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Sex dolls uncovered: The kinks, quirks and risks of building robolove

By March 24, 2018 No Comments


In a niche corner of the lucrative sex industry a revolution is brewing – one that experts say could either aid people’s sexual experiences or see human relationships buffeted by depraved romps with artificial lovers.

Questions about sexual health, ethics, and personal safety surround the emerging technology, with therapists, philosophers and even IT analysts studying developments. Why? Well, it’s thought one day the silicone-case machines may be replaced by intelligent, and possibly loving, robots.

Last year, the multidisciplinary ethics group the Foundation for Responsible Robotics (FRR) produced a consultation report on industry developments, citing expert opinion that sex robot use “could or will lead to social isolation.” It also posited that the devices could give people an outlet for abusive behavior, while at the same time acknowledging the possibility of therapeutic sex robots.


To find out more about the developing industry, RT.com spoke to a next-generation pleasure doll designer, a therapist and a security expert to get their views on the technology being touted as the future of sex.

‘This sexually satisfies me’

With a range of hair styles, eye colors, and a 73cm (29 inch) chest, Kira AI is one of four interactive sex dolls developed by Dr Sergi Santos and his Barcelona-based business, Synthea Amatus. While Kira, Maya, Simone and Samantha are not dolls that can yet mimic the intricacies of human intelligence, the company markets them as robots “capable of enjoying sex.”

“If you asked me for an example: ‘If your wife left you, what would you do?’ Me, particularly, I wouldn’t look for a woman. I would have a sex robot or doll. But a woman I wouldn’t look for. This sexually satisfies me,” Santos told RT.com.

Santos hopes to one day create an android capable of intimacy on a par with a human being. For now, however, he’s busy building a responsive electronic ‘brain’ into dolls bought from China, dolls that can be manipulated into different sexual positions. He claims devices like Samantha and Kira can currently synchronize their ‘orgasm’ with the user. But as the market steadily grows, greater technology is apparently coming.

“The sex doll industry is powerful because it has made androids [robots] relatively cheap, with bodies that move relatively well, and that can sustain damage,” he said.

Santos believes the stigma surrounding sex dolls will one day decrease to the point where almost everyone, regardless of wealth, will have one. “The rich people will have the android,” he says. “The poor people will have what they can afford.”

Samantha et al are not connected to the internet, however, Santos says companies may have to adapt to sate customers. “You will be able to have a doll that you have sex with whenever you like and then you will be able to say ‘make sure I get the right shopping for tomorrow’. All these digital things will happen. In five to 10 years, these should be really cheap,” he said.

“We want everything. The more things you want, at the end of the day, you need to be online –  cars and fridges will be online. It’s a problem. But it’s not about the doll, it’s about the world wanting things online. The reason I made mine offline is because I didn’t want people to sue me and because I also wanted to give people privacy.”

‘Security has to be a big consideration’

Jason McNew, former White House Communications Agency staffer and Stronghold Cyber Security founder, says the dangers of a sex robot, or any electronic device, really becomes apparent when people start to talk about them in an online context.

“Security has to be a big consideration from the moment manufacturers build something. Servers and routers are always built from the ground up with security in mind. But when it comes to all these various Internet of Things devices that are coming on the market now –  whether it is coffee pots or refrigerators – these things are not always built with security in mind,” he told RT.com.

Clandestine sex doll brothel opens in Paris

France’s first so-called sex doll brothel is operating in secret within the 14th Arrondissement of Paris – where clients can engage in virtual reality romps with silicone mannequins.

“Hypothetically, say a wealthy client wanted to purchase one of these things [sex robot], and they said let’s spend some money on security. I could do it but it would be complicated. It would involve sandboxing, VPNs, and anonymizing the connection. It’s possible to do but it would cost money and be fairly complex. I think those things are not something that most consumers are going to do.”

On concerns that a sex robot could be hacked and commandeered to attack, he suggested a doll fitted with rubber boobs and a small amount of electronics is unlikely to cause serious physical harm. “As it stands right now, from a mechanical perspective, they lack the power to really physically harm people. That might change at some point in the future but the technology is just not there for that to happen.”

‘All sex is good sex as long as it is consensual and pleasurable’

A somatic psychologist and AASECT certified sex therapist, Dr Holly Richmond has witnessed the billion dollar might of the sex industry, both as a published clinician and producer of VR adult movie scripts that straddle both entertainment and education. “These emerging and immersive technologies are not just about what we’re seeing, but about what we’re feeling,” she told RT.com

“I’m really on the positive side and I’m smart enough to realize that some people are going to use them in a negative way, just like some people use alcohol, some drugs, and some porn in a bad way. But it’s not going to be the dolls that make that happen.

“My position in sex positivity is that all sex is good sex as long as it is consensual and pleasurable,” she added. “I think what we’re doing is changing the cultural discourse around sex; what it means to have sex, trying to move away from ideas that are pathologizing or negative and really give people the choice about how they want to be sexual. For most people these dolls are just going to be in addition to their healthy sexuality and not a replacement for it.”

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