Untrue Love

Paula LaBrot

San Marcos, California is nestled in the North County region of San Diego, about an hour’s drive south of the El Segundo corporate offices of Mattell, Inc.—manufacturers of the iconic “Miss Perfect”

Barbie dolls. Barbie is an adult-bodied doll that has “had a significant impact on social values…” according to Wikipedia. Well, move over, Barbie, because here comes Jackie and her impact is more significant.

Jackie is a “smoky-eyed redhead,” reports Ry Christ for CNET. He met her in San Marcos at a company called Abyss Creations, where he also met an exuberant Amazon lady and an enchanting, demure librarian…all real dolls. You see, Abyss is a company famous for manufacturing realistic silicone sex dolls. And they are going beyond the Valley of the Dolls into high-tech sex robots.

Let me explain, if, that is, I can keep a straight face.

Realbotix makes sex dolls, really high-quality sex dolls. Abyss created an app called Harmony AI (artificial intelligence) that gives sex dolls a “brain.” By programming this “brain” the—gee, I don’t know what word to use—I guess “human master” of the doll creates a customizable robot. A fantasy can be brought to pseudo-life!

Harmony 2.0 offers 18 personality types from outgoing to sexual to shy to funny to moody or combos. You can also choose from 18 different body types or two male forms.

It gets weirder. You can pick accents which emerge from an imbedded speaker—French, Scottish, Swahili—whatever your desires. You can pick hairstyle, eye color, nose and mouth shapes, fingernail color. One’s fantasy, however detailed, can be brought to robotic life. It takes 80 hours to build a doll, which has a flexible skeleton, soft, warm silicone skin and customized “parts.”  

Right now, Abyss is working hard on the head system. The company states, “We feel that this is the logical place to begin, as human beings spend more time looking at and reading emotions from each other’s faces as we interact. We are designing this platform with a modular approach, so that various features can be included or omitted, and later upgraded and/or replaced as needed. Several different variations of this head platform will be released starting around the end of 2017.

The robot is built with new magnetic animatronics (anamagnetics), which are robotic electronics used to bring lifelike features to an inanimate object, a term coined by Walt Disney.

But Harmony is far from Disney’s good old Abe Lincoln. Harmony is programmed to react, to converse and, most importantly, to use advanced AI technology—to “learn” about her human and become more and more what is wanted of her.

Matt McMullen, CEO of Abyss, promises his creations won’t be just for sex. They will be programmed to have conversations, to be companionable. Robert Hart reports for Quartz that the robots will be able to feign conscious behavior. “They will seek to emulate a real-life partner that is capable of responding and adapting to its partner…”  But where does Harmony get all her information about her human?

All the data collected by social media sites one uses, the websites one visits, the products one buys from groceries to personal items to books to ticket purchases to restaurants to whatever…all that data is sorted and analyzed and processed so the robot can be the perfect partner…the perfect companion…the perfect friend…just so, so perfect.

And when Matt McMullen, originally a sculptor, gets the modular bodies just right, look out!

You know, as a sassy, free-thinking overweight girl, this is pretty un-nerving. For a brief moment, I’m glad I’m not young. I would hate to have to compete with such perfect rivals, because I am so not that!

Thank God for the Foundation for Responsible Robotics. This is a group of “ethicists, philosophers, legal scholars, roboticists, journalists, scientists and companies that aim to be proactive and assistive to the robotics industry in a way that allows for the ethical, legal and societal issues to be incorporated into design, development and policy.”  

The Sydney Herald reports, “There are many disturbing aspects to the rise of sex robots—not least of which is the replacement of real, human relationships. The subservient female traits and connotations of making a move on “resistant” robots are also concerning.”

Most futurists agree that the perfected sex robot will arrive by 2050. I think a lot earlier. The sexbot revolution is coming, and, as Joni Mitchell said, “Sex sells.” It’s a billions of dollars industry. Bye, Perfect Barbie. Hello, More Perfect Harmony. Okay and holy cow!

This all makes me so thankful for the beautifully imperfect love of my life who loves this so imperfect girl back. Jeez, at my age, I definitely know things won’t stay the same, but I hope love, true love, human love, that special connection, makes it through into the wild future ahead.

Vamos a ver!


Paula LaBrot

Paula LaBrot is a 30-year resident of Topanga, a futurist with a special interest in the uncharted waters of cyberspace. plabrot@messengermountainnews.com

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