EXCERPT: Meet your New Intimate Partner — The Sexbot
Pushing the envelope even further, companies are now using AI to create the ideal lover. Forget inflatable dolls. The sexually arousing androids (males) and gynoids (females) being developed at California-based Abyss Creations have medical-grade silicone skin, hyper-realistic genitalia, and movable limbs.
Harmony — the company’s star fembot, which went on sale in early 2018 — has an AI brain and animated face to go with her customizable, voluptuous, flexible body. Her head moves around; her eyes (your choice of color) swivel; her eyelids blink; and her lips move when she speaks. Her personality is adjustable — intellectual, moody, quiet, imaginative, and humorous — but she’s fixed on pleasing her human lover.
“They [the human lovers] will be able to talk to their dolls,” explains Matt McMullen, the company CEO, “and the AI will learn about them over time through these interactions, thus creating an alternative form of relationship.” He adds: “The scope of conversations possible with the AI [dolls] is quite diverse, and not limited to sexual subject matter.”
Harmony will function not only as a lover but a personal assistant — a kind of sexy, full-bodied Alexa. According to the company’s website, she will be proficient at searching “for information in the web, or setting reminders, assisting the user with the weather, the time, storytelling, alarms, tasks and to-do lists, but everything will be done with a lot more personality than one would expect from a typical personal assistant-based AI.”
Harmony costs north of $10,000, depending on how many extras you order. And the hefty price tag will only increase with time, as McMullen and his AI experts give Harmony computer vision, a warm skin, automated arms, hands, and legs, as well as touch-sensitive areas all over her body — a few of McMullen’s planned, lifelike upgrades.
“I’ve no doubt some will find it creepy, but the arrival of sexually responsive robots will have enormous consequences,” says computer pioneer David Levy, author of Love and Sex with Robots. “We have already seen rapid changes in human relationships thanks to the internet, mobile devices and social media. The next major advance will enable us to use our technology to have intimate encounters with the technology itself — to fall in love with the technology, to have sex with robots and to marry them.”
Predictably, the burgeoning sexbot industry is not without its critics. Feminists complain sexbots objectify women, and I agree. But I hasten to add high-tech dildos and sperm banks objectify men — neither of which feminists appear to oppose.
Others are concerned that some gynoids come with a “frigid” setting for simulated nonconsensual, rape-like intercourse. Also, at least one company in Japan is selling child-aged sexbots. The current debate is whether such robots end up helping to heat up or cool down a person’s desires to commit actual rape or actual pedophilia.
“If these sexbots do pose significant risks to women and/or to young children, but no action is taken now,” warns John Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University lobbying for government regulations of the nascent sexbot industry, “it may be too late if we wait until millions are already in the hands of actual or potential rapists, actual or potential child molesters … ”
Sexbot brothels have been commonplace in Japan for some while now. But in February 2017, LumiDolls opened an all-fembot brothel in Barcelona, Spain, reportedly the first in Europe.
“You can tell us how you prefer to find her in the room, what kind of clothes you want for her, in what situation,” the LumiDolls website explains. “Do not hesitate to give us all the details of your fantasy to be able to satisfy all your desires and make you live an unforgettable experience.”
The Association of Sex Professionals — which represents human prostitutes — sneered at the very idea of the Barcelona facility, saying: “The sex-affection of a person cannot be provided by a doll … They [the sexbots] do not communicate. They do not listen to you or caress you, they do not comfort you or look at you. They do not give you their opinion or drink a glass of champagne with you.”
Soon after opening, the LumiDolls brothel abandoned (or, some reports say, was evicted from) its location off Barcelona’s famous La Rambla Boulevard. As of this writing, it has a new, secret location and is talking about going global.
Proving, I suppose, there is no stopping science — or the world’s oldest profession.
Michael Guillen is an Emmy award-winning science journalist, and his book The End of Life As We Know It is an expose of the many ways in which science is edging dangerously close to permanently altering our world.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.