Homer Simpson once said that you've got to be pretty desperate to do it with a robot.
Well, desperate people rejoice because that possibility may not be far away:
"People are going to be having sex with robots within five years," says Henrik Christensen of the European Robotics Research Network (Euron).
Christensen apparently worries that robots might be built too sexy: "So should limits be set on the appearance, for example, of such robotic sex toys?"
Might all this prompt hookers to join the War Against the Machines to stop those buckets of bolts from taking human jobs?
And it's not just the ladies (and fellas) of the night who should worry. All sorts of jobs are at risk:
- The National Health Service has used a robot called da Vinci to perform surgery at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London.
More advanced versions are expected to be doing everyday domestic tasks and helping to care for the elderly in as little as 20 years.
A bunch of scientists and academics have gathered together to figure out how to ensure that we humans stay in control of things:
- THE race is on to keep humans one step ahead of robots: an international team of scientists and academics is to publish a "code of ethics" for machines as they become more and more sophisticated.
Although the nightmare vision of a Terminator world controlled by machines may seem fanciful, scientists believe the boundaries for human-robot interaction must be set now, before super-intelligent robots develop beyond our control.
"There are two levels of priority," says Gianmarco Verruggio, a roboticist at the Institute of Intelligent Systems for Automation in Genoa, northern Italy, and chief architect of the guide, to be published next month.
"We have to manage the ethics of the scientists making the robots and the artificial ethics inside the robots."
(One day a robot may even boot Lou Dobbs from his anchor chair.)