Bring on the sexbots?

A UBC professor has sparked a debate that crosses all kinds of lines when it comes to marriage and love in the modern world.

Marina Adshade has been teaching an undergraduate class titled the Economics of Sex and Love since 2008, and she's been writing a blog, Dollars and Sex, since April 2013.

Adshade has written a chapter in the new book Robot Sex; Social and Ethical Implications.

"The chapter I've written is in a book on ethics, but I'm not a philosopher, I'm an economist. I'm more interested in social change."

Adshade indicates she thinks sex robots could actually help modern marriages.

"Now, we want the person that we're with to be our best friend to provide this amazing sex life – that's a lot to expect from one person. For people who are looking for marriage, it makes it very hard to find someone to satisfy all those things."

Adshade says the degree of difficulty in finding "the one" leads to compromises, which can also lead to marital dissatisfaction.

"Sex robots in my mind make it possible for people not to have to do that. They can simply go out and look for somebody who is going to be a good life companion and a good parent to their children, and you don't expect them to do all of that for you."
Adshade points out that the sex industry has given society plenty of technology that we have found useful, "the handheld camera was invented for porn use, PayPal was invented for porn use, and now we all use these things."

Future generations may use robots for companionship for the elderly to combat loneliness or as entertainment for children.

If you've watched HBO's Westworld, this concept may not seem so far-fetched.

"So I actually think there are widespread uses for robots outside of sexual activity. So if the demand for sex fuels those innovations, then that's actually good for us in the long run."

Adshade thinks the technology is still at least a decade away, but the time to start the conversation is now.

"They are going to play bigger and more interesting roles in our life, for sure."

But will it lead to the end of marriage?

"I don't think men will stop marrying because of easy access to sex. Men get a lot out of marriage, they get access to having a family, a loving companion, someone who laughs at their jokes, whatever they're looking for."

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