RealDolls Creator Developing Robotic Sex Dolls that Talk Back to You

Friday, 12 June 2015 - 11:06AM
Weird Science
Robotics
Friday, 12 June 2015 - 11:06AM
RealDolls Creator Developing Robotic Sex Dolls that Talk Back to You
The RealDoll, created by Matt McMullen in 1996, allows customers to order custom-made sex dolls that can be modified for hair color, eye color, skin color, body type, and even toe shape and size. But up until now, the dolls have always been completely inanimate, and McMullen aims to change that. His new project, called Realbotix, is a version of the RealDoll that can blink, open and close its mouth, and talk back to the customers. 



For the first prototype, the Realbotix would consist of a robotic head, which could then be attached to a normal RealDoll body. (If that's a horrifying image to you, it probably should be.) This would be commercially available in two years, costing $10,000 (a RealDoll body can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000). He then intends to develop a full robotic body, which would be priced in the range of $30,000 to $60,000, but McMullen views the conversational aspect as most important:

"What is she thinking, does she like it?" McMullen told the New York Times"If you can create [that reality], or the illusion of that, it is going to be a much more impressive pay-off than 'Wow, she can gyrate her hips by herself.'"

It's unclear whether the programmed dialogue will be limited to "dirty talk," but the robotic doll could ultimately have multiple functions, as McMullen aims to experiment with integrating other types of programming, such as virtual assistant technology.

The ability to blink and speak would make the RealDoll appear to be a little more human, which may enter into Uncanny Valley territory. The Uncanny Valley is a theory which states that humans have empathic responses to beings that don't look like real humans at all, or beings that look exactly like real humans, but are "creeped out" by beings that almost look like real humans.
RealDolls Creator Developing Sex Dolls that Talk Back to You

McMullen responded to these concerns by stating that the Realbotix, like the RealDolls themselves, will still look like dolls, rather than "copies of people."

But the most disturbing part of the robotic RealDoll may not be the Uncanny Valley, but what it says about societal views of women. There is a line of male dolls, but the vast majority of them are made to look female (and it's no coincidence that McMullen used the pronoun "she" to describe them). It's true that making a female RealDoll speak would make it seem a little more human, but it would presumably be programmed to be submissive and only express positive sentiments. Combine that with the "virtual assistant" idea, and it sounds like a recipe for a real-life version of Oscar Isaac's truly disturbing robotic sex slaves in Ex Machina.

Via Mashable.
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