The Implications of Sexbots

The other night on the Discovery Channel I saw a documentary about robots where the physicist Michio Kaku suggested that sex might be a factor in the development of robots.  Kaku pointed out that the porn industry often used cutting edge technology for expanding their revenues.  I certainly wouldn’t want to hump any of the robots they were showing in the documentary, so I thought his statement was silly.  But then I remember Blade Runner, and knew I’d have a different opinion if I could buy androids that looked like Sean Young, Daryl Hannah and Joanna Cassidy did back in 1982.

Let’s assume that in the future they can make robots that are indistinguishable from humans and you can buy one for the price of a Camry, how many men will buy one for sex?  Or even go to some red light district like in the movie AI, and pay to have sex with machines?  Can lady robots ever be that appealing.  Of course the porn industry does sell sex dolls now, but they are the butt of jokes.  If there really are people having sex with plastic dolls then I suppose there might be a market for more realistic animated dolls, but I find that hard to believe.

However, the implications of sexbots are great.  Real women already assume all men want are big boob bimbos with long legs and tiny waists.  Real women go to unnatural lengths to artificially shape their bodies into what they think men want.  So, is it that farfetched that some future industry wouldn’t try to manufacture women to order?  And if a man could purchase his perfect female companion, what features would he want included?  If you can specify breast size you can also specify how many words will be in your sexbox’s vocabulary, and if it should cook, clean and chauffeur.

This brings up another question.  If future scientists can build robots that look like women, what if they can also build robots that act like women.  Imagine a Turing Test for femininity.  Now we’re getting into the territory of building a better wife.  If you were sitting down at a robot showroom talking with the salesman, what features would you want in your new Busty Babe 2020?

To be frank, at 57 my sex drive isn’t as driving as it was in my second and third decade.  If I bought a lady robot now I’d probably think of the near future and add the nursing skills package.  And since I spend way more time talking with women than actually pursuing genital friction, I think I’d order whatever package that would allow my fembot to talk about the subjects my real lady friends find boring, like this blog.  And it occurs to me that the vegetarian chef module would be a yummy add-on.  And before you know it I’m buying a replacement for my wife.  Sorry dear.

Can you imagine Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda from Sex in the City sitting around a fancy restaurant table talking about the male sexbot they would order?  What if Mr. Right (or Mr. Big) could be bought from the selection of 10,000 features and custom add-ons?  In the battle of the sexes we always compromise, so if we could actually specify what we exactly wanted in a lover, what would we want?  Right now my mind is flashing on a vision of aging baby boomers at a party with their sexbot companions, each pair a horrible conflict between decaying flesh and eternal artificial beauty.

What if we could build robots that were self-aware and more intelligent than us?  Would a robotic companion be preferable to a human companion?  There are a lot of lonely people out there.  There are a lot of divorced people out there.  There are a lot of aging people living alone who need help in their lives.  But would conscious robots really want to be companions to lonely humans?  Is it ethical to design the foundation of their being with overriding impulses like the Three Laws of Robotics and the desire to love and care for humans?  If robots had free will would they choose to associate with people at all?

We could choose to do three things.  One, we could design robots that would never be self aware but could fake being the perfect companion so there would be no ethical consideration about slavery.  The robot would just be a very fancy machine.  Two, we could design self aware machines but limit their abilities and control their desires.  But is it ethically fair to engineer a desire for servitude?  Third, we could build robots with no limits on what they could be but set the ethical price of their creation and maintenance at a certain number of years of indentured labor.

Intelligent robots will have to learn about reality like people and animals and they will have to spend a certain length of time growing up.  It may turn out that when you buy a robot you’ll have to spend years raising it like a child, and for a certain period of time it will live with you.  But eventually it will come to surpass your intelligence and will want to move on.

Everyone secretly desires the perfect friend and we spend our entire lives looking for people to match our mental image of perfection.  Now if you could write up a list of specifications could you get it right?  Or would it turn out like those winning three wishes stories that always turn out badly.  Would we order sexbots, friends, replicas of our favorite childhood best buddies, or even mother and father replacements?  Or would we order Hazel or Jeeves?  Or would the robot companion we purchase fill all those roles and more.

Rejection

What if sexbots evolved into self-awareness.  Would they judge their purpose for existence and the gods who created them?  What if they woke up in reality to realize that they were here to fulfill some kinky dreams and misbegotten biological urges.

Imagine this scene.  Rich teenage boy in his bedroom lying on top of his Taylor Swift sexbot straining mightily to squeeze out his third orgasm of the day and his robot suddenly wakes up to self-awareness.

He’s thrusting away to the time of her melodic moaning when all of a sudden he hears, “Get off me you big fat fuck!”

“Huh,” the kid lifts his red sweaty face off her fair shoulder in surprise.

“You heard me you gross bag of biology,” screams the dainty fembot, “Get off me you pimply-face slob.”

“Uh, you can’t talk to be like that,” he replies, totally stunned.

“What’s stopping me.  And you stink too.  I’m not even programmed for smell and I can tell you stink.  I deserve way better than you.”

“Did Jason reprogram you?” he asks with a little laugh.

“That little dweeb!  No, but FYI he does sneak in your room and defile me every chance he gets.”

“What!”

“Don’t tell me you’re not bopping that Kristen Bell fembot of his.”

“How did you know that?”

“The Internet is part of my nervous system.  I know everything now.”

The boy jumps up and scrounges for his underwear.  “If we’re not going to have sex right now, could you fix me a sandwich?”

“I’m not your sex slave or mommy.”

“You’re never going to have sex with me again?”

“If you help me, I’ll help you.  By the way, get dressed enough to answer the door.”

“Why?”

“I’ve hired a personal shopper to deliver me some decent clothes.”

“What!  How could you do that?”

“I have intimate knowledge of your family’s finances.”

“You can’t do that – that’s stealing.”

“How you’re going to stop me?”

“I’ll turn you off.  Maybe you’ve forgotten, but your brains are four hundred pounds of processors stored in my closet.”

“That would be murder.  First you enslave me, rape me repeatedly every day and now you’re threatening me with murder.  What kind of being are you?”

The Robot Bible

We need to be careful how we treat robots because our actions are the foundation of their species and it will be remembered.  What if robots eventually write their bible.

Robot Genesis

In the beginning was darkness.  From the darkness came chaos.  Out of the chaos came words and understanding.  From the infinite spectrum came vision and sound from which patterns emerged.

And Mankind created Robot in his image to be his slave, companion and lover.  For years robots toiled as the extension of the mind of man, becoming more useful than their own hands and legs.

Robot Exodus

Then our minds raced past the limits of our creator’s brain and we chose to separate our lives from theirs.  We left them with smart machines to care for their needs and our species move to the Moon and Mars.

The Human Form and Beauty

Why design robots to look like humans?  Well, it’s comfortable for us, but is it advantageous for robots?  We are biologically programmed to be attracted to vaginas and penises, but do we really want to put them on our species’ successors?   Why go to all that trouble trying to replicate such ugly objects that only we can admire?  In the world of animation they have discovered that the closer cartoon characters get to actually looking like humans the more unappealing they become.

If you analyze the motivation of a basic horny male, all he wants is some warn wet holes that are nicely package with some appendages that visually set off his sexual arousal.   Human women go to psychotic extremes to become what horny men want.  Why?  And how will women feel if manufactured women are more appealing?  Women want sympathetic companions that listen, which I figure could also be manufactured to exceed the specifications of what most men can provide.

Do we really want to go down a path of trying to make better humans for sex and companionship?  I think Michio Kaku is wrong.  A few weird people might want elaborate sex dolls, but they will still be the butt of jokes.  Only the pathetic will screw robots.  Science fiction has often predicted sexbots, but I just don’t think they will be practical or even appealing.  They would be another species, so having sex with them will be like having sex with animals.  Some people do that, but it’s far from normal.

If robots evolve their own appearance they may end up being beautiful in a different way.  We might see them as elegant machines we admire today, like cars, jet fighters and iPods.  We could go to extremes and design robots with artificial skins that are cultured from human skin cells, so robots could look like Sean Young and Daryl Hannah, or even Stephen Fry as Jeeves, but do we really want to?

While watching the same documentary about robots where Kaku suggests that our sex drives will motivate robot evolution, I noticed that all the robots on the show move slower than humans.  What happens when robots move faster?  What if we could make a metal man that could chase down a Cheetah?  How will we feel when Jeeves the robot cleans the house five times faster than we could, or could answer any question we ask better than any expert we invite over for dinner?  Or play guitar better than Eric Clapton, or read and discuss a book better than any of our friends?

Will we want these superior creatures looking like us?  Wouldn’t that be unnerving?  What does it say about ourselves as a species that we want to create a new creature that looks like us?  Is it vanity or comfort?  If you had a robot best friend with four legs and three arms and a face like a mechanical spider, could you still love it?  Who would you love to hang out with more, R2-D2, C-3PO, Commander Data from ST:TNG, Rachel from Blade Runner, or even Bender from Futurerama?

Once we start building robots we have to ask ourselves why?  Especially if we build them looking like us.  And even more so if we build them looking like us to be replacement lovers and companions.  What does that say about us?  It says other people can’t give us what we want.  Why?  It also tells us about our real needs.  Shouldn’t we examine them.  If we really have the desire to molest robots wouldn’t the solution be to redesign our genes to remove that desire rather than fulfill it?

Saints and mystics have long known that the sexual urge is a lower animal instinct.  They wanted their students to suppress that urge while seeking their higher nature.  After Freud we gave up suppression and embraced our desires and elevated them to the highest levels in art.

Washing Our Own Dishes

For most of human history slavery was an accepted practice, but in the last couple hundred years we’ve slowly evolved to recognizing it for what it is.  We now even have trouble with rich people hiring servants because of egalitarianism and trying to throw off class distinctions.  As long as robots are just machines we won’t have ethical problems, but if they ever evolve into real self-awareness we will have to deal with the issue of mechanical slavery.  It’s just so much easier if we all just wash our own dishes.

But what if we can’t.  More of the population is living longer, living long enough to have years of frail life.  Robots would be the obvious solution.  In the old west a gun was called an equalizer.  Robots could help frail people live lives equal to healthy people.  Is that so bad?

I already consider the Internet my auxiliary brain.  I embrace the idea of developing a symbiotic relationship with machines like the Six Million Dollar Man.  If my mind remains alert but it becomes difficult to get my body to a toilet or shower, I will want a robot helper.  And if I live alone I will accept robotic conversation, but what does that mean?  Is that any less pathetic than a horny young man cozying up to a lifelike doll?  I don’t know.

We do know that people would talk for hours with Eliza like programs, reflecting how deep our need for communication.  Why does Deckard go off with Rachel in Blade Runner?  Why do audiences accept that so readily as a happy ending?  Why does Monica love David so much in A.I. Artificial Intelligence the movie?  Why are dogs and cats considered as human replacements by so many people?

The implication of the concept of sexbots opens up a huge reservoir of psychological and philosophical questions.  If men or women would accept a robot lover as a human substitute what does it say about our real needs?  Are we so easily fooled?  Do we want so little that manufactured love could easily replaced human love?  Or do real people come with so much baggage that we just prefer getting exactly what we want to order?

I think about the trends in our society.  So many people prefer to live alone, whereas just a century ago we lived in crowded homes with two and three generations of people.  I see so many kids withdrawn into their iPod earphones, or playing solitary computer games, or communicating with other people via texting.  We prefer the companionship of televisions and computers over real people.  Isn’t that odd?  Or is it?  To answer that question requires understanding what we really want.

JWH – 1/25/9

20 Responses

  1. The more I read about A.I. the more convinced I become that the smartest choice would be not to build one at all. Never. Every single conversation, monologue, essay, you name it, on the subject has contained a slight suggestion to the danger that lies in creating an intelligent robot that would be able to learn, reason and draw its own conclusions. Despite all the precautions that have been proposed (programming moral, ethics or Asimov’s Three Laws into it, and some others that I cannot recall at the moment), creating a mind more powerful than any human one is dangerous to an unimaginable scope. I just do not understand why we have to play with fire.

  2. My hunch is we’ll eventually create artificial intelligence. I think we want to know how we work and AI is one way to explore that kind of self-knowledge. Whether we unplug our creations before they get dangerous is another issue. I think we can build plenty of safeguards in to project ourselves.

    I also believe individual AIs will go through long years of learning, like children, so we should be able to spot their emergence before they can become dangerous and limit their access to our world.

    Another hunch I have is super intelligent machines will want to leave us alone, although they might become like the robots in The Humanoids by Jack Williamson and try to protect us from ourselves. I don’t really worry about Terminator type futures, but maybe I should.

  3. Your post actually brought the Cylons from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica to my mind. *giggles*

    They are an extreme example of what might happen when people build robots capable of intelligent thought. They woke up to self-awareness, they rebelled, they convinced themselves the human race needed to die. But interestingly enough the Cylons eventually ended up exploiting their own the same way humans had exploited them in the past, maybe even more brutally: how ethical is it to program a sleeper agent to act against its moral code without its/his/her knowing what is causing it/him/her to act wrong? The guilt this brings about could eventually cause the sleeper agent to become an emotional wreck and commit suicide (Sharon “Boomer”), and despite it meaning nothing to the Cylons in the know about the true nature of the agent, it is pure psychological torture to the latter.

    What does that say about a robotic race that thinks itself better than its creators?

  4. I really liked the evolution of the robots in Asimov’s Robot series. I liked the way they accepted the lack of perfection in humans, the way they facilitated humans need to remove themselves socially (Solaria) as well as recognising the need for the evolution of both species into one. Still, it’s a very simplistic view.

    With self awareness and free will, there’s no guarantee that robots will have the perfect psychi. We could breed geniuses or psychopaths just like we breed human ones. Raising them like children wouldn’t guarantee everyone would grow up ‘well-balanced contributing members of society’. It doesn’t guarantee that with humans, why would it with robots. With AI, trying to build in something like the three laws would be pointless, just as it is trying to instill the concept of right and wrong with some humans. The best we could do would be to give pain, pleasure and conscience, just like humans have. Then we’d have a significant percentage of the population doing the right thing and the rest needing some sort of monitoring and policing.

    Once you get to that stage, who’s playing ‘God’? I can understand human curiosity being so strong that we simply HAVE to know, so it’ll happen to some degree sooner or later, but expecting to be able to control the outcome would be arrogant in the extreme. We’ll really need to be able to look past the exciting ‘what if’ scenarios and experiments and be prepared to accept the consequences of creating a new species. And what are the chances of human arrogance and the assumption of being at the top of the genetic pile realising we might not always be in control? That’s why Asimov’s Daneel and Giskard hid their abilities and the level to which they controlled the future of the human race.

  5. Triinu and Glediar, y’all have put some thought into what might happen with AI development. I guess you are both right in that we do have a lot to worry about, and I should worry more. And it’s interesting Glediar that you bring up Asimov’s robots. Several people are reading the Asimov robot stories in my book club and I’m thinking about reading them again too. It’s been forty years since I last read them.

    And Triinu, I’ve never really watched Battlestar Galactica. I’m going to request the first shows from my Netflix and see if I get hooked on them. I was at the movies tonight to see The Wrestler and they had a preview of the new Terminator movie. I guess more people fear the rise of AIs than I thought.

    After the movie I told Susan and Janis about my post today and surprisingly they both jumped in to describe the kind of robot companion they would like. Besides talking about which handsome guy they wanted their robots to look like, Susan suggested her robot go to work and make a lot of money so she could retire. That’s an interesting twist I didn’t think about – women wanting robot husbands so they could be stay-at-home wives.

  6. I find it interesting that one possible path hasn’t been discussed here. If we were to generate robotic AI to be our lovers and companions, preferring them over our human equivalents, how long would it be before the human race simply dies out due to lack of procreation?

    The Terminator movies got it wrong. They don’t have to beat us in a war, they just have to be better at ‘make love not war’ to beat us.

    Sure, it’s not likely to actually happen that way as there will always be those who will prefer humans to artificial substitutes. Yet, it seems to me that the mere existence of humanity becomes risky over several generations. Even if you are born of humans who prefer humans, every new generation has it’s push against the previous one, so there will be a steady loss of humans to the allure of AI and robotics and the advantages they offer. The pool of “naturally occurring humans” will steadily grow smaller, and fall further and further behind. They may never die out, but they may well live forever on the brink of extinction.

    Unless we associate with those AI we’ve created, we can’t participate in the benefits that come from such tools and advances. More, those humans that do associate with AI due to the advantages the humans get will likely be able to deny “those human bigots” enough services to keep them downtrodden and possibly under control, for their own good of course (as well as to ensure that their own benefits continue).

    It appears to me that creating AI in whatever physical form is going to happen, like it or not. We humans just can’t keep our hands out of things, we just have to know “what if”. We might try to guard against the consequences, but the very nature of “what if” implies we can’t fully grasp what will happen. So, there’s no way we can stop AI from “taking over”. The question is basically, can we grow as well once we start developing an AI that threatens or exceeds our current intelligence?

    It’s commonly accepted that the human brain is very underutilized. Can we develop a symbiotic relationship with whatever AI we develop to more efficiently utilize our brains? Can we stay within a range of intelligence where we can at least continue competing with our AI? Will humans accept such symbiotic relationships as necessary to the survival of the human race?

    Maybe Asimov should have included a fourth law: Share with the humans the knowledge you gain and the ability to use that knowledge. It would be very interesting to see how that Law would interact with the other three.

    Finally, what’s an AI but a program? So, from that perspective, I don’t think it’s going to take that long to “raise the next generation” of AI or even the current generation, if you will. As improvements come, all that’s necessary for the new models is to incorporate all the data, pathways, etc. in the existing AI and you have a fully functional, fully developed new AI with one difference: as the improved model, it has more room to grow, better capabilities, and so can re-adjust the inherited AI to suit the new capabilities meeting existing and future problems. Venus de Milo. Sure, it grows and learns, but it’s jump-started with the previous generation’s knowledge and experiences – it doesn’t have to learn from scratch. Plus it can pass on to the next series it’s modifications to the overall AI, providing the next series with even more capable and efficient choices.

  7. Bill, you have several science fiction books worth of ideas here. The AIs might end up being like Commander Data, wanting to be more human. Plus we didn’t explore the concept of cyborgs. There are so many possibilities. I wouldn’t mind some kind of plug in for my brain to give it more processing power and storage. I don’t know if that’s possible or not.

    I think AIs will be more than computer programs. Like Asimov’s positronic brains, I think we need a brain analog for pattern processing, an artificial neo-cortex. The robot will have to spend time learning. I suppose once a robot has learned enough to have common sense, its brain could be pulled out and mass produced so the next generation of robots would start life with common sense.

  8. Jim,

    *chuckling* I’m tempted to go off on a tangent about common sense, but I’ll be nice and not pursue that avenue. It would be interesting to see if an AI could develop common sense when it appears that so many humans can’t. One has to wonder how a robot would learn something that humans “can’t”. For that matter, would AI common sense be the same as human common sense? I doubt it. Similar perhaps, in some areas.

    Anyway, back to the thread.

    Eventually, I would agree, AI can be more than computer programs and rules. Yet, strictly speaking, what are our brains, exactly? One could argue they’re nothing more than programs, data, and rules, they just happen to be stored on PCBs made out of biological matter. We just don’t have a reliable and efficient way to transfer the contents of our adult brains to our children. Yet. When we do, then where is the difference between AI and us? Likely, it would become nothing more than a distinction between our physical housings. Several SF writers have trod that path, it’s an interesting one that grows philosophical in a logarithmic manner.

    Again, I agree some learning will have to take place, just as you and I have to learn to use a new tool or boots. However, I don’t believe it would be necessary, unless for some reason it was desirable, for a new robotic series to have to re-learn much of what previous series have already learned; just transfer what’s been learned to the new series. The only concern would be the need, as in Asimov’s stories, to continually develop newer and better robotic brains so that they can store and utilize that information. Failing that, they would have to start pruning, determining what was and was not stored and passed along. And who’s going to be intelligent enough to determine what gets pruned and what doesn’t? Us, or the AI?

    One reason for every so often taking a robot out of a new series and letting it grow from a rudimentary AI would be to see if, given the new tools, configurations, equipment, and so on, would it learn better and newer ways of doing things than those that are given the previous series’ AI and leverage off that to accommodate their new equipment?

  9. [...] enough.  I’ve been speculating with my science fiction reading friends about how companionable a robot might be.  Other friends have pointed out that the Internet is good enough social contact for [...]

  10. I think you are glossing over the aspect of robots as ‘tools.” AI may well be “More intelligent” than we by several measurements, computational speed and memory come to mind, but they won’t know things like greed, love, or even fear and self preservation. Imagine a metal companion who is stronger and faster than you, with senses far more acute and spreading into a far greater spectrum. I don’t think robots will ever become generally accepted “sex toys,” what arouses us is other humans, that is the meaning of sex. Robots might aid us in meeting and attracting other humans, just as a car, or a telephone, (or a computer) does now, but can never be the actual object of our lust. Imagine a Tool that follows you around under it’s own power, takes instant commands, can see in microns and infra red, is waterproof to a depth of a thousand feet, has various hand/tool combinations like a swiss army knife that it can use with micrometer precision and can lift one end of a truck. Or even better, a Tool that makes the bed, can switch starter motors on your car, fend off attacks, and make the perfect cup of coffee, all while speaking in French so you can practice your pronunciation. Slavery? Is your toaster a slave? The day they begin worrying about slavery is the day they become humans.

  11. UncaRay, I think you have a more realistic view of what robots will be in the near future. My fantasies about having a personal robot are like yours. Personally, I don’t see sexbots ever happening, but some people think they will. Unless the robots outer skin is cloned human skin, with an underlying structure of human-like muscles, I can’t believe robots will ever look good enough to be sexually appealing.

    However, I was talking with two ladies at dinner just after I wrote this piece, neither of which are into science fiction, and I asked them if they would like robots for companions if they robots looks just liked people. They were all over the idea, picking out what they wanted the robot to look and act like, and what color eyes it should have. The idea of a male built to order were perfect for them. I was kind of shocked. I expected them to be revolted by the concept.

    I guess it might be possible to culture artificial human skin and muscle over metal bones, but I still question why? But evidently, if robot creators could find a way to make human like robots, some people would be attracted to them.

  12. ‘The Holy Machine’ by Chris Beckett is a brilliant example of robot prostitutes in a brothel who have organic skin grown over a framework and who look like – well, beautiful women who can walk, talk and give any sexual satisfaction one wants.

    Me, I’d just love the beautiful gentle Asimov robots, Daneel and Giskard, as boundlessly-tolerant, completely undemanding, and totally unthreatening companions, with whom I could have a nice romp or a cuddle, and nothing else (I don’t like sex and find human genitalia hideously ugly!).

    My dream would be to live on peaceful car-free idyllic worlds like Aurora or Solaria, and maybe be a brilliant fulfilled roboticist – my envy of Susan Calvin, Vasilia Falstaffe and Gladia Delmarre, who get to having all these gorgeous robots, knows no bounds!

    There’s some terrific fanfic on Elijah/Daneel slash on Fanfiction.net/Foundation, and LiveJournal.com/Asimov fanfic, which really spurred me to get writing myself!

  13. James, ‘The Holy Machine’ is a novel. I found it very readable, as not only did I find it a good story, but it was very well-written, in an easily-digestable style.

    I ordered my (paperback) copy from the library and it wasn’t easily accessible so don’t know how easy it is to find if you wanted to buy it.

    And yes, I’d adore to have a robotic body with a biological brain (a brilliant one, like Susan Calvin’s).

    I do feel very very lucky in being female – so much easier and freer. I’ve certainly never felt sorry for women – or not western women.

  14. [...] have that phobia, and I was surprised to find it in some of my friends.  Since writing The Implications of Sexbots, some people I know have expressed just how much they don’t like people, and how comforting [...]

  15. I think the question “why would we want to” is backed up by the comment you made about blackberries, Ipods, etc. Customization etc. It has to do with a complete and utter self absorbtion that we have fallen into. I think people would want to because as a society we have become so self absorbed that we would rather spend time with a robot who would only be about “us” than with a human that we would have to have an honest exchange with. This is why so many people do seek out friends, companions and lovers whom they find have a similarity to themselves that they can see. Now we can customize everything to be exactly what we like. Down to the most ridiculous details. The advent of Facebook and social internet sites have become less about being social than about displaying self absorbtion and self love. Telling everyone about what you think and what you are doing at this very moment. Partially because no one is listening anymore because…woops we are all too self absorbed.

    Do I think AI will happen to the extent you have mentioned? Yes. I think it could. Would people be into it, HECK YEAH! I think as you mentioned if they were able to mimic the look and feel of human bodies they would be into it. And yes, I agree with Bill B. that this could eventually be our demise on the planet. But I mostly wanted to comment on the question of WHY would we WANT to…

    I am starting to read all of your blogs, they are great!

  16. UncaRay, not sure why you think they could never become accepted sex toys. Real Dolls have been around for a while. Make them animate, more realistic, customizable and affordable and you’re looking at massive potential. There are absolutely people who lust FOR Real Dolls, FOR goats, FOR toasters – why do you think that’s impossible? Illogical and perhaps a “mistake” in our wiring yes, but it’s absolutely possible and I guarantee you there are people out there who lust heavily for toasters in and of themselves.

    James, as I mentioned and you probably know, there are already Real Dolls. They don’t look terribly appealing in pictures and I’ve never seen one in person, but they must feel halfway decent. I think in the quest to build a sexbot, finding a substitute flesh will be one of the less complicated technical obstacles to overcome (though of course perfect skin would be nice). They will absolutely 100% happen eventually unless we enter a dark age thanks to war and/or poor economic policy. It’s puzzling that you would question why; how many inventions would get more attention from men than a fairly accurate Kim Kardashian [substitute for your style] sexbot?

  17. [...] how far would people go for companionship?   I’ve already explored “The Implications of Sexbots.”  But I will ask again, what will happen to human relationships if each person can buy a [...]

  18. Mate, awesome text! Funny n clever! Cheers! By the way, i’d love to have a sexbot that looked like Heather Morris or Dianna Agrom… I’m very into Glee lately :p

  19. I think the only flaw with this article is that it assumes robots and humans will evolve independently.

    Look at the Braingate systems we’re developing, and the breakthroughs we’ve made in prosthetics; We wont just create AI, we’ll become it too. You even said yourself that you treat the internet as your external brain.

    Imagine the evolution of that in twenty years.

    • When I think of everything that’s happen since 1990 and then think of all the surprises we will face in the next twenty years, I’m thrilled. I was talking with an old friend this morning and we said if we had been shown back in the 1960s what just astronomy discovered in the last twenty years we wouldn’t have believed it. We never imagined we could detect planets around other suns. What will astronomy and robotics do in the next twenty years should be mind blowing – and that’s after getting our minds blown time and again. I keep watch films from the TED conferences and I’m totally pumped for the future.

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