WHAT will a sex robot look like? Will humans fall in love with robots? Will people be able to marry robots in the future?
These were just some of the probing questions debated at the Second International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots held in London last week. The conference was moved from London to Malaysia earlier in the year after the Malaysian chief of police deemed the congress to be illegal.
The questions, as you might expect, were endless. And although the answers were, at this early stage of technology development, far from definitive, few were in dispute that sex, and even love, with robots will happen – and probably sooner than we expect.
Co-organizer of the conference, Professor Adrian David Cheok, who is Director of the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia, sat down with Tech Wire Asia to discuss what future opportunities humanoid robots might present the Asian technology sector and how human-like robots can change people’s lives.
How far advanced is humanoid robotic technology at present?
A humanoid, artificial intelligent robot that we love and could have sex with – we don’t know when that is coming. Some people say next year, other people say it is much further down the line.
However, we are already seeing a lot of technology that is related. If you put the pieces together, such as electronic sex products for men and for women – and we are also seeing sex dolls without the robotics – it’s clear there are people investing and buying these products. You can see the trajectories are there.
What will be the key markets for humanoid robots?
Initially, maybe the market will be for people who are disadvantaged, such as disabled people, people who have problems such as autism and shyness.
Right now, a lot of people don’t have sex at all so for them it is better than no sex.
We might see smaller more niche markets at first, but then, as with any product – for example, only rich business people used mobile phones at first – it will come into the mainstream.