Levy argues that as long as sexbots are artefacts, without ‘artificial consciousness’, there are no ethical implications in having sex with them or using them for prostitution. However, should sexbots attain artificial consciousness, Levy argues there may be both legal and ethical implications not only for humans but for the robots themselves. But even if sexbots are not currently conscious, they do have the external markings of personhood, and we are programming them to be person-like. Indeed, we are programming them to be like a specific type of person: the type of woman who can be owned by a heterosexual man.
If women are the model on which most sexbots are based, we run the risk of recreating essentialised gender roles, especially around sex. And that would be too bad, because sex technology has the potential to alleviate longstanding human problems, for both men and women. Sex tech can help us take on sexual dysfunction and profound loneliness, but if we simply create a new variety of second-class citizen, a sexual creature to be owned, we risk alienating ourselves from each other all over again.