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Realdoll gets AI so users can choose sexbot’s ‘personality’

Posted: 7 February 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields

Sex doll manufacturer, Realdoll is creating an artificial intelligence system that allows users to customise their dolls ‘personality’.

The new system which promises to allow dolls to form a ‘real bond’ with its users is made up of several components which will roll out over the course of 2017/18. The first of which will be the Harmony AI app to be available on the 15th April, followed by the company’s “first robotic head systems,” later in the year. A virtual reality platform is due for release in 2018.

“We are developing the Harmony AI system to add a new layer to the relationships people can have with a Realdoll,” Realdoll CEO Matt McMullen told Digital Trends.

“Many of our clients rely on their imaginations to a great degree to impose imagined personalities on their dolls. With the Harmony AI, they will be able to actually create these personalities instead of having to imagine them. They will be able to talk to their dolls, and the AI will learn about them over time through these interactions, thus creating an alternative form of relationship. The scope of conversations possible with the AI is quite diverse, and not limited to sexual subject matter.”

Using the AI system, users can imbue their doll with chosen traits, such as kind, sexual, shy, naive, brainy, etc. and choose how strongly these characteristics are engrained in its ‘personality’.

“We feel that this system, and this technology, will appeal to a segment of the population that struggles with forming intimate connections with other people, whether by choice or circumstance,” McMullen continued. “Furthermore, it will likely attract those who seek to explore uncharted and new territory where relationships and sex are concerned.”

Inside the Realdoll factory, from Realdoll Instagram

Futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson predicted that sex with robots would be ‘fully emotional’ and people will eventually spend ‘about the same as they do today on a decent family-size car’ in future.

“Artificial intelligence is reaching human levels and also becoming emotional as well,” Dr. Pearson told Breitbart Tech last year.

“So people will actually have quite strong emotional relationships with their own robots. In many cases that will develop into a sexual one because they’ll already think that the appearance of the robot matches their preference anyway, so if it looks nice and it has a superb personality too it’s inevitable that people will form very strong emotional bonds with their robots and in many cases that will lead to sex.”

The ethical implications around human-robot relationships is a new and complex issue. As with most of AI and emerging technologies, regulation and governance is struggling to catch up. Last month, European parliament voted on whether or not to give robots status as ‘electronic persons’.

Some robot ethicists also believe that female sex robots further exacerbate the objectification of women. Kathleen Richardson, senior research fellow in the Ethics of Robotics at De Montford University and the Campaign Against Sex Robots founder argues that sex doll ownership echoes cultural patterns of ‘ownership and slavery’.

“What we are creating is a version of instrumentalist sex that is so destructive to humanity, and building reciprocal social relations, that it needs to be taken seriously,” Richardson told Seeker.

The Campaign Against Sex Robots logo

Loebner prize winner, David Levy is editor of the 2007 book Love and Sex with Robots. Levy argues that sex with robots will be accepted by society in future.

“Love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans,” he wrote. Levy’s dream is a ‘utopian’ one, where artificial intelligence will be the answer to many of the world’s problems with intimacy. “The number of sexual acts and lovemaking positions commonly practised between humans will be extended, as robots teach us more than is in all of the world’s published sex manuals combined.”

Levy predicted “a huge demand from people who have a void in their lives because they have no one to love, and no one who loves them. The world will be a much happier place because all those people who are now miserable will suddenly have someone. I think that will be a terrific service to mankind.”

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