Apparently the EU released a paper stating that in the near future AI will be able to make “free choices” not influenced by humans. So, what if a sex robot was given such intelligence to be able to “consent” to sex with their owner?
A german lawyer wrote an interesting article (paywall) about it and how we as a society “should think about respecting robots more strongly”. Some of the reasoning to perhaps prohibit “Self-Concious sex dolls who are able to say “No” and “came to that decision themselves”” draws from Child-Like Sex Dolls due to both conveying the idea of rape. Also, the question when something becomes “human” and thus worth protecting.
Considering the fact that society’s current approach involves protecting cartoon children as if they were human, I have very little faith in people’s ability to draw anything close to a good line on that issue.
In my eyes, the more important question is what the impact on the robot will be if its consent is violated, rather than whether or not it has the ability to consent in the first place. After all, harm (or even the risk of harm) is what makes sexual assault on a human bad.
At this point, a lot of the court of public opinion seems less focused on protecting the “victim” and more on judging the internal “evil” of the “culprit”.