Robots cannot only resemble human appearance but also elicit similar physiological responses. A study conducted by researchers from Stanford University found that when study participants touched the robot's sensitive parts, there was hesitation and discomfort, increased alertness, and improved attention.
The humanoid robots verbally instructed the volunteers and asked them to touch their private parts. Based on the participant's reaction, researchers concluded that people react in a primitive way when interacting with robots that look like humans.
Study lead author Jamy Li believes that touch, as part of communication with robots, deserve more studies.
"Our work shows that robots are a new form of media that is particularly powerful," said Li. Experts believe that the employment of touch in human-robot interaction would greatly impact robot design and development of artificial systems in the future.
"What kind of relationships will people develop with these robots? While they are clearly not human, social convention such as body accessibility may apply to robots as well," scientists said.
A Peek At The Future Of Robotics
Will humans refer to humanoid robots as sexual partners in the future?
Japanese android firm, SoftBank thinks so, as they warn buyers of their android robot to refrain from performing sexual acts with the bot.
SoftBank's new generation android robot, Pepper, was developed to help in daily activities in Japan but the company, in its user agreement, stated that, "The policy owner must not perform any sexual act or engage the robot in any indecent behavior."
Many believe that humanoid robots can be objectified as a sexual companion rather than just a bot to help around daily activities. Campaign Against Sex Robots published a paper that the creation of humanoid robots would have negative ramifications, such as sexual objectification of women and children and loss of human empathy.
"As humanoid robots become more widespread it is necessary to develop an engaged ethical response to the development of these new technologies" the group said.
Recently, a 42-year-old man from Hong Kong created his life-like robot that resembles Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson. About 70 percent of the humanoid robot, that can move and respond with phrases, was created using 3D printing technology.
It looks like humanoid robots will soon be part of our everyday existence.