Sex robots: are we ready for them? An exploration of the psychological mechanisms underlying people’s receptiveness of sex robots

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Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered products have started to permeate various spheres of our lives. One of the most controversial of such products is the sex robot, an application of the AI-integrated robotic technology in the domain of human sexual gratification. The aim of this research is to understand the general public’s receptiveness towards this controversial new invention. Drawing upon the social intuitionist model, we find that the fear of AI, emblematic of the broader anxiety of technology’s encroachment on the human sphere, shapes the public’s receptiveness to sex robots. Perceived substitutability of sex robots for human-to-human sexual interactions mediates this relationship. Religiosity is found to moderate this mediated relationship. Our findings are first established with a cross-sectional study. A “big data” field study further validates them. The present research is one of the first empirical studies to examine the underlying psychology of the public’s receptiveness to sex robots. By doing so, we aim to provide relevant government and industry bodies with a better understanding of this important topic for more informed policy making, and to raise awareness of the significant social and ethical implications should sex robots become widely accepted and adopted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1107
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Fear of AI
  • Sex robots
  • Receptiveness of sex robots
  • Religiosity

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