toy.
This month, leading researchers in robo-ethics launched The Campaign Against Sex Robots, a movement that seeks to outlaw artificially intelligent machines intended for unfettered, round-the-clock robo-rutting.
It is, they argue, unethical to create a machine with thoughts and hopes and feelings whose sole purpose is to do the dirty on demand.
Taking no notice, US firm TrueCompanion claims to have developed the world’s first fully-functioning sex robot, which is set to launch later this year.
Until then, you’ll just have to make do with glancing furtively at your toaster.
If that makes you feel uneasy, then congratulations, you’re one of the 83 per cent of prudes (according to a One Poll of Brits in 2014) who say they wouldn’t have a dirty fumble with a kinky sexbot.
But that leaves one in six people who would, and it’s these pioneers who will be catered for by one of the strangest emerging technologies around.
Sex robotics is the inevitable next step in the evolution of something that exists right now: human-sized, life-like dolls.
Cold, limp and dead-eyed, the people who use these dolls are looking for more realistic movement, speech and even intelligence.
The more advanced the robot, goes the theory, the more convincing the companionship and the more satisfying the interaction.
Are sexbots really any creepier than purchasing a vibrator? This isn’t a rhetorical question: the answer is “yes it is, and please stop asking me things like this”.
But queasiness about the subject doesn’t negate swelling demand.