With continued advances in robotics and artificial intelligence, the future of robot-human relations is slowly, but surely (and inevitably), heading towards the bedroom.
Yet as 'sex robots' transition from sleazy sci-fi B-movies to the raunchy reality of the modern sex doll industry, there are no shortage of ethical conundrums that need solving. Foremost among these: Is it cheating if you get intimately antiquated with a sex-bot while in a relationship with an actual human?
Judging by a recent poll, the surprising answer is no – but only by a tiny margin. A YouGov survey published on Monday (2 October) found that 33% of people would not consider a robot as a love rival, while 32% felt that, robot or not, cheating is cheating.
The results are even more interesting when split by gender. While 36% of women would consider it cheating, 29% wouldn't, foound YouGov. "For men, these numbers flip-flop – 29% would consider a robotic affair cheating, but 37% would not."
On a more fundamental level, only 14% of the 1,146 respondents agreed that having sex with a robot actually qualifies as sexual intercourse in the traditional sense, with 33% equating sexbot sessions to masturbation.
What is clear from the data however, is that men are far more likely to get down and dirty with a robot. While only 9% of the women polled would consider a mechanical lover, as many as one in four men would be open to robot sex.
As for the main factor that would seal the deal, it appears that attraction is only artificial-skin-deep when it comes to romancing automatons. "52% of those open to the idea of robotic intimacy agree that it is important for the bot to resemble a human," the report continues.
While sex may be first on the agenda for potential robot lovers, experts have previously predicted that some humans will be wedding their non-human partners by 2050.