Sex robots could be hijacked by hackers and used to cause harm or even kill people, a cybersecurity expert has warned.
Artificial intelligence researchers have consistently warned of the security risks posed by internet-connected robots, with hundreds recently calling on governments to ban weaponized robots.
The latest warning comes from a cybersecurity expert who made the prophecy to several U.K. newspapers.
"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," Nicholas Patterson, a cybersecurity lecturer at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, told the Star.
"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."
Researchers have already discovered security flaws with Bluetooth-enabled sex toys, which hackers could control from remote locations. One such example, of a vulnerable butt plug, was revealed last year.
In November, experts wrote a commentary for the scientific journal Nature that outlined a scenario in which rogue artificial intelligence hijacked a brain-computer interface. In such a situation, a person's thoughts, decisions and emotions could be taken over by AI and manipulated against the person's will.
A hypothetical example of how such a scenario might play out, according to the authors of the piece, would be if a paralyzed man using a brain-computer interface took a dislike to someone. That could be misinterpreted as a command to harm that person even if no direct order is given.
"Technological developments mean that we are on a path to a world in which it will be possible to decode people's mental processes and directly manipulate the brain mechanisms underlying their intentions, emotions and decisions; where individuals can communicate with others simply by thinking; and where powerful computational systems linked directly to people's brains facilitate their interactions with the world such that their mental and physical abilities are greatly enhanced," the researchers wrote.
"The possible clinical and societal benefits of neurotechnologies are vast. To reap them, we must guide their development in a way that respects, protects and enables what is best in humanity."