We are a coalition of feminists, humanists, parents, women’s groups, survivors, academics, men’s organisations and activists campaigning against commercial objectification of human beings who are concerned with the normalisation of “sex robots”. These technologies are developed and backed by academic and business robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) communities who have to date, the loudest voices shaping the policy direction about the benefits of sex robots while largely ignoring the potentially dangerous effects on women, men, and children.
The Campaign Against Sex Robots (CASR) was launched in 2015 to draw attention to the new ways in which the idea of forming ‘relationships’ with machines is becoming increasingly normalised in today’s culture. Sex robots are animatronic humanoid dolls with penetrable orifices where consumers are encouraged to look upon these dolls as substitutes for women (predominantly), and they are marketed as ‘companions’, ‘girlfriends’ or ‘wives’. At a time when pornography, prostitution and child exploitation is facilitated and proliferated by digital technology turning it into a global profitable industry; these products further promote the objectification of the female body and as such constitute a further assault on human intimacy.
We are also concerned that childlike dolls and robots are being promoted as ‘therapeutic’ for ‘non-offending paedophiles’ and paedophiles. We reject the naturalisation of paedophilia as a ‘sexual preference’ and reject terms such as ‘pedosexual’ or ‘minor attracted person’ that serve to legitimise adult sexual violence against children. In 2017-2018, CASR supported a move to ban electronic and artificial representations of children for adult predators in the form of the CREEPER ACT that was successfully passed in the House of Representatives reading in the United States.
We also believe that sex dolls and sex robots in the female form add to the pervasive culture where sexual violence against women and girls is reiterated in new ways.
Despite female political equality, women and girls still face serious threats of sexual violence from domestic abuse and rape to up-skirting and revenge porn. Two women are murdered each week at the hands of former or existing male partners, and mass grooming gangs have targeted vulnerable young girls for decades.
Studies show that strong ties and relationships are good for people and society and that the weakening of our social ties is a major contributory factor in mental health distress, economic insecurity and human isolation for women, men and children. It is therefore in the best interests of society to cultivate a culture of mutual support and interdependence and put breaks on those social practices that reinforce a culture of isolation.
We believe robots and AI should be used for the good of humanity and should not be funded or produced in forms that increase human social problems.
Government ministers lag behind technological developments and often respond with constructive policies when it is too late and the damage to human society has been done.
We urge the European Union and the UK Parliament to conduct public consultations ahead of developing legislation in line with European and UK sex discrimination laws and the European Union’s commitment to the UN Rights of the Child.
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