Re: Androids are special
"I think the people who wrote this (crap) are probably as aware of the realities of robotics and AI as you are.
The difference is they need to popularise their organisation and become better known"
They are university professors. Not sure where Sheffield stands in the robotics field, but Delft is a fine technical university and their bio-mech program is pretty damn good. Their AI masters is not so well regarded, but that's just me being biased towards my alma mater :D
They really shouldn't need to make their research more popular, because it seems that their paper published after a survey on things we don't have has been lapped up like it's some proper hard science. So they write fairly typical academic weasel words for "this is basicly bollocks, but it's a talking point". At least el Reg put this quote in "the phrasing of survey questions and lack of participant knowledge about sex robots may have skewed results."
In translation, a well/badly designed and targeted survey will get you whatever answers you want, and it's based on a hypothetical situation you don't explain in detail, so we could have made up the results and no-one would know.
Looking at the actual surveys is even more screwed up:
1000 American's : 9% would fuck a bot
100 Americans: 66% male in favor of sex robots 66% females opposed to sex robots
1000 Brits: 26% go on date with human looking bot
1150 Dutch: 20% sex robots have no negative consequences.
230 chaps: 40% would consider buying a sex bot in net 5 years. Not shown prices
So not one survey used the same questions or standards, and often the "important" questions where designed to generate positive response ("would you consider" versus "would you buy, for 10 grand").
So they might make some people more interested in robotics or AI, which is good because I hardly see any mention of these topics elsewhere, but mainly they've published the equivalent of "$THING kills cancer in a petri dish" knowing full well that $THING does dick all to cancers in an organism.
That the person supposed to be teaching you about professional ethics is publishing papers which are both BS and attention grabbing makes me more concerned. There are plenty of ethical/moral issues in tech, certainly in AI, and quite frankly "is it OK to fuck a ten thousand dollar robot?" is not one we really need to worry about in a hurry. I *hope* this is just a cynical attempt to be able to apply for funding to the various bodies that want ethics in AI researched.