Science-fiction shows have been ruminating on the possibilities of AI sex robots for years, from the heartwrenching relationship between Dr Finn and Isaac in the Orville to the episode of Black Butler, entitled “Be Right Back,” in which a woman attempted to use an AI sex robot to bring her husband back from their dead. In their nuanced ways, these shows have been asking important questions, not only about what’s possible with AI technology but also about what the consequences of these possibilities may entail.
But the idea of having an AI companion robot is no longer just fodder for the science fiction world. Numerous companies around the globe are launching prototype AI sex robots, leading us to ask: Can these robots actually provide genuine human companionship?
The Current State of AI Sex Robot Technology
Right now, you won’t find Amazon selling quality AI sex robots. The technology is far from mainstream — but it does exist, and numerous companies are beginning to test their prototypes and make decisions about what AI sex robots should look like and what their functionality should include.
Our own Prophet, Matt McMullen used his experience in the Hollywood special effects industry to create what is known as “The Ferrari of sex dolls” with RealDoll who was so popular some even treat their dolls like girlfriends! Matt moved on to incorporate AI into his creations, coming up with the sex robot called Harmony. If you are interested to find out more about how Matt can help your organization, get in touch with us.
Top AI Sex Robot Companies
The AI Sex Robot industry is still in its infancy, but there are numerous companies working on perfecting the technology. Some of the most promising companies include:
- AI Tech
- Lux Botics
- Doll Sweet
Limitations of Current AI Companion Robots
Although companies are making huge strides in the current AI companionship market, there are still a number of limitations to the available prototypes.
For one thing, most of the prototypes have been focusing on animating the head, whereas the rest of the body remains largely inert. Even AI Tech’s Emma, who has sensors along her body to allow her to respond to stimuli by talking or moaning, doesn’t actually move her body in response to those stimuli; she is only animated from the neck up.
Cost also constitutes a major barrier to entry for this market. At this time, AI sex robots cost thousands of dollars to acquire. In fact, a prototype for an advanced MISDOLL oral sex robot — no longer being sold — was originally on the market for close to a million dollars.
These hefty price tags make it unlikely that sex robots will provide a source of comfort for lonely college students or those going through a divorce. Instead, AI sex robots seem to be a luxury for the very wealthy — at least at this current point in time.
Finally, current AI sex robots are almost all females. This has the potential to be damaging to fights for gender equality. However, this present limitation could easily be solved by adjusting AI sex robot models and increasing education and awareness amongst the companies making the robots.
AI Companion Robots and Human Intimacy
Our course, AI companionship is in its infancy. If this technology follows the trajectory of most other major technologies, we can expect that the technology will continue to improve and the cost will continue to plummet. One day, AI sex robots may be affordable to the masses. The question then becomes: Is this a worthwhile investment? Can AI sex robots truly offer human companionship?
In the 1960s and 70s, a scientist named Harlow conducted an experiment with monkeys in which he tested whether monkeys just wanted mothers for food. In the experiment, he gave each monkey two surrogate mothers; one that was soft and cuddly, and one that was made only of wires and metal. Even when the metal “mother” was the only one given food, the monkeys spent more time with the soft “mother” and would repeatedly cling to the soft “mother” when scared by something in their environment.
This experiment serves as a reminder of the importance of physical touch to the feeling of intimacy and connectedness. Though we can only hypothesize about how this information translates to AI sex robots, it seems fair to assume that getting the feel of the robots right — from the warmth of their skin to the material itself — will be an important contributing factor to whether these robots provide legitimate companionship. Current silicone models are unlikely to feel enough like skin to provide a genuine substitute.
The uncanny valley
One of the biggest hurdles to designing AI sex robots is making them realistic enough to pass as companions without being creepy. There is a term for this struggle. The term “uncanny valley” refers to when things — from movies to video games to, well, sex robots — seem hyper-realistic, but are just enough off that we can tell they’re not human. On a psychological level, humans find things within the uncanny valley to be deeply unsettling. Unless this gets resolved, it may be difficult for AI sex robots to take off in any meaningful way.
The Future of Keeping an AI Sex Robot as Company
It seems unlikely that AI sex robots will ever replace the need for human companions entirely. Certainly, current AI sex robots are not able to do so; everything from their short battery life to their silicone bodies to their inability to move more than their heads prevents them from replacing the want for a life partner.
That being said, there are a number of things to like about this industry. AI sex robots could provide a source of comfort—and an alternate option to cheating or divorce—for people whose spouses are ill or whose libido has run its course. They could also offer a safe place for people to try new things in the bedroom and learn what they do — and don’t — like, and may even be able to serve as a deterrent for sexual abuse.
So can AI sex robots replace human companions? Probably not. But they may soon replace your favorite sex toys.
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