Computer Scientist Talks About Sex Robots

Computer Scientist Talks About Sex Robots

Adela Katharine Devlin, more known as Kate Devlin, is a British computer scientist. She specializes in Artificial Intelligence and Human-computer Interaction. 

Kate Devlin focuses mainly on human sexuality and robotics. Amongst her works is her book, “Turned On: Science, Sex, and Robots.” Aside from being the author of the said book, Devlin is also the founder of the first-ever sex tech hackathon in the UK.

Computer Scientist Talks About Sex Robots

Here she talks about everything about sex robots – from myths to production to its future.

Artificial Lovers in Myths

The idea of finding solace and sex from an inanimate object is not a modern concept. Humans have had this desire since ancient times. 

Perhaps, the tale of Pygmalion- written by the Roman poet Ovid – from Greek mythology is the most known proof. In the story, the sculptor Pygmalion built a perfect woman. Then, he prayed to the gods to breathe life into the ivory statue so he could marry it. The goddess of love answered his prayer. When Pygmalion kissed the statue, which he calls Galatea, she came to life.

While Metamorphoses Book X is the most popular work regarding this topic, Devlin says it is not the only one. There’s also the story of Laodamia, whose husband, Protesilaus, died during the infamous Trojan War. They weren’t married long, so she was distraught. Laodamia prayed to the gods to bring him back, which they did but only for three hours. After the time limit, Protesailus had to go back to the underworld. Laodamia was not content, so she made a bronze or wax statue of her husband. The text says she took the statue to bed. Devlin says it is safe to assume it means she did sexual things with it. A servant saw her kissing the statue through the keyhole and told her father about it. Laodamia’s father had the statue destroyed, but the lovesick threw herself on the pyre and she burned with it.

Laodamia’s tragic story contrasts Pygmalion’s “happily-ever-after” tale. Devlin says it could be related to sexism. The market of artificial lovers used to cater to men and scorn women. Fortunately, that is no longer the case as male sex doll models are already being produced. However, there are still far more female than male models. Therefore, it is still reflected in today’s technology.

Sex Dolls

Artificial lovers did not exist only in myths. In the 16th and 17th centuries, they accompanied sailors expected to spend a long time at sea. But those were just bundles of clothes fashioned in the shape of women. Still, they were enough to provide the men aboard the ship sexual satisfaction. 

Since then, sex dolls have evolved. They aren’t found exclusively on ships anymore. Instead, they are in people’s homes – often as relationship partners. That separates them from sex toys.

Devlin says sex toys are standalone things. They are commonly genital replicas – dildos, for example. Their purpose is pretty obvious. They are made to provide sexual pleasure. On the other hand, sex dolls look like humans. Sex dolls’ forms add an extra dimension – something that is “connected more to the realm of emotions.”

They are not just for sex; Kate Delvin’s found through her visit to a sex doll factory. She found out that very few sex doll owners are actually driven by sex. They are more into the companionship they provide.

Sex Robots

A specific conversation made Kate Devlin a Robo-sexologist. She says it happened in a pub during a conference about cognitive systems. They were discussing what attributes they can add to robots and cognitive systems in AI. They asked questions like whether they should make robots that can feel pain or empathy. As they got more drunk, the topic shifted to sex. That led to the ultimate question: “Should we make machines that could feel desire and feel the things humans feel?”

The thing is, a robot that’s like that is already under development. For many years now, the sex industry had been trying to improve the love dolls.

During Kate Devlin’s visit to Abyss Creations, she learned why the company started making sex robot prototypes. Apparently, customers told them that while they love having the sex doll, they wish it was more interactive. So, the company made Harmony – the world’s first talking sex doll. Aside from that, her lips, eyelids, and head can also move. More importantly, Harmony has artificial intelligence that gives her a personality. This is a step that makes the already humanlike sex dolls even more like actual humans. 

Computer Scientist Talks About Sex Robots

This demand shows that it is not enough to get the physical form of the sex doll rights. Manufacturers must get the mind of the product right too. Only then will they be able to boast that they have created the ultimate synthetic partner.

Harmony AI App

Amazon has reported that Alexa receives hundreds of proposals every week. Siri and Cortana are also reported to hear their owners talk dirty to them. These virtual assistants are not made for romantic companionship, yet, people found interest in them. It proves that humans can really enjoy companionship brought by “artificial creatures.”

Because of this trend, Realbotix released the Harmony AI app. People can install the app on their smartphones so they can have a virtual girlfriend. They can tweak her avatar’s looks and her personality.

The best part of the app is that people can talk to it. The AI responds based on what the person said, so conversations are not scripted. Moreover, the app learns from conversations. For example, it can remember someone’s likes and dislikes. So it really feels like you have a person – an actual companion.

Computer Scientist Talks About Sex Robots

Needless to say, the Harmony AI app was warmly received. It made people more excited about the completion of the sex robot. If it’s already impressive as software, how much more if it has a physical form? And not just a physical form – but the form of a woman. People who cannot go into relationships with real humans for different reasons will finally be able to enjoy companionship. 

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