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PSA: You can’t have sex with your robots

AP Photo/Koji Sasahara
That’s close enough.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

It’s kind of sad that we needed this to be written down for us.

The company behind Pepper, the Japanese robot which apparently has its own emotions, want to remind buyers that they are forbidden from having sex with its robots.

The $1,600 robot’s user agreement, according to Wired, specifically denies using the robot in ”acts for the purpose of sexual or indecent behaviour.” You can read the full agreement in Japanese here (pdf). It also says that Pepper can’t be used outdoors, or to harm another human—which legendary sci-fi author Isaac Asimov would have been pleased to hear. You probably shouldn’t use Pepper to help you rob a library, either.

The document suggests that breaking any of these rules would risk “action” on the part of the manufacturers, but it wasn’t clear what that would be. Aldebaran, the robotics company that built Pepper in partnership with the mobile company SoftBank, was not immediately available for comment.

Pepper has been traipsing around Japan for a while, and the robots are used in SoftBank’s stores as greeters. When it went on sale to the Japanese public earlier this year, it sold out within a minute. The robot is apparently learning how to become more American before it goes on sale in the US next year. Hopefully it’s not watching what’s on primetime television in the US.

While it’s not immediately apparent what would be particularly attractive about a  four-foot-tall plastic robot, perhaps SoftBank and Aldebaran’s lawyers just wanted to cover every possibility in the agreement.

On the other hand, there are roboticists working on machines that you can sleep with, if you feel so inclined, which does imply there must be some sort of demand out there.

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