Japanese mobile phone company SoftBank, which sells a humanoid robot named Pepper, has reminded its customers not to have sex with their robots, Agence France-Press reports. “The policy owner must not perform any sexual act or other indecent behaviour,” the user agreement reads.
The Japanese company SoftBank began selling Pepper, produced in collaboration with French robotics company Aldebaran SA, to the public in June. Before that, they had been greeting customers in SoftBank stores. Peppers cost around $1,640, the AFP reports. The first shipment of 1,000 sold out online in under a minute.
“Engaging and friendly, Pepper is much more than a robot, he’s a companion able to communicate with you through the most intuitive interface we know: voice, touch and emotions,” Aldebaran claims. “Our goal at Aldebaran is to create robots for the well being of humans, kind robots living with humans as a new artificial species.”
“It’s not enough to simply have Pepper working at SoftBank stores. The ultimate goal is for Pepper to live with humans, the stores are just the beginning.”
While SoftBank wants Pepper to behave like a good little robot and not a spicy sex-bot, the fine print is somewhat ambiguous, with some people taking it to mean customers are not barred from physical relations with the droid, just from using it for “improper purposes”.
SoftBank said lewd acts could trigger punitive action, although exactly what kind of punishment offenders faced—and how anyone would ever find out—was not made clear in yet another grey area.
The user agreement also prohibits using Pepper to send spam email or inflict harm on human beings.
Meanwhile, Dr. Kathleen Richardson, a robot ethicist at De Montfort University, in Leicester, England, launched the Campaign Against Sex Robots earlier this month. “Sex robots seem to be a growing focus in the robotics industry and the models that they draw on—how they will look, what roles they would play—are very disturbing indeed,” she told the BBC.
“We think that the creation of such robots will contribute to detrimental relationships between men and women, adults and children, men and men and women and women.”
The CEO of sex robot manufacturer True Companion, Douglas Hines, believes there is a market for sex robots just waiting to be filled. (He would, though.)
“We are not supplanting the wife or trying to replace a girlfriend. This is a solution for people who are between relationships or someone who has lost a spouse,” Hines told the BBC. Incidentally, the name of the sex robot that True Companion claims to be developing is Roxxxy.
“The physical act of sex will only be a small part of the time you spend with a sex robot—the majority of time will be spent socialising and interacting.”
Beep boop beep.