Let's cut to the chase. Would you pay to have sex with a robot prostitute?
Ian Yeoman and Michelle Mars think someone will. Yeoman is a futurist with an interest in tourism, and Mars is a sexologist at the University of Wellington's Victoria Management School in New Zealand. The duo just co-authored a paper entitled "Robots, Men and Sex Tourism" for the current issue of Futures.
In their paper, they envision a future where robotic prostitutes are the solution to the sex industry's most glaring problems, such as human trafficking, human degradation and the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
Playing off the "Yab-Yum," once one of Amsterdam's most exclusive brothels before its closure in 2008, Yeoman and Mars imagine what the red-light district will look like in the year 2050:
The Yub-Yum is Amsterdam's top sex club for business travelers located beside a 17th century canal house on the Singel. It is modern and gleaming with about 100 scantily clad blondes and brunettes parading around in exotic G-strings and lingerie. Entry costs $10,000 for an all inclusive service. The club offers a full range of sexual services from massages, lap dancing and intercourse in plush surroundings. The Yub-Yum is a unique bordello licensed by the city council, staffed not by humans but by androids. This situation came about due to an increase in human trafficking in the sex industry in the 2040s which was becoming unsustainable, combined with an increase in incurable STI's in the city especially HIV which over the last decade has mutated and is resistant to many vaccines and preventive medicines. Amsterdam's tourist industry is built on an image of sex and drugs. The council was worried that if the red light district were to close, it would have a detrimental effect on the city's brand and tourism industry, as it seemed unimaginable for the city not to have a sex industry. Sex tourism is a key driver for stag parties and the convention industry. The Yub-Yum offers a range of sexual gods and goddesses of different ethnicities, body shapes, ages, languages and sexual features. The club is often rated highly by punters on www.punternet.com and for the fifth year in a row, in 2049 was voted the world's best massage parlor by the UN World Tourism Organization. The club has won numerous technology and innovation awards including the prestigious ISO iRobotSEX award. The most popular model is Irina, a tall, blonde, Russian exotic species who is popular with Middle Eastern businessmen. The tourists who use the services of Yub-Yum are guaranteed a wonderful and thrilling experience, as all the androids are programmed to perform every service and satisfy every desire. All androids are made of bacteria resistant fiber and are flushed for human fluids, therefore guaranteeing no Sexual Transmitted Disease's are transferred between consumers. The impact of Yub-Yum club and similar establishments in Amsterdam has transformed the sex industry alleviating all health and human trafficking problems. The only social issues surrounding the club is the resistance from human sex workers who say they can't compete on price and quality, therefore forcing many of them to close their shop windows. All in all, the regeneration of Amsterdam's sex industry has been about the success of the new breed of sex worker. Even clients feel guilt free as they actually haven't had sex with a real person and therefore don't have to lie to their partner.
With the wide availability of Internet pornography, online escort services and such things as the Fleshlight iPad case, it's obvious the Digital Age has revolutionized the sex industry. More so, as sex dolls morph into more sentient sexbots, Yeoman and Mars question whether attitudes toward sexual taboos will change. For example, would society be more open-minded toward robotic prostitution, as opposed to human prostitution?
What's your opinion? Are you repulsed, turned on or not interested? Would robot sex help eliminate the hazard and menace of sex tourism or just add another level of sleaze?