Constructing the Meaning of Humanoid Sex Robots

  • Deborah G. Johnson
  • Mario VerdicchioEmail author
Original research


Humanoid sex robots seem to challenge the human–machine distinction because one way to engage with them is to entertain the illusion that they are human and appropriate for intimacy. This inclination is intentionally induced by robot designers, and several narratives envision and claim that robots of the future will be indistinguishable from humans. Taking an anticipatory ethics approach and using critical discourse analysis, we argue that current discourse about sex robots does not adequately recognize the sociotechnical nature of humanoid sex robot development. We challenge the idea that the human–machine distinction will inevitably dissolve because of technological advancements. Recognition of the social influences on technological development is key to understanding the coherence, or lack thereof, of many narratives of the future that are currently put forward.


Future Humanoid robots Human–robot interaction Sex robots Sociotechnical systems 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.University of BergamoBergamoItaly

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