The long wait may soon be over for those who are interested in “dating with high-tech sex robots”. Life-sized sex dolls combined with animatronics and artificial intelligence are starting to hit the market, but can they replace real intimacy and sexuality between real people? Could this AI sex-revolution put an end to the sex industry and eventually replace human escorts, sex workers and even casual tinder dates all together?
Although robotic sex-dolls are still largely in the developmental stage, these prototypes offer inklings of what fully functional sex robots may look like in the not-so-distant future.
With testing underway, this is also a time when public discussion may very well influence the design and appearance of artificial lovers—not to mention the ways in which people may interact with them.
Today you can already take home a robotic love doll or download an AI sex doll personality for romantic and sexual conversations.
And while certain “sexbot” and AI sex doll projects are further along than others, rival companies are emerging that want a piece of this potentially very lucrative robot pie, which actually poses serious thread for real intimacy between actual living people.
Some of the newest dolls or “sex robots” respond to touch. They talk. Their artificial emotional intimacy is powered by artificial intelligence, therefore they seem to be very real and human-like.
Simon Dubé, who researches human sexuality, has recently hosted a virtual academic conference titled “Love and Sex with Robots,” attended by around 130 academics and industry leaders. He says new possibilities for human-robot relationships are emerging. It’s the wild west, as companies experiment and market new types of “experiences.”
Furthermore, Matt McMullen, the founder of AI and robotics startup, Realbotix, says customers don’t necessarily want robots that are just like humans.
“We’ve done many, many dolls that are gender fluid or may have one or both genders,” McMullen says. “I think people like to kind of experiment where they may come up with something that may not or could not exist in reality.”
Customisation is becoming commonplace. For example, for 3,000 bucks, you can order Marvella, a talking, life-size doll. You choose her face and skin tone.
Academics are interested in understanding the intimacy between humans and their robotic companions, observing with great curiosity where the technology is headed. And if you ever wondered how much it costs to get yourself an advanced sex-doll of this kind, then here is your answer:
Realbotix is developing a fully robotic body, which is estimated to cost between $30,000 and $60,000. To make interactions more lifelike, Realbotix will eventually integrate the robotic sex doll with virtual reality and add warmth to the skin, and possibly even the genitals.
For now, RealDoll sell the $500 SenseX, a removable insert that resembles and mimics a vagina. So this might be a cost effective taste of the “new emerging reality”. This endeavour is particularly exciting because the Realbotix team includes experts who have worked at Hanson Robotics. This company is world-renowned for creating exceptionally sophisticated human-like robots equipped with impressive AI software.
AI is already present in many area of our daily lives, so it is somewhat obvious, that it is implemented in our sexuality as well. However, I can hardly imagine that one day it could completely replace the emotional and sexual relationship between humans. One may be able to build robots, that perfectly mimic the human nature to one extend, but I guess it is impossible to create a perfectly “Human” robot that has the same emotional intelligence as a human does. Although sex-robots could be good option for some people, especially for those fantasising about kinky and dark sexuality, so a real human could be spared from pain and suffering. But to replace an otherwise healthy sexual relationship by using robots would be sad, and completely unnecessary, in my opinion. Because at the end of the day healthy sexuality and erotic moments are part of being a human being and it brings joy and happiness to us, humans.