Monday, December 22, 2014

Fembots: the ideal Christmas gift

What do you get when you infuse robotics with art and sex?

An ideal Christmas gift for any guy afraid of dying alone, that's what.

As you might know, I've been languishing for almost two years over a book about robots. I just don't ever seem to feel like I'm quite finished or that the writing it is "good enough."  Symptomatic of such, I keep doing research on robotics and never fully seem prepared to declare the project as "done." That may change as my research has led me into a bit of rather strange territory.

A 3-D artist named Cesar Vonc has designed an actual sex robot...or so says the text of the article at Moviepilot. You can take a look at the pics of it at the link. I won't post such photos here as they...well, are rather NSFW and they tend to creep even me out after looking at them for too long. The images depict the fembot as sawn in half lengthwise. It's almost like a cadaver cross-section. I mean you can see all the various, um...well, options that the owner would have.

Let's not dwell on that, shall we?

What the cross-sections afford us are a look at the robotic systems involved. There's wiring, circuitry, a metallic endoskeleton, and what looks like a hard plastic shell for the body. There that look as if they may be composed of surgical latex, but I can't be for certain. Now as one commenter points out, this is far more art than it is robotics. It doesn't seem like it would quite be workable in the realistic sense. If this is what one desires, I'm thinking a Real Doll based upon a pornstar would be a better return on the money. You know what I mean? I'd buy that for a dollar!

Not that I would know anything about such a device, of course.

Art installation or not, this is a sure sign of things to come. Sexual desire has driven the development of many technologies we now find (or did once find) commonplace. This list includes devices such as the VCR, CD-ROM, interactive DVD, and many aspects of the Internet. Are we really going to tell ourselves that we won't soon have robots as sexual surrogates? And if we do, is there really anything wrong with it? I mean, the robots would provide a...service...that someone would be willing to pay for. It might drastically reduce incidents of prostitution and the spread of sexually transmitted disease.

Plus, someone could get exactly what they are looking for. Think of the artistic license someone could have with hair color, flesh tones, and rubricate lips or pink parts. You could have any coloring you'd want. Maybe marsala to honor Pantone's color of the year (don't ask me how I know that, either.) The possibilities are endless.

That said, is it right? Is it ethical?

I'm not sure. I asked a woman I know what she thinks of this. Her reply? Paraphrased:

"You mean my man could come home and something else could take care of him while I have a glass of wine in the tub or in front of the TV? I'm down with that."

This view does not reflect the views of all women, but I was still rather taken aback.

Then again, who is to say these robots would be solely for straight men? I see no reason why male versions of the sexbots would not be in the offing. The fact that the word "fembot" exists does speak to a patriarchy, but that's a post subject in and of itself. Right now, I'm just trying to hold it together for a post on robotic sex surrogates.

I keep going back to the images. In all honesty, I do find them troubling. It reminds me of something I wrote once. A roboticist sat in his "workshop." As the various limbs and torsos hung suspended from tracks on the ceiling, I imagined the place having an almost charnel house atmosphere or perhaps even a butcher's shop. No blood mind you, but lifeless limbs all dangling about just the same.


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