Security Expert Warns that Sex Robots Can Be Hacked and Turned Violent

Monday, 11 September 2017 - 7:55PM
Technology
Robotics
Weird Science
Monday, 11 September 2017 - 7:55PM
Security Expert Warns that Sex Robots Can Be Hacked and Turned Violent
HBO
If Westworld has taught us anything, it's that you can't program a robot to feel human emotions and then attempt to have your way with it without some kind of objection - likely a very violent objection.

Apparently, though, the dangers of robot playthings - even the supposedly benign robots designed for, shall we say, "adult" entertainment - aren't any different to the kinds of security concerns you have with your PC or phone. Sex with robots is likely to become an increasingly popular pastime over the next few decades, but when that time comes, it's important to take precautions. The last thing you want is for your android friend with benefits to catch a virus.

No, seriously, that's a concern - an insecure wifi connection could let hackers use your sexbot for all kinds of nefarious, and potentially deadly, purposes. Cybersecurity researcher Nick Patterson from Deakin University recently warned that as sexbots take off in popularity, they'll become more advanced and likely become wifi compatible, so it'll be important to ensure that they're properly protected from malware. These machines will be pretty strong and capable, which will mean that hackers could use them to put their owners' lives at risk:

Opening quote
"Hackers can hack into a robot or a robotic device and have full control of the connections, arms, legs and other attached tools like in some cases knives or welding devices. Often these robots can be upwards of 200 pounds, and very strong. Once a robot is hacked, the hacker has full control and can issue instructions to the robot. The last thing you want is for a hacker to have control over one of these robots! Once hacked they could absolutely be used to perform physical actions for an advantageous scenario or to cause damage."
Closing quote


This isn't an exaggeration. A recent symposium on robotic security showed off how several commercial and home-use robots can currently be easily hacked in order to display violent behavior. This is going to be a far greater concern when people are trusting these kinds of robots in intimate, exposed settings that could end nastily should the robot have been infected with new, dangerous programming.

In this case, as with many other elements of security surrounding robots in the future, the issue is not necessarily in ensuring that robots don't rise up against us of their own volition. Instead, yet again, it seems that the biggest threat that technology poses to humanity is that it allows other humans to do unspeakably cruel things seemingly without consequences.



There's no escaping the fact that the future is going to involve a lot more robots that are used for sex - this is naturally a field of robotics that's seeing a lot of funding, and one that people are worried about, especially as it pertains to designing AI that desires sexual intimacy from its owner. It's an ethically murky subject at best, and one that only becomes more complicated when you consider the potential danger that lovebots may pose should someone manage to alter their programming.
 
So if you're considering shopping for a robot companion at any point in the future, and you're looking at one that's wifi enabled, ensure that it has a good antivirus software.
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