The Guardian has a fascinating article, along with a video that is actually interesting and informative instead of being simply clickbait.
The race to build the world’s first sex robot
Harmony is a prototype, a robotic version of the company’s hyper-realistic silicone sex toy, the RealDoll. The Realbotix room where she was assembled was lined with varnished pine surfaces covered with wires and circuit boards, and a 3D printer whirred in the corner, spitting out tiny, intricate parts that will be inserted beneath her PVC skull. Her hazel eyes darted between me and her creator, Matt McMullen, as he described her accomplishments.
Harmony is the culmination of 20 years’ work making sex dolls, and five years of robot research and development. McMullen’s customers want something as lifelike as possible – it’s his brand’s USP. After his team had made their silicone and steel dolls as “human” as they could, the way ahead began to feel inevitable, irresistible: they would animate them, giving them personality and bringing them to life.
The major breakthrough of McMullen’s prototype is artificial intelligence that allows it to learn what its owner wants and likes. It will be able to fill a niche that no other product in the sex industry currently can: by talking, learning and responding to her owner’s voice, Harmony is designed to be as much a substitute partner as a sex toy.
And for people who don’t believe that “The Internet Was Made for Porn”, there’s this:
If a domestic service humanoid is ever developed, it will be as a result of the market for sex robots. Online pornography pushed the growth of the internet, transforming it from a military invention used by geeks and academics to a global phenomenon. Pornography was the motivator behind the development of streaming video, the innovation of online credit card transactions and the drive for greater bandwidth.
And here’s where some people start having ethical problems.
He has never considered that there could be something emotionally empty about replacing a human presence with circuitry and silicone. “The purpose of True Companion is to provide unconditional love and support. How could there be anything negative about that? What can be the downside of having a robot that’s there to hold your hand, literally and figuratively?”
The idea of sex robots have been around for ages, but now that they are actually on the horizon, I can imagine that there will be more of these articles and conversations.
It’s a long article, and the accompanying video is about 15 minutes, which covers some more background. I found it well worth the time, if you like the “science meets culture” kinds of things.
I, for one, welcome our new robot dominatrix overlords.