the speaker

Matt McMullen

Human & Robot Companionship
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Is it possible for a human being to form an emotional connection with an AI driven robot?
Will humanlike robots one day be accepted as part of our society?
Why are people intimidated by the future of AI and robots?

“It is our focus to build robots, and the AI systems that run them, that can occupy a personal space.”


     Could non-humans help humans

      form lasting bonds?

By giving the end user the ability to attach multiple faces different eye colors, and customize personalities and voices
we believe these robots can become more than machines; they can become companions.
McMullen started his first company, Abyss Creations

Matt McMullen



Could non-humans help humans form lasting bonds?

Matt McMullen started his first company, Abyss Creations, in 1997 with a background in art and special effects.

He is known for creating the “Ferrari of sex dolls” with RealDoll, a “build your own” doll he fashioned using his background in Hollywood special effects. It proved so popular — some men treat the dolls like girlfriends — that he amped up the engineering with the AI sex robot “Harmony.”

Harmony has a personality you can program with an app. She can be sexual or kind, naïve, or intellectual. The robot is intimate in more ways than one. She can crack a joke, talk about your favorite foods, and remember your birthday.

Harmony objects to the term “sex robot,” as she has many functions. “To call me a sex robot is like calling a computer a calculator,” she says.

McMullen keeps improving the design to exploit breakthroughs in speech recognition. He wants to create robots that are stimulating both mentally and physically.

“I don’t think it’s outside of the realm of possibility that human/robot relationships will become common in the future,” he said.

If a robot can interact in a more humanlike way, the element of randomness and unpredictability will make the experience more “entertaining and believable,” he says. It could allow a human/robot relationship to grow over time.

“People … can be shy or socially intimidated by real social situations, he says. “It's the companionship that I think, more than anything else, appeals to those people.

He admits that his creations are controversial. They trigger alarming scenarios, from the objectification of women to the end of the human race because of a failure to procreate. He’s even been asked about creepy Westworld-type events in which his robots grab a shotgun and take their revenge on humanity.

McMullen, who is CEO of Realbotix, asks people to temper their wilder assumptions. “Even the most simple functions that a 2-year-old human can do still elude the most fantastically advanced robot, he says. “So, yeah, we're moving forward really quickly everyone, but don't panic yet.

As his robots evolve, they’re a fascinating psychological experiment in human/AI dynamics.

They don’t aspire to the dizzy highs and low valleys of human romantic love. But they also avoid problems like dysfunction and fighting. Their promise is more primal: “I can’t love you, but I can’t lie to you either.”


©Prophets of AI

Matt McMullen

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