Robot infidelity is a thornier question
A new HuffPo/YouGov poll finds about one in ten Americans would be up for sex with a robot. The poll asked 1,000 adults in February.
Nine percent of Americans said yes to “Would you have sex with a robot?”, 81 percent said no, and 11 percent weren’t sure. Males said yes significantly more than females, 14 percent to four percent. Younger adults were higher, too, with 14 percent of 18 – 29 year olds and 13 percent of 30 – 44 year olds being up for human/robot intimacy versus only six percent of 45 – 64 year olds and two percent of Americans 65 and older.
Less than half of Americans believe having sex with a robot is cheating, with only 42 percent saying yes, 31 percent saying no, and 26 percent unsure. Slightly more females than males said yes, 46 percent compared to 38 percent, and more than half of Americans over 65 believe it is cheating, relative to about a third of American adults under 65.
The data here is rich for a couple reasons. First, it is impressive that a poll of this type could be done with any statistical significance. For us, it is hard to imagine even posing the question to the average American in an earlier era like, say, the 1940s or even the 1980s. Pop culture has shown our interest in sexualizing robots, going back to the curvy robot in the landmark 1927 film Metropolis, but it seemed to be locked away in the realm of fetish and fantasy, not an actual possibility as it is today.
Second, it pushed the tech cheating question from the virtual front to the physical front. Most conversation about human/tech intimacy have been about virtual sex, avatars, and similar concepts. The poll questions have the underlying assumption that robots are equal to humans – they aren’t asking if we would have virtual sex or computer sex with a robot, just if we would have sex with a robot. As robotics becomes more lifelike, these questions will become a bigger part of public conversation.
A pdf of the complete questionnaire is available at Huffington Post.
Image source: Tucia