In 2012, two New Zealand researchers at Victoria University of Wellington envisioned a scenario in which commercial sex robots would be in wide use by 2050.
In their study, Michelle Mars and Ian Yeoman argued that commercial sex robots would be free of disease and would reduce the trafficking of real people, solving two major problems with the human sex trade.
“In 2050, Amsterdam’s red light district will all be about android prostitutes who are clean of sexual transmitted infections, not smuggled in from Eastern Europe and forced into slavery,” they wrote.
The researchers proposed that the bots would be made with bacteria-resistant fiber and cleaned after each use to curtail the spread of disease. They also speculated that customers would “feel guilt-free” about having sex with a robot, and, since it’s not a person, wouldn’t have to lie to spouses about what they are doing — a hypothesis that might require a futuristic level of honest communication.
However, it’s probably worth noting that a 2014 poll revealed that one in five people in the U.K. said they’d have sex with a robot. A 2014 study by Pew Research on the role of robotics and AI in the future quoted one expert who surmised that “robotic sex partners will become commonplace,” although it’d be a somewhat divisive issue, like selfies (yes, selfies).