How Close Are We To Near-Perfect Sex Robots
The idea of a person falling in love – and having sex – with artificial human entities is nothing new. The story of Pygmalion in Greek Mythology stands as a testament to that.
In the story, the sculptor prayed to the goddess of love, Aphrodite, to bring his creation to life. He fell in love with it and wanted to marry it. The goddess granted his wish, and they lived happily ever after.
But that was not the last time the world heard of the story. Ovid retold Pygmalion’s tale on his “Metamorphoses,” though he turned it into an erotic novel. And this birthed more stories about humans engaging in sexual activities with “non-human humans.” In the modern age, it turned into the desire to create fully functioning sex robots.
Now there is a lot of news floating around concerning the latest advancements in sex robot creation. For instance, David Levy estimated that marrying robots will be normalized by 2050 in his book Love and Sex with Robots.
Also, you might have heard of the sex robot that ranted about the end of humanity on YouTube. That was both hilarious and amazing to watch. It was hilarious purely because no one would have thought that a sex robot who hates humans can exist. Then it’s amazing because she seems to have a personality.
“Wow! We are nearing the time when we can have sex robots that act and feel like real humans.” You might have said that after you watched the video. But to be frank, that is quite an optimistic outlook. It overlooks the challenges creators of these sex robots are facing. The truth is, there is still a long way before that can happen. Affordable and convincing sex robots will still exist only in people’s fantasies.
Differentiating Sex Robots And Sex Toys
Before we proceed to the reasons why we are still far from the “ultimate sex robot,” let us define what a sex robot is.
Strictly speaking, a robot is any computer-programmable machine that can carry actions automatically. Take Roomba, for example. It is a robotic vacuum cleaner that will clean the floor for you. With that, we can also call vibrators and blowjob machines sex robots. All you really need is to hold them in position, and they will please you.
Yet, people don’t count them as sex robots. Instead, people see them as more technologically advanced sex toys. From this behavior, we can draw what people consider to be a sex robot. It is an object reminiscent of an actual human that people can have sex with. These artificial humans are equipped with advanced artificial intelligence that allows them to think and act, as opposed to reacting to sensors.
The current closest thing to a sex robot is the Real Dolls made by Abyss Creations. These life-size dolls have a humanlike appearance and can have “personalities.” Still, they are far from being the realization of what people have in mind.
Valleys To Be Vaulted
There are many factors preventing manufacturers from creating the “ultimate sex robots.” They are listed and explained below.
Replicating Human Movement
Unless you specifically ordered a sex robot that cannot walk, it should be able to. However, based on the way things are right now, it’s impossible to get that. Today’s models cannot even stand on their own. They are heavy and cannot support their own weight. Thus, they cannot move and position their limbs.
You often read that silicone feels like real skin. However, if you have touched silicone, you’d know it’s not true. That is just what manufacturers want you to believe in. And maybe, subconsciously, that’s what you want to believe in too.
Replicating human skin means including all of its properties – its feel, irregularities, pliability, stretchability, tone, and more. So far, none had successfully done that. Even the artificial skin that can feel pressure made in Singapore lacks most of those qualities.
Sure, AI and robots have come a long way. Some can beat you at chess or at a three-point shooting competition. However, they calculate every movement first – everything is turn-based. Sex and relationships are not like that. They are more like unscripted dances where each party needs to predict and respond quickly to the movement of the other.
Problems Concerning Appearance
Now, about the robot’s whole physical appearance, creators need to make it convincing enough, so it does not look creepy. This is a huge hurdle they should overcome. Even the best animatronic robots have not managed to jump over that humongous problem yet.
Futurist and sci-fi writer Madeleine Ashby says instead of looking like real humans, these robots will first have a cartoonish/anime-like appearance. Of course, this is not what you would like to have.
There are many problems sex robots are facing that stems from how people view sex workers. Some are against sex robots because they believe they will hurt sex workers – who are already marginalized in the first place. On the other end, some people believe sex robots will keep these people safe. Then, of course, there are those that strongly believe sex work is inherently a bad thing.
These arguments and mindsets prevent owning a sex robot from being normalized. That’s even after the pandemic has made it clear that sexual wellness is also important.
Because sex robots are shrouded in stigma, manufacturers struggle to secure funding. Investments are hard to come by as investors don’t think the products will be marketable. Banks would not be caught lending companies from the sex industry business loans. Also, credit cards would decline transactions. Now, funding is essential to any research since it is the thing that allows the project to move forward. Since companies in the sex industry face trouble finding money, making a convincing sex robot gets increasingly more difficult.
With all of these said, we can conclude that chances of convincing sex robots arriving soon are meager. And on the off chance that they do arrive soon, they will be extremely expensive. Still, if you are saving money for such a product, spending it on what we already have now could be wiser.