Moaning and whispering what her partner wants to hear, she is more than compliant, and she is totally programmed. With each whisper, each touch, each session, her AI is learning to please her owner.
Far more than women envisioned in “The Stepford Wives” or “The Handmaid’s Tale” or “Cherry 2000,” there is no question about obedience. And, unless programmed to do so, she will never argue or answer back, but she will learn to tell jokes.
She is a sexbot, and the industry that manufactures her and over 300 other models is doing very well. There is something for every taste in women (and now men), and it is expected to explode over the coming years.
The robotics industry is estimated to be about $135 billion in 2019, and a $15,000 sexbot is available today. Factories, located in the Far East as well as California, provide a variety of prototypes for anyone who is in the market for a sexbot.
One company, Realbotix, located in California, manufacturers a bot that can smile, wink, or frown. It can hold a conversation, tell jokes, and quote Shakespeare as well as remembering the owner’s birthday, what they like to eat, and the names of their siblings. Her programming also includes a conversation on music, movies, and books. The company has been producing and researching sex dolls for the past 20 years.
Competition is heating up in the business of sexbots. Android Love Dolls provides both male and female bots for $7,100. Molded from live women, the shop can handle special requests for specific body types.
Other manufacturers of sexbots are in Europe, and even the online retailer Alibaba offers 303 different sex dolls, some of which can moan and generate heat.
Individuals aren’t the only buyers of sexbots. A flourishing business for the sexbot brothel industry exists. These pleasure establishments are in London, Paris, Barcelona, Denmark, USA, and most major cities around the world.
Who might benefit
Serious concerns are expressed in both social media and professional journals, and the tone is negative. The question of an increase in sexually transmitted diseases has been raised. One sexbot bordello provides two condoms per session for each customer.
But the primary concern raised is that there is little evidence of benefit for rehabilitating sex offenders. Nor is there sufficient research on how the use of the bots may lead to a decrease in intimacy and increase the normalization of sex crimes or sexual abuse.
Jon Brown, the head of development at the UK National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, points out, “there is a risk that those using these child sex dolls or realistic props could become desensitized and their behavior becomes normalized to them so that they go on to harm children themselves, as is often the case with those who view indecent images.”
The concerns about female/child bots
Female bots aren’t the only bit of technology coming under the legal microscope. Of far greater interest is the trade in child sexbots, which is firing up discussion and legal efforts to curtail the sale of these items.
One action in the United States was a bill introduced by Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY). Known as the Curbing Realistic Exploitative Electronic Pedophilic Robots, aka, the CREEPER Act, the law was supported by Noel Sharkey, co-director of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics.
In an email interview with The Daily Beast, Sharkey stated, “I believe that a ban on the general use of child-like sex robots is necessary because of the dangers that they may create. They could have a pernicious impact on society and potentially normalize sexual assault on minors. It would be relatively easy to make these as replicas of actual children from photographs. The way forward is to have international laws against them.”
The US House of Representatives has approved a ban on the importation and sale of child sex robots. However, pedophiles can still buy these dolls, which resemble children as young as three-years-old, from online sources.
Legal issues were addressed in a decision by the US Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, which related to the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996. The argument was in favor of free speech and the limits of what may be considered pornography, especially as it might relate to children or cultural sensitivities.
Sharkey, who is considered to be one of the UK’s experts on artificial intelligence and robotics at Sheffield University, has other concerns. “It’s not a problem having sex with a machine. But what if it’s your first time, your first relationship? What do you think of the opposite sex then? What do you think a man or a woman is?
“It will get in the way of real life, stopping people from forming relationships with normal people.” And the issue is a primary concern in Japan, where an estimated 2,000 of the sexbots were sold in 2017. According to one article, men take their bots to the beach and the park. Of course, they have to wheel them around since they can’t walk.
Concerning adult female sexbots, there are also expressions of concern regarding the normalization of sexual abuse and rape of women. Sex workers aren’t happy with the loss of income and steady customers, either.
Opinions vary on the sexbot industry and the use of these products, but there is no question that they will be available. In fact, as advances in AI gain inroads into this industry, the bots will become even more “human” with each year.