TECH
06/05/2014 05:27 BST | Updated 06/05/2014 05:59 BST

Robots: Does Artificial Intelligence Terrify Or Arouse You?

A new poll has revealed a third of Britons fear the rise of robots. But others find them unusually sexy.

One in six of those asked said they would consider getting intimate with a 'sexbot'. Twice as many said they feared that the same machines would end up taking their jobs.

Or in other words, two-thirds of Britons are not nearly as scared as they should be by the inexorable rise of the machine, while some people appear to be lacking in genuine human contact.

sexy robot

The future: A couple of drinks before back to yours and then butchered in your sleep.

The survey aimed to gauge the public's response to robots at a time when the technology is advancing rapidly.

Martin Smith, professor of robotics at the University of Middlesex, said: "While many of us worry about the role of technology and machines in modern society, robots are increasingly being developed for important roles that will help protect and improve our lives.

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"As with the android policemen in new TV series Almost Human, it is true that robots are being increasingly used for tasks that put human lives at risk – a computer-controlled machine can be programmed to approach a terrorist in a suicide vest or clear a building overtaken by gunmen.

"Though many fear their jobs will be taken over by machines, it is more likely that robots will be used as assistants, and the future workforce could have the benefit of avoiding hazardous and repetitive tasks rather than suffer mass redundancies."

The poll of attitudes to technology and robots was conducted among 2,000 members of the British public to mark the launch of a new sci-fi TV police drama, Almost Human, which features an android cop.

More than a quarter of participants believed that robots or intelligent computers would be capable of feeling human emotion in the future.

A total of 46% thought technology was evolving too quickly and undermining traditional ways of life, while 35% were concerned about the use of unmanned military drones.

And 42% expected to see teachers being replaced by robots in classrooms of the future.

More than one in 10 (11%) said they would like a robot child similar to David in the movie A.I. and replacing a beloved animal with a robot appealed to nearly a fifth of pet owners.

Questioned about "sexbots", 17% said they would go to bed with one, while 29% had no problem with the idea of other people enjoying android sex. But 41% thought the notion was "creepy" and a further 14% said robots should not be used in this way.

Almost Human starts on the UKTV channel Watch tonight at 9pm.