[personal profile] fourleftxaviers
I know I cannot possibly be the only person who saw this and thought of Warren's girlfriend April.

The future is scary. And awesome. And scary.

Sex robot focuses on appealing to the mind

LAS VEGAS – A New Jersey company says it has developed "the world's first sex robot," a life-size rubber doll that's designed to engage the owner with conversation rather than lifelike movement.

At a demonstration at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas on Saturday, the dark-haired, negligee-clad robot said "I love holding hands with you" when it sensed that its creator touched its hand.

Another action, this one unprintable, elicited a different vocal response from Roxxxy the robot. The level of sophistication demonstrated was not beyond that of a child's talking toy, but Roxxxy has a lot more brains than that — there's a laptop connected to cables coming out of its back. It has touch sensors at strategic locations and can sense when it's being moved. But it can't move on its own, not even to turn its head or move its lips. The sound comes out of an internal loudspeaker.

Douglas Hines, founder of Lincoln Park, N.J.-based True Companion LLC, said Roxxxy can carry on simple conversations. The real aim, he said, is to make the doll someone the owner can talk to and relate to.

"Sex only goes so far — then you want to be able to talk to the person," Hines said.

The phrases that were demonstrated were prerecorded, but the robot will also be able to synthesize phrases out of prerecorded words and sounds, Hines said. The laptop will receive updates over the Internet to expand the robot's capabilities and vocabulary. Since Hines is a soccer fan, it can already discuss Manchester United, he said. It snores, too.

Owners will also be able to select different personalities for Roxxxy, from "Wild Wendy" to "Frigid Farrah," Hines said. He's charging somewhere from $7,000 to $9,000 for the robot, including the laptop, and expects to start shipping in a few months.

A Japanese company, Honey Dolls, makes life-size sex dolls that can play recorded sounds, but Roxxxy's sensors and speech capabilities appear to be more sophisticated. Hines' goals are certainly more far-reaching.

An engineer, Hines said he was inspired to create the robot after a friend died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. That got him thinking about preserving his friend's personality, to give his children a chance to interact with him as they're growing up. Looking around for commercial applications for artificial personalities, he initially thought he might create a home health care aide for the elderly.

"But there was tremendous regulatory and bureaucratic paperwork to get through. We were stuck," Hines said. "So I looked at other markets."

The broader goal of the company is still to take artificial personalities into the mainstream, beyond sex toys, Hines said.

"The sex robot thing is marketing — it's really about making a companion," he said.

In a 2007 book, "Love and Sex with Robots," British chess player and artificial intelligence expert David Levy argues that robots will become significant sexual partners for humans, answering needs that other people are unable or unwilling to satisfy.

Date: 2010-01-11 05:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hermione-vader.livejournal.com
Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude...that's creepy.

Yes, I totally thought of April. April was much prettier than that...thing. I kind of hate myself for saying this since I'm a feminist, but I liked April good feminists should not like sexbots---even though Warren programmed her to be completely devoted to the point of stalking her beloved and/or choking the competition, she was strangely sweet, maybe because she was so lonely. I think that's why this article about real-life sexbots (especially ones with "artificial personalities," as they put it) creeps me out.

But I can't help but think that Deadpool will want one that looks and sounds like Bea Arthur.

Date: 2010-01-16 07:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fourleftxaviers.livejournal.com
Isn't it freaksome?

DUDE. That is exactly the reason I used the Deadpool icon for this post. <3 PSYCHIC BRAIN-TWIN.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2010-01-16 07:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fourleftxaviers.livejournal.com
Seriously. Major wtf.

Date: 2010-01-11 12:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] niennah.livejournal.com
I don't think I even know how to react to that. Wow. There's this whole thing about "making a companion" - give me a break. Companions are equals, but it's hard to imagine any robot being an equal to a human as long as they are programmable and come with an off-switch. And so no human-robot relationship can ever be solely about companionship because the human always has control. The human will know, even if they pretend to forget it, that they set the terms of interaction.

And people who want that kind of "companionship" are creepy and scary and weird.

Date: 2010-01-16 07:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fourleftxaviers.livejournal.com
It's hard to even imagine a robotic companion even close to equal with a human. We're still a looong way off from that, I imagine.

I find it creepy too, but I feel really weird about judging the people who would want this. Obviously if they did it's because they couldn't, or thought they couldn't, get real companionship with another person.

At least, the people who want companionship. The people who primarily want sex, that's obviously a different story.

Date: 2010-01-11 01:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] inlaterdays.livejournal.com

I felt so sorry for April!

Date: 2010-01-16 07:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fourleftxaviers.livejournal.com
Me, too. It's sad to think about.

Date: 2010-01-11 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alicated.livejournal.com
That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo!

Date: 2010-01-16 07:05 am (UTC)



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