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Humans get “turned on” by touching robot

We're quickly approaching an era where the issue of "sex robots" might become a real possibility.

Turns out that sex robots might have some scientific merit. In a recent study, researchers found evidence that humans are “turned on” by touching the perceived private parts of a robot, such as its buttocks.

While sex robots have become a part of popular culture, especially in movies and other media dealing with the future, the study marks one of the first efforts to determine whether or not the average person could be aroused by interacting with a computer.

Conducted at Stanford University, researchers placed finger sensors on test subjects and had them interact with a 2 foot tall robot that somewhat resembles the Michelin Man. While the robot does have the rough shape and proportion of a human, it is clearly not human like. Six women and four men when involved in the eyebrow raising study, and were asked to touch the robot in various places.

When test subjects touched non-private areas, such as the robot’s hands, no reaction was found. Once the test subjects touched “private” areas, researchers recorded an increase in moisture on the test subject’s fingertips. Such an increase in moisture has already been associated with heightened sexual arousal, suggesting that people can, in fact, be turned on by interactions with robots.

Researcher Jamy Li claims that the study “shows that people respond to robots in a primitive, social way.”

If people can experience heightened sexual arousal with a 2 foot tall robot that does not closely resemble a human, can you imagine what reactions will be when humans interact with robots that actually resemble humans?

With robotics advancing at breakneck speed, it may only become a matter of time before this issue moves from being a quirky question among scientists to an issue we actually have to confront. Are there potential ethical ramifications? Or could their be legal issues if robots resemble people, such as movie stars?