Ethics of Freedom
The Campaign Against Sex Robots will explore the theme of human abandonment and the ‘imagined’ role that robots will play in helping humans overcome their isolation and loneliness.
Technology is a cultural artefact, entirely artificial, therefore, the way technologies are created reflect what is happening in human lived lifeworlds. We follow social studies of science and technology that show how class, race, gender and sexual ideas of the makers’ consciousness are transferred to technologies. If there were no sex trade, where human bodies could be reduced to a sexual product, it would be difficult to conceive of sex robots. Sex robots merely echo what is already happening between people and this is extremely worrying. Therefore addressing the ways in which new technologies mimic real lived relations between humans is an important priority.
The advocates of sex robots are modelling a type of relationship that is built on the sexual objectification of humans and an asymmetrical relationship where those with power and money get their needs met at any cost, even if it means denying the freedom and full humanity of others.
We view the ending of the sex trade (the commercial exploitation of human bodies) as the key to human freedom. Therefore, this century, campaigns to abolish the sex trade will be the most important campaign for human freedom. The sex trade thrives on inequalities between people. We hope that men and women will join together to support these goals.
The robot is synonymous with technology, but the term ‘robot’ also describes a state of depersonalisation, where people are not treated as full subjects, that is with full recognition of rights and dignity as a human being. The term ‘robot’ was created in the 1920s, not by a scientist but a political avant-garde playwright, Karel Capek. The robot was a term to reflect on people seen merely as things without subjectivity. People still use the term ‘robot’ today to describe an extreme state of depersonalisation and when they experience extreme distress.
Therefore we see robots as a way to describe a terrifying state of being human – as well as a term to describe a machine in human form that reflects back to us this state of affairs. This is why the Campaign Against Sex Robots is also a campaign against the sex trade. As the body is part of a person’s subjectivity it cannot be switched off without severe consequences for the person. The sex trade thrives on using human bodies as commercial products that can be bought and sold to people with more power and money.
Central to this campaign is the ethics of freedom and mutual consenting relationship. The trade in human bodies for sex distorts human relationships. Sex robots add yet another object to this already violent and depersonalised market.
We invite contributors to write for the campaign’s website as Associates. Associates can participate by writing for the website, but also in creating new lines of enquiry exploring technology and the sex trade. We would like Associates to join us in putting forward a different vision of human relationship, sexuality and subjectivity that is not based on coercion or violence.
Areas we think are important to explore include, but are not limited to the following:
Robots as sexual substitutes
Gender and robots
Therapy and Sex Robots
Transhumanism and capitalism
Sex robots and the sex trade
Virtual reality and the sex trade
Video Games and the sex trade
The commercialisation of sex and the internet
Human rights and the legalisation of the sex trade
Young people and online access to pornography
Freedom and sex
Privacy in a digital age
Attachment Theories and Machines
We are a non-profit campaign but would like to reach out to groups and individuals engaged in research to give our support and collaboration on any funding opportunities. We hope to reach out to technologists who are making robots and AI and engage in a mutual dialogue. We believe we can build better technologies if they truly reflect what is human if these technologies are inspired by freedom.
If you would like to get in touch with the campaign please email:
Categories: Ethics of Robotics
The Campaign Against Sex Robots is a non-profit campaign that aims to challenge the reproduction of inequalities in new technologies.