A new expose set to air on BBC reveals what reporter James Young found as he explored the emerging international trade in high-tech sex dolls.
He visited a Japanese factory for one segment of the show “Sex Robots and Us,” reporting in a Mirror article that he found several upsetting trends in the process.
At first, Young wrote that the sight of “metal and rubber women of mythical proportions” struck him as an operation he described as “funny with an immature outlook.”
After his tour and some time to consider the potential ramifications of what those workers were producing, however, he reconsidered his initial assessment.
“I wondered do the workers here ever have a problem with their work aside from the sticky silicon dust in the air and on the surfaces?” he wrote. “Do they think it is a victimless endeavour? As the number of factories, especially in China, increases, what implications does this growing trend have for human beings?”
Young went on to suggest the proliferation of sex robots could lead to further objectification of women and an increased perception that their unrealistic body proportions are an attainable goal.
He also saw it as a threat to human interactions, leading to “a one-sided relationship with a sex doll” only performing based on it programmed operations. While these robots might fill an immediate human need, he warned that it could come “at the expense of our long term development, mental health and identities.”
It was another discovery on his tour, though, that took an emotional toll on the television presenter. He said he noticed a sex doll that was smaller and “appeared younger” than the rest.
“I felt like I’d been hit in the gut,” Young said.
Fighting back tears, he said he asked the factory owner why such a doll would be produced.
“The owner explained to me that in Japanese culture, he believes this kind of doll is seen as ‘kawaii’, or cute,” Young wrote, adding that it was described as having “no human age.”
Young, who was catastrophically injured in a train collision several years ago, has reported on robot technology in the past as his own body becomes increasingly augmented with high-tech prosthesis.
[Featured image: BBC III/video screenshot]