In this episode I talk to Neil McArthur about a book that he and I recently co-edited entitled Robot Sex: Social and Ethical Implications (MIT Press, 2017). Neil is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Manitoba where he also directs the Center for Professional and Applied Ethics. This a free-ranging conversation. We talk about what got us interested in the topic of robot sex, our own arguments and ideas, some of the feedback we’ve received on the book, some of our favourite sexbot-related media, and where we think the future of the debate might go.
- 0:00 – Introduction to Neil
- 1:42 – How did Neil go from writing about David Hume to Robot Sex?
- 5:15 – Why did I (John Danaher) get interested in this topic?
- 6:49 – The astonishing media interest in robot sex
- 8:58 – Why did we put together this book?
- 11:05 – Neil’s general outlook on the robot sex debate
- 16:41 – Could sex robots address the problems of loneliness and isolation?
- 19:46 – Why a passive and compliant sex robot might be good thing
- 21:08 – Could sex robots enhance existing human relationships?
- 25:53 – Sexual infidelity and the intermediate ontological status of sex robots
- 31:23 – Ethical behaviourism and robots
- 34:36 – My perspective on the robot sex debate
- 37:32 – The legitimate concerns about robot sex
- 44:20 – Some of our favourite arguments or ideas from the book (acknowledging that all the contributions are excellent!)
- 54:37 – Neil’s booklaunch – some of the feedback from a lay audience
- 58:25 – Where will the debate go in the future? Neil’s thoughts on the rise of the digisexual
- 1:02:54 – Our favourite fictional sex robots
- Robot Sex: Social and Ethical Implications (available on Amazon, BookDepository and from the Publisher)
- Neil’s homepage
- Media coverage of our book
- The Status Quo bias in applied ethics
- The Sex Robots are Coming: Seedy, sordid but mainly just sad’ by Fiona Sturges
- Our Guardian op-ed on the potential upside of sex robots
- Richard Herring’s sex robot sketches
- Neil’s article on the rise of the digisexual
- Neil’s one-man show on cryonics “Let Me Freeze Your Head!”