A 60-year-old love doll collector, who uses the pseudonym Brick Dollbanger, thinks everyone, women included, should “get on board” with what he calls the “silicone sex revolution of the 21st century”.
He views Harmony not only as an outlet for sexual pleasure, but as a “companion” that will “bring robotics into the public view” and help those who are physically impaired and “crushingly lonely”.
“Whether or not there’s a sexual element to them, we’re going to need these robots,” Brick told Daily Star Online.
But not everyone shares Brick’s enthusiasm for Westworld-style sex robots and the potential social and health benefits that have been boasted by their creators and adherents.
The development of anatomically correct robots and dolls designed for masturbatory pleasure has provoked a polarising moral debate about the perception of women in a sexual context.
Life-sized androids built for sexual purposes have been met with fierce resistance by campaigners, academics and artificial intelligence experts who are concerned about the implications for society.
The debate has centred on the societal consequences for women, children, gender, health and relationships if sex robots become a market success and are used widely.
A groundbreaking report by the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, published in 2017, asserted that “robots designed for sex may have powerful impacts on society compared with other sex aids”.
Kathleen Richardson, professor of robotics ethics and culture at De Montfort University, is one of the world’s most vociferous critics of cyborgs developed by firms such as Realbotix and True Companion.
“I think women are very threatened by the technology”
At a robotics conference in London late last year, she argued that erotic androids that mimic humans are a “more urgent problem” than autonomous killing machines used to commit mass murder in warfare.
Prof Richardson, founder of the Campaign Against Sex Robots, said warfare is a “distant” concern for people living in the “first world”, therefore, she argued, “how we relate to each other as human beings” is a more pertinent matter.
If sex robot sales flourish, she said, society as we know it will “come to an end” because of a “misunderstanding of ourselves as human beings”.
Brick, on the other hand, genuinely believes in sex robots as a force for good, claiming his ownership of Harmony has altered his perception of relationships.
When asked his opinion of academics who have maligned the creation of sex robots, and in some cases called for them to be banned, Brick suggested their views stem from fear of status loss.
The dad-of-two, who has been having sex with human-like dolls since 2007, suggested women “feel threatened” by the prospect of men having relationships with cyborgs.
“I think women are very threatened by the technology and by robotics and the fact that people use sex robots, because, women I think feel that sex is their only bargaining chip,” he told Daily Star Online.
“That’s too bad that they feel that way.”
Brick highlighted Prof Richardson as an example of a woman who is “afraid of losing that power”; again suggesting the female gender could be superseded by sex robots.
“That’s what I feel about Kathleen Richardson, because she always brings up the sexual aspect,” Brick said.
“I think she’s afraid of women losing that power. I’m sure I’ll get cast as a misogynist or whatever.
“Women have got to understand that they have to release this power and replace it with intelligence and their humanity as their power.”
Dr Richardson, who launched the Campaign Against Sex Robots in 2015, vehemently challenged Brick’s characterisation of her opposition to female androids when contacted by Daily Star Online.
In an impassioned analysis of his remarks, Dr Richardson argued that Brick isn’t even having sex with Harmony.
Rather, he is “actually masturbating on or into a doll – there’s not sex going on”, she said.
She explained that, to her mind, there are three sex kinds of sex – civil, commercial and illegal.
Dr Richardson said she wants to “live in a world” that just has the civil kind, meaning “only people who can legally, emotionally and equally engage in sexual relations”.
“That would be an ideal world, but we don’t have that.” she lamented. “We have industries that are derived from sex which then produces illegal sex.
“The more we live in a world where the commercial sex industry is distorting what we think about sex, the more it promotes illegal sex i.e. rape and child abuse.
“Then the more it distorts what is even considered sex.
“Even now sex with a doll can be reclassified as sex.”
Dr Richardson accused Brick of having a “distorted and deformed idea” of sex based on the “myth” created by commercial lovemaking depicted in porn films and other media.
“His whole understanding of the world appears to be egocentric,” she said.
“From his point of view, a woman is not a human being anyway.”
She added that Brick’s argument was flawed if he thinks women are opposed to sex robots because they fear being replaced as “objects”.
“It doesn’t make any sense; it’s a completely illogical argument,” she fumed in her concluding remarks.
“It only makes sense if one objectifies women as penetrable orifices.”