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When it comes to lifelike sex dolls (which currently exist) and sexbots (which do not yet), people are prone to two contradictory and misguided beliefs: that only rapey perverts would use them, and that they pose a major threat to our social and sexual order.

Matt McMullen, the man behind the most popular “love doll” on the market, isn’t buying either.

In a recent interview with Mel magazine, the CEO of Abyss Creations and creator of RealDoll, said his creations are not simply about sex and doubts they will ever capture a huge share of the sexual market.

In my Reason sexbot feature a few years ago, I noted that not even the most starry-eyed roboticists, futurists, and philosophers expect sex with robots to become a majority pastime. If the technology gets good enough and the products cheap enough, they might play the same role sex toys and strip clubs do now, without their customers automatically being considered creepy perverts.

Storage would seem to be an issue, especially in smaller apartments.

NOBODY TELL NOTORIOUS ROBOPHOBE MATTHEW YGLESIAS: Fred Reed on Sexbots. “In the documentary, the short-haired reporteress talked to an ugly anti-sexbot crusader woman who said testily that using sexbots “objectified women.” (To me it sounded more like womanizing objects, but never mind.) These two dragons continued to the effect that sex was about intimacy and closeness and bonding. I wondered how they knew. But understand: They weren’t worried about competition. Oh no. They wanted to preserve intimacy and bonding. They were worried about those poor miserable men. Uh…yeah. In modern America I see no sign that women are concerned about masculine misery, and indeed that most of them rather like the idea. . . . Finally, it might be worth keeping in mind that a rich vein of hypocrisy underlies the prissy female horror at men coupling with electrically-heated plastic. As many studies have shown, women watch porn too, and buy vibrators, objectifying men, or at least part of one.”

That’s different, that’s Female Empowerment.

I HOPE NOTORIOUS ROBOPHOBE MATTHEW YGLESIAS DOESN’T FIND OUT ABOUT THIS: The race to build the world’s first sex robot. “Harmony smiles, blinks and frowns. She can hold a conversation, tell jokes and quote Shakespeare. She’ll remember your birthday, McMullen told me, what you like to eat, and the names of your brothers and sisters. She can hold a conversation about music, movies and books. And of course, Harmony will have sex with you whenever you want.”

Flashback: “He seems to have a particular fear of fembots, the analysis of which I will leave to the professionals.”

NOBODY TELL NOTORIOUS ROBOPHOBE MATTHEW YGLESIAS: Get ready for robots made with human flesh. “The 600 series had rubber skin. We spotted them easy, but these are new. They look human… sweat, bad breath, everything. Very hard to spot. I had to wait till he moved on you before I could zero him.”

Skynet smiles.

NOBODY TELL NOTORIOUS ROBOPHOBE MATTHEW YGLESIAS: Scarily real SEX ROBOTS to replace humans? Bizarre festival coming to UK.

The two-day event, the International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots, will explore robot emotions, personalities, humanoid robots, intelligent electronic sex hardware and entertainment robots.

The lecturer agreed to give the conference the go ahead after it was banned in Malaysia.

Dr Devlin blasted calls for sex robots to be banned.

She said: Our research aims to carve a new narrative, moving away from sex robots purely defined as machines used as sex objects, as substitutes for human partners, made by men, for men.

“A machine is a blank slate – it is what we make of it. Why should a sex robot be binary? What about the potential for therapy? It’s time for new approaches to artificial sexuality.

“Cutting edge research in technology and ethics is vital if we want to reframe ideas about the human-tech relationship.”

Earlier this week the World Health Organisation said anyone who failed to find a sexual partner should be classified as disabled – perhaps the sex robots might one day be availabe on the NHS.

Sex Robots have their fans and their detractors in roughly equal measure.

David Levy, the chess champion and author of Love and Sex with Robots said: “I believe that loving sex robots will be a great boon to society.

“There are millions of people out there who, for one reason or another, cannot establish good relationships.”

But last year some scientists called for a ban on Sex Robots and even created the Campaign Against Sex Robots.

It’s sad to see such rampant robophobia.


Interest in soft robots has taken off in recent years, as engineers look beyond rigid Terminator-type machines to designs that can squeeze into tight spaces, mould to their surroundings, or handle delicate objects safely. But engineering soft versions of key parts has challenged researchers. “The brains, the electronics, the batteries—those components were all hard,” says roboticist Daniela Rus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “This work is new and really exciting.”

The octobot is made of silicone rubber. Its ‘brain’ is a flexible microfluidic circuit that directs the flow of liquid fuel through channels using pressure-activated valves and switches. “It’s an analogy of what would be an electrical circuit normally,” says engineer Robert Wood at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, one of the study’s leaders. “Instead of passing electrons around, we’re passing liquids and gases.”

The prototype in the video doesn’t do much, or do it quickly. But it’s a fascinating proof-of-concept.