Machine Yearning, by Oliver Bendel

Sign in to access Harper’s Magazine

Need to create a login? Want to change your email address or password? Forgot your password?

  1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
  2. Select Email/Password Information.
  3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.

Locked out of your account? Get help here.

Subscribers can find additional help here.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!

Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.
Subscribe for Full Access
Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.

From questions raised by Oliver Bendel, a machine ethicist, in a paper that was published this month on Springer. Bendel presented the paper last year at the Love and Sex with Robots conference at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Should the robot entice the partner to have sex?

Should the robot make clear to the human being that it is a machine?

Should the robot be able to refuse to perform the act?

Should its appearance be “politically correct”?

Should childlike sex robots be prohibited?

Should sex robots be available everywhere and anytime?

Who is liable for injuries or contamination caused by use of the machines?

What if the sex robot collects information on sexual practices, or records them and disseminates the recordings?

Is it possible to be unfaithful to a human partner with a sex robot?

Can a man or a woman be jealous of the robot’s other love affairs?

How to handle shame and disgrace caused by the sex robot?

Is sexual interaction a moral situation that is easy or impossible to overview?

More from