Researchers: Ban robotic sex dolls

5:58 min

How real is too real? A Swedish and a British researcher say the development of sex robots, lifelike machines used as sex toys, could reinforce traditional gender stereotypes and damage relationships between real human beings.

The robotic researchers, Erik Billing from Sweden's University of Skövde and Kathleen Richardson from the UK's De Montfort University, have called for a ban on sex robots.

Speaking with Radio Sweden, Billing says he's not opposed to sex toys but rather how these dolls are being developed into human-like objects. He says there is also a danger that the robots could stunt relationship.

"These machines represent sort of an extreme objectification of mainly the female sex and women in general," he says. "Think about what a full-blown doll or robot gives you in comparison to any other sex toy."

He says a greater debate on the topic is needed to examine their effect on society. Billing adds that right now he sees two positions shaping up each time the issue is raised: one is shocked that the machines even exist and the other thinking it's ridiculous that the machines could ever be harmful.

"Maybe, at least, it's not a bad thing that we get these two opinions to meet," he says.