There Are a Lot of Problems with Sex Robots
From body weight and batteries to programming and consent, there’s nothing straightforward about sexbots. But they’re coming anyway.
In a promotional video, robot designer Dr. Sergi Santos runs his finger inside the mouth of his Samantha sexbot. “Uhhh,” she moans. Sergi touches the doll’s hand, and she moans again. “She felt that,” he says, “and she’s actually getting quite horny.” Samantha is not, of course, getting horny. Samantha is a nearly inanimate object, which, by definition, is incapable of horniness — as well as hungriness, loneliness, suspiciousness, and even obliviousness. Samantha feels nothing, even if Santos wants her to.
A replication of a woman’s form, Samantha embodies the popular understanding of a sex robot — a gynoid. In today’s sex robot industry, there’s no wiggle room for gender variety or sexual orientation in sexbots: they’re made to delight heterosexual men. Shaped like women with female voices and feminine traits, these conventionally sexified robots act like extremely expensive masturbation sleeves. With no emotional fuss, little physical muss, and only one outlay of cash (until there’s an upgrade), these sexbots represent a certain kind of man’s ideal side piece.
Santos, who has a doctorate in nanotechnology, is working alongside his wife, Maritsa Kissamitaki, to build Samantha, a responsive, humanoid sex robot, as an idealized companion to Santos’ marriage (but only for Santos, who says he would be jealous if Kissamitaki had a male robot of her own). Essentially a sex doll retrofitted with sensors, rudimentary A.I., and some motorized movement, Samantha cycles between “friendly,” “romantic,” and “sexual” emotional modes and among “patience,” “memory,” and “sensuality” personality types. Samantha, its creator claims, is capable of having an orgasm, and she’ll set you back about $7,000 — more if yours has a custom vibrating vagina.
The hard fact is that as much as some people want a functioning sexbot, these machines don’t exist.
Like TrueCompanion’s Roxxxy, which its maker touts as the world’s first sex robot, and Abyss…