The Fem Spot

SeXXX robot or Stepford wife?

Posted in Sexuality by femspotter on January 17, 2010

January 17, 2010

Roxxxy, Sex Robot

It’s here: Roxxxy, the world’s “first” ever sex robot. Not just a doll, she’s a fully automated pleasure giver developed by a New Jersey-based company. (Great! That’s just what New Jersey needs: more questionable notoriety! It’s a great state, I swear!) According to an article in The Huffington Post, this robot is better than a sex doll because she’s connected to a laptop and can carry on a conversation: “I love holding hands with you,” Roxxxy told her creator when he touched her hand at a recent Las Vegas, Nevada expo.

Wait just a minute there! I thought the whole point of a sex doll or robot was to be the same for men as the vibrator is for women: non-conversing, non-politicking sexual pleasure. The idea that a man pleasures himself with a doll or robot in the privacy of his own home doesn’t offend me. Women don’t lose anything in this scenario: men who ONLY want to receive pleasure rather than give it as well aren’t worth having relationships with…unless that’s what you want. And the ones who do want meaningful human relationships can use sex toys for additional fun on the side rather than looking outside the relationship for sex with other women.

But what if the men using these sex robots are trying to make meaningful relationships with these female stand-ins? What’s wrong with this picture? Why aren’t these potential buyers of robotic conversationalists trying to have meaningful relationships with real women or men, sexual or otherwise? And if they are, why do they need a robot unless it’s just used for getting off? Scarier still: do some men want their female companions to be robotic anyway, saying only the things their weak egos want to hear?

Hetero women today already have it hard enough. According to an article in Marie Claire about the male midlife crisis, “guys (today) are part of a cause-less generation. They didn’t grow up burning their draft cards or fighting the Nazis. They weren’t part of the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement, or any other movement. They were spoiled as kids and now they want to spoil themselves as adults.”

And according to this article, today’s young men mostly want to play video games in their free time. That time does not include buying a house in the burbs,  and having/raising children with a wife they personally talk to every day. I worry that if we give these guys the option – girlfriend or sex robot? – they’ll go with the robot because it’s easier. And because it’s no longer just a toy, guys won’t get lonely around Roxxxy because they can talk sports and even politics with it.

I don’t engage in any discourse with my vibrator. Real sex and real conversation are the benefits of my marriage to a real man.

This line of robots isn’t the first for this robot developer, but it is the most advanced.

Douglas Hines, founder of Lincoln Park, N.J.-based True Companion LLC, said Roxxxy can carry on simple conversations. The real aim, he said, is to make the doll someone the owner can talk to and relate to.

‘Sex only goes so far – then you want to be able to talk to the person,’ Hines said.

The phrases that were demonstrated were prerecorded, but the robot will also be able to synthesize phrases out of prerecorded words and sounds, Hines said. The laptop will receive updates over the Internet to expand the robot’s capabilities and vocabulary. Since Hines is a soccer fan, it can already discuss Manchester United, he said. It snores, too.

Owners will also be able to select different personalities for Roxxxy, from ‘Wild Wendy’ to ‘Frigid Farrah,’ Hines said. He’s charging somewhere from $7,000 to $9,000 for the robot, including the laptop, and expects to start shipping in a few months.

A Japanese company, Honey Dolls, makes life-size sex dolls that can play recorded sounds, but Roxxxy’s sensors and speech capabilities appear to be more sophisticated. Hines’ goals are certainly more far-reaching.

An engineer, Hines said he was inspired to create the robot after a friend died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. That got him thinking about preserving his friend’s personality, to give his children a chance to interact with him as they’re growing up. Looking around for commercial applications for artificial personalities, he initially thought he might create a home health care aide for the elderly.

‘But there was tremendous regulatory and bureaucratic paperwork to get through. We were stuck’ Hines said. ‘So I looked at other markets.’

The broader goal of the company is still to take artificial personalities into the mainstream, beyond sex toys, Hines said.

‘The sex robot thing is marketing – it’s really about making a companion,’ he said.

Okay, Mr. Hines. I’ll buy that you have nobler intentions than contributing to the market of sex toys. But your idea that you can preserve someone’s personality is truly terrifying. A personality is just that: personal. No robot or computer will ever be able to fully simulate the miracle of life. Who do you think you are? God? Mother? Uh, father?

We humans implemented the telephone to make interpersonal communication faster and easier. What happened? Over time, we stopped walking across office floors to put in face time with each other and started picking up the phone every time we needed a bit of information. Then, we figured out that email was an even simpler way to disconnect from social interactions. We’ve substituted email for phone calls. And when people started (mis)reading tone and inflection into email, we invented emoticons to give “personality” to our informative missives through little bits of code. When, at last, we got tired of typing full sentences, we switched over to instant message systems and texting on our cell phones. Now, we don’t even need to learn to spell as children because almost every common phrase we use has an acronym or abbreviation. Sometimes, we even stand right next to each other and text rather than talk. Will we forget how to make eye contact? Will we forget how to speak?

The Stepford WivesAnd the real question for sex robot creators and buyers is this: will you forget what it’s like to love and care for somebody else? For like all of our blatant abuses of technologies that minimize social interaction, surely the ongoing development of a sex robot is just one more step in the evolution of a completely isolated, alienated human being. If you’re in the market for a sex robot who talks, won’t you soon expect to be able to purchase a sex robot who cooks, cleans, does laundry, runs errands, earns a decent wage and raises your adopted children? Where do you draw the line between sex robot and Stepford wife?

It’s true that not all people have it easy when it comes to meeting members of the desired sex. But buying a sex robot is the easy way out, and it’s detrimental to the human race. If you’re using a sex toy for sex, it’s a tool. If you’re using it for conversation, it’s a hindrance. According to another source, “Mr Hines sees his creation as not only a recreational innovation but as an outlet for the shy people with sexual dysfunction and those who want to experiment without risk.”

Experiment without risk; go for it! Shy people and those with physical dysfunctions who would seek out robot discourse usually aren’t suffering in just the romantic areas of their lives. They might need therapy and possibly medication to cope with most human interactions, from handshaking to speaking to sex. I worry that giving a “shy” person a sex robot/Stepford wife might only worsen his shyness. We get better at being with people the more we do it. And the less we spend time in the real world with real people, the less we’ll be able or even want to.

And of course, there’s this: a sex robot will never love you the way a woman can and will. Is the advancing Roxxxy a substitute for love? Will we forget how to love and be loved in return?


9 Responses

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  1. faemom said, on January 18, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    There’s a lot to discuss in this well-written post.
    First off, I’m hoping the Marie Claire atricle is sensationalizing a bit. Cosmo does it, and when the article mentioned that women are more willing to have a healthier attitude twoards threesomes, decorate like Martha Stewart AND talk football, I know this is a fantasy. But I do know lots of men who are still spoiled, still think of themselves first before girlfriend/wife/or kids, still think they should have all they want woth out sacrificing. So it is scary out there. But I imagine one day these men will wake up and regret their happy bachelor hood, though not until they are much older. And women would still want them.

    The sex robot is distrubing. Why does a sex toy need a personality? It’s not even a real personality. It’s a personality created by a programmer, ordered by the owner. It’s what the owner wants. He’s the one who gets to decide if he wants a Wild Wendy or Frigid Farrah. He decides what they talk about and what she says. So yeah, it’s pretty close to Stepford because he doesn’t want a personality, he wants his fantasy.

    • femspotter said, on January 19, 2010 at 8:49 am

      Thank you. I’m sure Marie Claire, like Cosmopolitan, sensationalizes. It uses stereotypes and generalizations. Heck, my husband comes home from work stressed out some days, says he needs to unwind, and I know that means an hour of video games. It’s not a bad thing. I just worry that our dependence on para-social technology makes it very difficult for us to interact socially. Yeah, it’s great that my husband and brothers play video games together remotely and chat via blue-tooth. But I do know men who don’t restrict this type of play to one or two hours a day, a couple of days a week. What kind of husbands and fathers will they be for the women who want to marry them?

      I just saw “Up in the Air” and I think it gets to the heart of what happens to a person when they don’t “tie themselves down” with sometimes messy relationships: they end up lonely and regretting their choices. Avid video gamers and others who decide not to try and relate to others may regret it, as you say.

      The more I think about the robot guy, the more I think he concocted that 9/11 connection to sound noble in his pursuit to create believable AI. I just don’t ever see technology reaching the point when it replaces humanity. And if we’re really trying for that now on a large scale, I hope the rumors about the 2012 apocalypse turn out to be true. (sarcasm – sort of)

      • Gaming Male Drone said, on October 23, 2010 at 8:18 pm

        While it may be true that the extreme gamers will make for nothing better than a potato, there are many, such as myself, who prefer to play video games with others in person. It is through video gaming that I have formed some of my best and deepest friendships. It can become a tool to unite people (if played as a local-area network) around a common interest. And as for anything remotely related to feminism within the video gaming community, I find that there are several new games or game franchises that feature very strong and willful female characters, “Amazons” in the truest sense of the mythos. I personally LOVE women who can go about “kickin’ ass and takin’ names”. I have also met a fair few women of my own age range who, never having played the game before, picked up the controller and blew everyone out of the water.

  2. mom said, on January 19, 2010 at 10:39 am

    will there be a self-cleaning model, do you think…just asking……
    as men usually leave women feeling messy and rarely clean up after themselves.

    • femspotter said, on January 20, 2010 at 9:08 am

      Right?! I think this is a very practical question. I’d hate to run into one of these robots after a couple of weeks of hardcore use! The dolls with no electronic parts are easy enough to throw into the tub. I don’t know how you clean Roxxxy.

  3. Random Male Drone said, on October 15, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    LMFAO… clearly written by someone who sounds like a closed-minded feminazi. Its understandable that these dolls are five-dollar novelties and that this genre has a long way to go but regardless I doubt having one of these has anything to do with a fragile ego or any sort of weakness for that matter. In fact perhaps the writer feels threatened by the idea that WOMEN WILL NO LONGER HOLD ANY SEXUAL POWER OVER MEN for the invention of these bots. Try thinking of the PRACTICAL applications of sophisticated version of these .. people too weak to defend themselves.. people who have had severe trauma dealing with the opposite sex.. granted why not just masturbate? Because whatever you use can’t keep an intruder out of your house or push your car to the local station when you’re out of fuel. Help your grandparents if they fall and break something. Truly the more I think of it the more beneficial uses an android would bring to your regular humanoid. And of course people with shitty genes (like the author of this blog no doubt) who cant get anything else or just doesn’t want to deal with the headache or abuse of an irresponsible / drunk mate can go to town on one and keep their seeds out of humanities gene pool… not to mention the face that THIS JUST MIGHT STOP THE OVERCROWDING OF THE EARTH.
    next time you decide to flame a topic use your fucking head and think things through first. Sure this thing is ridiculous but it shows us the possibilities of how human technology can better our life and our future.
    The only TRUE evil is ignorance.

    • femspotter said, on October 15, 2010 at 6:22 pm

      Did you even read my essay? I don’t have a problem with the doll for sex purposes. I do have a problem with human beings thinking they can instill a personality into a sex doll.
      “…perhaps the writer feels threatened by the idea that WOMEN WILL NO LONGER HOLD ANY SEXUAL POWER OVER MEN for the invention of these bots.” Nope! I don’t hold any sexual power over men, so I can’t fear losing it.

    • Angered Male Drone said, on October 23, 2010 at 7:41 pm

      Apparently your species (Sus scrofa chauvinista) has suddenly and inexplicably evolved the ability to operate a computer system and type. Now if only you could evolve the ability to not eat where you shit.

  4. fuck you said, on May 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    I think you bitches are scared shitless. In the next ten years there will be robotic stepford wives. Look at japan, it’s already happening and it’s due to market forces. Why do you think there’s such a huge market for female prostitutes? I can only see sex robots as a good thing because #1 it will put all the prostitutes out of business and #2 it will put all the unofficial prostitutes out of business, ie: just because you have a vagina doesn’t mean you deserve a ring on your finger, and house in the suburbs, and 2.5 kids. Never mind the fact that there is an overwhelming chance you will take the house, half the guy’s shit, alimony, and child support when you divorce his ass after a decade or so of the sham that is called western marriage.

    The reason you women are scared is because sex is the only power you have over a man. If you think women are desperate to get married right now with the current marriage strike that this generation of American men are on, just wait until they can have a girl who is a perfect ten in looks, does everything and anything they want, never gets old, and shuts the fuck up with the push of a mute button on a remote.

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