Expert computer scientist warns that sex robots could 'change humanity forever'
Technology has progressed in leaps and bounds over the last few decades. Computers have gone from being as big as cars to sleek pieces of pocket-sized gadgetry, social media has become as integral to our lives as food or shelter, and pretty much everyone in the western world owns at least one Apple product.
Oh, and sex toys have upped their game too.
However, some scientists are worrying that the sorts of gadgets we use in our - uh - personal lives are getting a bit too advanced, and that continuing along this path could spell out a very bleak future for humanity.
In a recent documentary called Sex Robots and Us, experts have come forward to warn of the dangers that sex robots could pose.
Noel Sharkey, who works for the Foundation of Responsible Robotics, was a particularly vocal critic. He explained that, by making sex "too easy" to access, the act of intercourse would lose all meaning, and the bonds that we form through sexual connection would slowly start to slip away.
"We're just doing all this stuff with machines because we can and not really thinking how this could change humanity completely," Sharkey explained. "Some people have suggested that sex robots create an attitude of "too easy" sex which is always available. This could take meaning out of our lives and turn us into zombies."
What's more, the computer scientist also warned that these robots could be used by the likes of pedophiles and rapists to indulge in deviant behavior, as there's nothing stopping people from making childlike robots, or robotic partners that would say "no" to sex.
Unfortunately, it might already be too late to turn back.
"There is no question that sexbots are coming. People will form an intense connection with their robot companions," warned Dr Neil McArthur, an academic at the University of Manitoba.
Indeed, just last month, researchers on the topic predicted that humanity would soon witness the emergence of a new sexuality: digisexual. People who identify as this orientation would feel a genuine attraction to machines, and would even prefer to have a "relationship" with a robot than a real human being.
"These robots will be tailor-made to meet people's desires and will do things that human partners cannot or will not do," McArthur explains - meaning that people can essentially build their ideal sexual companion.
Already, sex robots are fairly customizable, and people can alter the facial features of their techno-lover in order to sculpt them into the person of their dreams. However, this obviously throws up some huge ethical dilemmas such as: what if you want to make a robot look like a real person in your life? What if you want the robot for violent purposes? What if people begin to value robots more than other people?
But we must remember that this is still all speculation for now. In the past, we probably had similar discussions about cars and mobile phones, and - for the most part - they haven't ruined our lives (yet).
However, while this technology is still being worked on, perhaps we should consider the dangers of inviting robotic sex slaves into our homes. After all, if they somehow gain sentience, it could be us that ends up being used for all kinds of freaky purposes...