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Sex robots could be capable of killing unfortunate humans should they fall victim to malicious hackers, experts have warned.
The anatomically correct humanoid creations feature increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) with each new model, allowing users to enjoy a more naturalistic experience.
However, this technology could be targeted by cybercriminals with violence in mind, according to a new article written by Hong Kong law firm ONC Lawyers for Lexology.
It warns "unassuming sex robots are equally dangerous" as military AI when it comes to posing a threat to humanity's existence.
The industry has been booming during the coronavirus pandemic due to the decrease in human-to-human contact under lockdown.
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"Yet, as with all infant technology, cybersecurity experts warned that these new robots can be a grave threat to humanity," the article says.
Many robots now have the ability to "physically manipulate surroundings" and "wield tools", which could be a disaster in the wrong hands.
The authors quote Dr Nick Patterson as warning: "Hacking into many modern-day robots, including sexbots, would be a piece of cake compared to more sophisticated gadgets like cellphones and computers…
"Hackers can hack into a robot or a robotic device and have full control of the connections, arms, legs and other attached tools like in some cases knives or welding devices…
"Once hacked, they could absolutely be used to perform physical actions for an advantageous scenario or to cause damage."
The article says vulnerabilities in cybersecurity can be deadly, such as when a patient died at Germany's Düsseldorf University Hospital last September after a hacker disabled the computer system.
Sex robots 'kitted out with facial recognition tools that could understand emotions'
Its authors warn software developers they could face charges of manslaughter by gross negligence should a glitch or attack on a robot's operating system cause physical harm to a human being.
Therefore it is "crucial" that manufacturers put appropriate safeguards in place to ensure user data can't be stolen – or that the robot can't be instructed to hurt the user by a malicious third party.
Developers are also advised to use risk disclaimers so ensure prospective users understand the risks of using any product, and "ought to make certain that their platforms are more protected than devices such as cell phones".
"Unfortunately, that may not be the case yet with existing sex robot developers," the authors warn.
They conclude by urging developers to "perfect your product" rather than rushing it onto the market before safety checks are complete.
"Where a life is involved, great care is to be taken," the article says.
"Ensure that the AI will do no harm to other sentient beings.
"The ability to wield tools meant they have great power, and with great power comes great responsibility…
"Retrospective reflection will be too late."
- Sex Robot
- Artificial Intelligence
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