Friday, April 22, 2005

Robot sex dolls

"They are almost impossible to distinguish from the real thing, but I am still developing improvements and I will only be happy when what I have is better than the real thing."

I've been meaning to post some thoughts on sexbots for some time, and this article gives me the perfect excuse.

My theory is that the sex-android industry -- now in its infancy -- will be nothing less than a driving force behind the race to true artificial intelligence (AI), just as the entertainment industry has fueled exponentially complex computer-generated imagery/animation.





In the case of anthropomorphic sex dolls (think Daryl Hannah's Pris from "Blade Runner"), the market is conceivably limitless -- and by no means confined to a male demographic, as illustrated by Jude Law's character in "A.I.". Wily advertising and improving technology have the potential to ensure a future in which recreational sex with simulated humans is not merely tolerated by the majority of "straights," but relatively ubiquitous. After all, is it really "cheating" on a human partner if the object of one's affections is a (presumably) nonsentient machine? Intimate relationships with simulacra will bend the parameters of the "acceptable," perhaps irrevocably.

Roboticist Hans Moravec argues that AI will reach fruition only if robots can be mainstreamed, much how home computers have evolved from eccentric gadgets in the 1980s to near-essential personal assistants in the early 21st century. In a similar manner, candidate sexbots must reach a certain critical market-appeal if they're to become more human -- or, to quote Dr. Eldon Tyrell from "Blade Runner," "more human than human."

Continuing consumer demand will entail better, more realistic sexbots until, eventually, a sort of cyber-erotic singularity is reached. In this final stage of sexbot evolution, our creations will be endowed with intelligence: a dramatic contrast to today's fumbling attempts.

20 comments:

Jaya said...

wow! robot lovers? i'm so behind the times. :)

RJU said...

This whole idea seems perverse to me. If someone actually needs an expensive machine in order to masturbate, they have lost whatever it is that makes them human.

Mac said...

I find the idea pretty ghoulish, given the current state-of-the-art. The question I'm interested in is how "perverse" this will seem when the simulated human is indistinguishable -- or virtually indistinguishable, for the purposes of having sex -- from an authentic human being.

(Where's Philip K. Dick when you need him?)

Anonymous said...

But will we still have to buy them dinner?
--WMB

JohnFen said...

Never underestimate the power of the human fetish. While it's not my thing, I don't think I'd go nearly so far as to say people who'd be (and are, with things like the RealDoll) into it are lacking a component of humanity.

In fact, I could make a pretty good argument that it could enhance a person's humanity in an odd way. Like most technology, now that I think of it.

In any case, I think Mac's right on the money about this kind of thing potentially being the driver behind some great advances. It worked for the VCR and for multimedia streaming on the net.

Anonymous said...

Most (all?) technological innovation is driven by sex (cars, the internet, dvds...), so it's logical for it to be the driving factor in AI as well.

I've had sex with human prostitutes, and paying for it just ain't the same as just getting it. So I don't think sex with robots will be for me.

But lots of people pay for
prostitutes and seem to enjoy, so I imagine this will actually have an audience. I wonder what will happen to human prostitutes if robots sex slaves that are indistiguisable from humans come along.

KennyJC said...

Bring 'em on!

JohnFen said...

I wonder what will happen to human prostitutes if robots sex slaves that are indistiguisable from humans come along.

My prediction: streetwalkers will vanish, and already-expensive high-end callgirls will remain human, and get even more expensive. To take it a step further, there will be two kinds of peep show/strip clubs, too: cheap, robot ones and high-end, human ones.

Real flesh-and-blood porn will become a luxury of the wealthy. They'll be able to stop eating meals off of naked women show off their status.

JohnFen said...

Oh, I should add to that: human prostitutes and streetwalkers will still exist in poverty-stricken areas (where robots would be too expensive), and they'll probably still be addicts.

Anonymous said...

What will happen is ther will be a huge underground black market for the child sex robot...humanity has a very dark side...
Do we give the molesters ther own childbot so they will leave the real kids alone? But ought a depraved act be not alowed, no matter what the object of the degeneracy?
All I need is a hot spellcheker fem bot that looks like a 18, ok 16, year old Elizabith Hurley ;]

TheUltimateCyn said...

as a victim of personals that go nowhere and being home alone a lot... I say, bring them on, they would probably be able to program him to at least stand to be in the room with me for more than 10 minutes [which I think would be the record]...
lonliness breeds some funky shit guys...

Ken said...

"But ought a depraved act be not alowed, no matter what the object of the degeneracy?"

What exactly is a "depraved act"? They are trying to ban gay marriage, and extramarital sex is already illegal in the state of Virginia. Incest is a FELONY punishable with up to 10 years in prison in Georgia.

Why should the government be given the power to decide who (or what) we can and can't fuck? How is any of that the government's business? See something wrong with this picture?

Anonymous said...

"All I need is a hot spellcheker fem bot that looks like a 18, ok 16, year old Elizabith Hurley ;]"

Don't know about the hot part but you definitely need the spellchecker!

TheUltimateCyn said...

Oh, don't forget a blow job is illegal in most states too, which really sucks [heehee] for guys who like them and the gals who like to give them. That really is bullshit -

Anonymous said...

In the case of anthropomorphic sex dolls (think Daryl Hannah's Pris from "Blade Runner")...

Minor point of note: Bladerunner's replicants were not robots; they were flesh-and-blood genetically engineered humanoids. Lab grown superhumans basically...

Mac said...

"Bladerunner's replicants were not robots; they were flesh-and-blood genetically engineered humanoids."

It seems like a lot of critics/commentators miss this point -- and I hope I'm not one of them! I used the term "doll" figuratively.

Anonymous said...

I figured you knew better Mac. But given the subject of the post, coupled with the ambiguity of the reference, I felt it important to make the clarification. God knows we don't need people pointing at you going, "See? Even Mac Tonnies says they're robots!" :D

Mac said...

That would be very lamentable. ;-)

Mac said...

...Although it depends on the definition of "robot." One tends to think of a robot as something mechanical-looking, but "robot" doesn't necessarily mean "nuts and bolts."

Anonymous said...

Hmm... well... most of what I'm finding thru searching seems to indicate that the specific term "robot" implicitly includes a mechanical aspect, even if not immediately apparent; Wikipedia seems to cover it pretty well.

I do note that genetic engineering is sometimes blanketed with bionics and cybernetics under the epithet "biorobotics"...