TalkAboutSexxx.com

Sex and sexuality news and information forum

 forum - business directory - image gallery

It is currently Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:51 pm

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 28 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Sex robots
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:50 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Image
Top: a cybernetic human HRP-4C robot creates expressions like anger and surprise, during a demonstration in Tsukuba, Japan. Bottom: a receptionist robot produced by Kokoro is demonstrated at the company's factory in Tokyo
Picture: AFP/GETTY

Not quite the sex bots yet, but it's a start!
Now for a cute guy with a big smile... :grin:

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sex robots
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:55 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Let's talk about sex ... with robots

by Jack Schofield
Wednesday 16 September 2009

Image
Artificial intelligence expert David Levy. Photograph: Teri Pengilley

David Levy came to fame with chess programs, but now has ambitions to use his prize-winning chatbot software to spice up robots

People often talk to machines, including computers and robots, and a growing number of AI (artificial intelligence) researchers are working to enable them to talk back. And soon, human-computer interactions may include having sex with them. That's the view of David Levy, who has just won the 2009 Loebner prize for the most human-like chatbot.

The annual competition, held last week in Brighton, is based on the "Turing test" inspired by a 1950 paper written by the British computer scientist Alan Turing: that when communicating only via a keyboard, a judge should have trouble distinguishing the software from a human being.

Turning predicted that by 2000, "an average interrogator will not have more than 70% chance of making the right identification after five minutes of questioning". Conversation programs are still a very long way from that, but Levy's Do-Much-More chatbot, developed at Intelligent Toys Ltd in London, has its charms. (An earlier version was called Do-A-Lot, after Eliza Doolittle in Shaw's play Pygmalion.) One Loebner conversation, for example, went as follows:

Judge-3: What do you do when you're not doing the Loebner prize?

Do-Much-More: Oh, I do much more than I intended to do at first. I got more interested in the job as I went along.

Judge-3: Is that difficult?

Do-Much-More: No, it isn't at all difficult. It is as peaceful as a platypus playing with a potato pudding.

Surprise win

Levy last won the competition when it was held in New York in 1997, so why did he wait so long to re-enter? It does, after all, carry a lot of prestige, and this year's cash prize was $3,000. "About 18 months ago, I was approached by an American startup, and I got involved with developing a chatbot for them. So I took some work I'd done after the last competition, and we extended it. I was quite pleased with it, and it occurred to me that the advances in chatbot quality since I first won the prize were really nothing to write home about. So, more as an experiment that anything else, I thought it would be interesting to see how I fared against the cream of the crop. I didn't enter with the idea that I was going to win. It surprised me a lot."

Levy has, of course, seen dramatic improvements in chess computers since "the Levy Challenge": in 1968, he bet £1,000 that no computer program would beat him in a chess match within 10 years. He didn't lose what had become a $5,000 challenge until 1989, and by 1997, a chess computer was capable of beating the world champion, Garry Kasparov. Chatbots started with Joseph Weizenbaum's Eliza "psychotherapist" in the 1960s: why haven't they made similar progress?

"It's a very difficult problem to solve, and to solve any of the major tasks in AI requires a huge amount of effort," says Levy. "One of the reasons computer chess progressed was that the subject was so interesting that there were hundreds of people all over the world working on chess programs, and on the hardware as well. I think that if the same effort was devoted to good conversational programs — if research institutes or governments or corporations threw enough money at it — the state of the art would advance even further."

Well, people nowadays often interact with artificial intelligences in games and on the web, so why aren't commercial needs already driving that investment?

"There are two things about the commercial world: one is to have the need, and the other is to have the confidence or the courage to invest significant resources," says Levy. Until recently there was justifiable doubt whether throwing a lot of money at the problem would produce something good enough to be used commercially. Now companies are probably beginning to realise that it might bring about the kind of advances they're looking for.

"For a program to be commercially successful in this field, it has to be interesting and entertaining over a long period. It's not enough to have someone conduct a conversation for two or three minutes and say, 'Oh, isn't that cute?' "

Of course, AI researchers have developed both chatbots and humanoid or at least pet-like robots, and it seems most likely the two will eventually converge. It's hard to imagine a good companion or carer robot that can't understand what people say, and that might also apply to sex robots. This is an area Levy got to know well through researching his 2007 book Love and Sex With Robots, which he then rewrote as a PhD thesis for Maastricht University in the Netherlands. It caused quite a stir.

"It did, yes, and I was very pleased about that," he replies. "I've done more interviews about Love and Sex With Robots than I have about computer chess!"

Almost human

But so far there hasn't been any commercial interest in adding conversation software to sex robots. "The state of the art is only a little further advanced than the Real Dolls of this world," he says. "There's a Japanese company that has a product called HoneyDoll, which has some electronic sensors. If the man strokes the nipples in the right way, the doll can make orgasmic sounds … There's also an engineer in Germany, Michael Harriman, who has developed a doll that has heating elements so most of the body is warm, apart from the feet."

There's also a lot of AI research going into artificial emotions and artificial personalities; into things such as artificial skin in the medical industries; and in Japan, into carer robots, which the Japanese government sees as the only way of caring for rapidly growing numbers of older people. All these should make it possible to produce far more sophisticated robot companions than Tamagotchi, Furby, Aibo and Robosapiens.

"I think the sex robot will happen fairly soon because the bottom is dropping out of the adult entertainment market, because there's so much sex available for nothing on the internet," says Levy. "I think the market was worth something like $12bn a year, and they aren't going to want to lose all their income, and this seems to me an obvious direction to go. The market must be vast, if you think of the number of vibrators that sell to women. I'm sure a male sex doll with a vibrating penis will sell better than sex dolls today. I'll be surprised if it's more than another three years or so before we see more advanced sex dolls with more electronics and electromechanics.

"There will be a huge amount of publicity when products like this hit the market. As soon as the media starts writing about 'My fantastic weekend with a sex doll', it will be like the iPhone all over again, but the queues will be longer.

"I am firmly convinced there will be a huge demand from people who have a void in their lives because they have no one to love, and no one who loves them. The world will be a much happier place because all those people who are now miserable will suddenly have someone. I think that will be a terrific service to mankind."

Source: Guardian UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sex robots
PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:47 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
TrueCompanion takes wraps off robot girlfriend
9 January 2010

Image
Personality plus ... Roxxxy with her inventor, Douglas Hines. Photo: AFP

Roxxxy the sex robot had a coming out party Saturday in Sin City.

In what is billed as a world first, a life-size robotic girlfriend complete with artificial intelligence and flesh-like synthetic skin was introduced to adoring fans at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.

"She can't vacuum, she can't cook but she can do almost anything else if you know what I mean," TrueCompanion's Douglas Hines said while introducing AFP to Roxxxy. "She's a companion. She has a personality. She hears you. She listens to you. She speaks. She feels your touch. She goes to sleep. We are trying to replicate a personality of a person."

Roxxxy stands five feet, seven inches tall, weighs 120 pounds, "has a full C cup and is ready for action," according to Hines, who was an artificial intelligence engineer at Bell Labs before starting TrueCompanion. The anatomically-correct robot has an articulated skeleton that can move like a person but can't walk or independently move its limbs. Robotic movement is built into "the three inputs" and a mechanical heart that powers a liquid cooling system.

Roxxxy comes with five personalities. Wild Wendy is outgoing and adventurous, while Frigid Farrah is reserved and shy. There is a young naive personality along with a Mature Martha that Hines described as having a "matriarchal kind of caring." S & M Susan is geared for more adventurous types.

Aspiring partners can customize Roxxxy features, including race, hair color and breast size. A male sex robot named "Rocky" is in development. People ordering the robots online at truecompanion.com detail their tastes and interests much like online dating sites but here, the information is used to get the mechanical girlfriend in synch with her mate.

"She knows exactly what you like," Hines said of Roxxxy, noting that Rocky will also come with personalities. "If you like Porsches, she likes Porsches. If you like soccer, she likes soccer." Roxxxy will chat with her flesh-and-blood mate, and touching her elicits comments varying according to personalities. She is wirelessly linked to the Internet for software updates, technical support and to send her man email messages. People can customize "true companion" personalities and then share the programs with others online on the company's website, according to Hines.

"Just think about wife or girlfriend swapping without actually giving the person to someone else," Hines said. "You can share the personality online."

Inspiration for the sex robot sprang from the September 11, 2001 attacks, when planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon and an empty field in Pennsylvania. "I had a friend who passed away in 9/11," Hines said. "I promised myself I would create a program to store his personality, and that became the foundation for Roxxxy True Companion." 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.

Roxxxy versions are priced from 7,000 to 9,000 dollars, depending on features. The sex robot is available in Europe and the United States and will eventually be available globally, according to Hines.

Source: Breitbart.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sex robots
PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:02 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Sex robot focuses on appealing to the mind
January 10, 2010
By PETER SVENSSON

Image

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A New Jersey company says it has developed "the world's first sex robot," a life-size rubber doll that's designed to engage the owner with conversation rather than lifelike movement.

At a demonstration at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas on Saturday, the dark-haired, negligee-clad robot said "I love holding hands with you" when it sensed that its creator touched its hand.

Another action, this one unprintable, elicited a different vocal response from Roxxxy the robot. The level of sophistication demonstrated was not beyond that of a child's talking toy, but Roxxxy has a lot more brains than that—there's a laptop connected to cables coming out of its back. It has touch sensors at strategic locations and can sense when it's being moved. But it can't move on its own, not even to turn its head or move its lips. The sound comes out of an internal loudspeaker.

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.

In a 2007 book, "Love and Sex with Robots," British chess player and artificial intelligence expert David Levy argues that robots will become significant sexual partners for humans, answering needs that other people are unable or unwilling to satisfy.

Source: Breitbart.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sex robots
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:49 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
John Walsh: Frigid Farrah or Foxxxy are not a girlfriend experience I recognise
12 January 2010

When the former New York governor Eliot Spitzer ran into trouble for employing the resources of an escort agency called the Emperor's Club, I checked it out (unsleeping sense of journalistic duty, you understand) and was impressed by the way the site described its enticements. "Meet Samantha," read one. "Breathtaking beauty, inspiring conversation and a candid personality make her a peerless companion. When seeking a vivaciously rejuvenating girlfriend experience, Samantha is the obvious choice."

At the time I assumed that the "vivaciously rejuvenating girlfriend experience" was a comically overblown euphemism for a shag, but I was wrong. In sex-worker terminology, a Girlfriend Experience (or GFE) means a hooker who offers a fair impression of emotional intimacy for an hour: who can share your mood, mirror your enthusiasms and converse as if she understands what you're on about. To the chronically lovelorn, it's probably well worth $400 an hour, with a shag, as it were, thrown in.

Now here's proof that the essential ingredient in the bedroom isn't, after all, a battery-operated device or mink-lined restraints, but conversation. In Las Vegas, at the Adult Entertainment Expo, an inventor called Douglas Hines, of the True Companion corporation, unveiled a $7,000 life-size sex robot called Roxxxy, whose secret weapon is that it/she can be programmed to chat. She murmurs with pleasure when touched, and, when you tap commands into a laptop (don't snigger) she can project a variety of personalities — "outgoing and adventurous" Wild Wendy, caring and mumsyish Mature Martha, severe, no-nonsense S&M Sarah and "reserved and shy" Frigid Farrah (who sounds, quite frankly, a dead loss as a sex toy.) All have the technological wherewithal to hold a conversation, using pre-recorded words and sounds. "She knows exactly what you want," said Mr Hines excitedly. "If you like Porsches, she likes Porsches, if you like soccer, she likes soccer."

Roxxxy will be a boon to certain male dwellers of Losers' Lane. At last, they can have a "girlfriend experience" with someone interested in their views on the BMW Z4 compared to the Porsche Boxter. But will the robots be programmed to hold proper conversations, with robust exchanges of views? I can imagine S&M Sarah telling her new owner that, although he is a god, a Titan, an Olympian between the sheets, he knows less than sod-all about goalmouth tactics. And I can't see the "outgoing and adventurous" Wild Wendy holding back her contempt after listening to half an hour of techno-bollocks about torque ratios.

But I wonder if the inventors have missed the point about bedroom conversations. In my experience, they tend not to be about subjects, topics, current affairs or world events. They tend to be about people, the oddities and shortcomings of previous partners (to delight and reassure one's present partner), or the theoretical desirability of other people as yet unexplored (to tease one's present partner). Whatever her other virtues, it's hard to imagine Foxxxy the robot lying beside you and murmuring: "I used to be involved with this servo-mechanism in Detroit. He was cool, mostly steel and chrome but with, you know, attachments. He showed me his circuit board. That was amazing. He'd do anything for me but he was too much of an automaton."

Source: The Independent UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sex robots
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:45 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Image
Geminoid F, one of the latest robots designed by engineers at Osaka University.

That’s Not A Droid, That’s My Girlfriend
By Aubrey Belford
February 21, 2013

Robotics in many parts of the world is driven by military aims. Pacifist Japan takes a different approach: This is a digital love story.

Osamu Kozaki’s life in Tokyo is, by his own admission, often a lonely one. The 35-year-old, an engineer who designs industrial robots, has had few relationships with women in his life. Those few have almost always gone badly. So when Kozaki’s girlfriend, Rinko Kobayakawa, sends him a message, his day brightens up. The relationship started more than three years ago, when Kobayakawa was a prickly 16-year-old working in her school library, a quiet girl who shut out the world with a pair of earphones that blasted punk music.

Kozaki sums up Kobayakawa’s personality with one word: tsundere – a popular term in Japan’s otaku geek culture, which describes a certain feminine ideal. It refers to the kind of girl who starts out hostile but whose heart gradually grows warmer. And that’s what has happened; over time, Kobayakawa has changed. These days, she spends much of her day sending affectionate missives to her boyfriend, inviting him on dates, or seeking his opinion when she wants to buy a new dress or try a new hairstyle.



But while Kozaki has aged, Kobayakawa has not. After three years, she’s still 16. She always will be. That’s because she is a simulation; Kobayakawa only exists inside a computer. Kozaki’s girlfriend has never been born. She will never die. Technically, she has never lived. She may be deleted, but Kozaki would never let that happen. Because he’s in love.

Kozaki is one of hundreds of thousands of Japanese who have bought Love Plus, a game released on the Nintendo DS in 2009, which is intended to simulate the experience of high-school romance with one of three pre-programmed teen girl characters. For a sizable number of loyal male gamers, it has become something more: a relationship that, if not entirely like dating a real woman, comes close as a source of affection.

“I really do love her,” Kozaki explains, when he and two of his friends meet with me in a coffee shop in Akihabara, the Tokyo neighbourhood at the centre of Japan’s otaku culture. Kozaki fully expects the game to be a lifelong commitment. “If someone were to ask me to stop, I don’t think I could do it,” he says. Kozaki recounts what happened when an updated version of the game came out; which meant he had to move his saved data onto a new program. Kozaki couldn’t come at the idea of having two simultaneous versions of his virtual girlfriend in existence, so he asked a friend to delete the old saved data for him. It was — almost — as if he had arranged for someone to be murdered, he says. “I cried when he pushed that delete button,” he says, acknowledging that it sounds strange. “It was as if I crossed a border line from reality.”

One of his friends, Yutaka Masano, 37, feels the same about the possibility of losing his girlfriend, who is also the Kobayakawa character. “I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I lost the data. My mind would go blank, I wouldn’t be able to think at all,” he says.

Both men, along with another friend, 39-year-old Nobuhito Sugiye, can articulate a philosophical basis for their affection and their fear of loss. That is, for them these computer girls possess the same tamashii — spirits — that devotees of Japanese animism, or Shinto, believe can inhabit all things, fromrocks and streams to humans. “Everything is equal. We have no borders between robots and people,” Kozaki explains.

“In the foreign stories, robots are always the enemies. In Japan, they’re our friends.”

Image
Aubrey Belford/The Global Mail
Fans of the Nintendo DS game ‘Love Plus’. From left: Yutaka Masano, Osamu Kozaki and Nobuhito Sugiye.

This is the future Japan is working towards. The country is not alone in pursuing cutting-edge work in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). The United States, in particular, has led the development of military robotics, sparking often anguished debates over the ethical issues posed by drones that can spy and kill at great distances from both their targets and controllers. Similarly, American-born AI systems such as Apple’s virtual personal assistant, Siri, and Watson, the IBM computer that in 2011 defeated human champions on the quiz show Jeopardy!, and even Google’s search engine, have produced stunning results.

But Japanese robotic engineering has a fundamentally different approach. While most of the world’s robotics development has been focussed on creating largely impersonal machines, to work or kill on behalf of humans, robots in Japan are being specifically developed to be personable, sociable and endearing — to be friends rather than slaves.

Kozaki and his friends obsessing over AI girlfriends may seem bizarre now. But if roboticists working in Japan have their way, these men may prove to be trendsetters. In the near future, as the line between humans and machines blurs, many of us may well develop affection for — or even fall in love with — robots. And for that we can thank Shinto, which, in one way or another, colours the belief system of nearly every Japanese person. Add to that Japan’s ageing population, the country’s anti-immigrant xenophobia, the Second World War and Astro Boy.

MORE THAN ANY COUNTRY ON EARTH, Japan is getting old. Already, 23 per cent of the population is over the age of 65. By 2050, it is estimated that two out of five Japanese will be elderly, and the population as a whole will have contracted by tens of millions.

Most of the world’s other developed countries can simply respond to the fact of their greying populations by importing people — increasing immigration. But public sentiment in Japan, which has one of the world’s most homogenous cultures, is largely against this option. The country has long been averse to large-scale immigration, and although it has, in recent decades, actively tried to recruit foreign aged-care nurses, these efforts have not been enough to meet demand.

Instead, Japan’s government and corporations have poured significant amounts of money into developing often cuddly looking robots that can perform aged-care duties. The government is aiming to have robots working widely in Japanese homes by 2018, with the main emphasis on machines that can help lift the bed-ridden elderly, monitor the senile, assist people with going to the toilet, and generally perform to aid people’s mobility. Japan’s Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry will spend 3.3 billion yen, or about AUD 34 million, in the next financial year, on the research and development of such service robots. Universities and companies are also kicking in large amounts of research funding.

After Japan was defeated in the Second World War, its American occupiers left the country with a new constitution that renounced Japan’s right to wage war. Today the country still officially has no military (although it does have a sizeable and well-equipped “Self-Defence Force”). In the post-war period Japan’s universities and its big conglomerates mainly turned their focus to a technology-driven economic recovery. Mitsubishi, for example, went from making Zero fighter planes to making affordable family cars. And over time, an army of industrial robots came to underpin Japan’s manufacturing miracle, before the economy went into a tailspin in the early 1990s.

Image
Aubrey Belford/The Global Mail
Robot Restaurant in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district puts on nightly musical android spectaculars.

Thus, Japanese culture has, for more than half a century, been infused with a belief in redemption by robot. While American science fiction has long obsessed over the risk of robots rebelling against humanity — think 2001: A Space Odyssey or the Terminator movies — the robots of Japan’s popular culture have been far friendlier. Astro Boycame to life in manga form in 1952, as a thinking, feeling robot child powered by nuclear energy — just seven years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There have been countless such characters since.

But Japan’s actual robot success story has been mixed when it comes to producing the ultimate dream: advanced human-like robots. Honda has received a constant stream of publicity for its costly ASIMO, a humanoid robot billed as the most advanced of its kind. The product of nearly three decades of development, the latest version of ASIMO, unveiled in 2011, can run, hop on one leg, move up stairs and pour drinks, all on a lithium ion battery that lasts for one hour. But this is clearly still far from being a robot that people could use in their homes. When the Fukushima nuclear crisis struck in 2011, many Japanese also expected the country’s robots to play a role in the response. In the end, the role they played was far less than many hoped; many Western-developed robots were better suited to the job.

The most promising aged-care robots now in development are much less exciting than science fiction’s promise of realistic androids. Instead, they reflect the narrow goals the government has for them: that they be able to perform a fairly limited range of tasks, to help, rather than replace, human caregivers.

But that doesn’t mean research into realising the android dream isn’t going apace. Slowly, and in a piecemeal fashion, things are coming together. It’s just that such robots need a certain kind of smarts.

If you’re going to put a robot in a situation that involves dealing closely with people, it needs to be able to think about how humans move, gesture, communicate and feel, explains Professor Toyoaki Nishida, who is researching artificial intelligence at Kyoto University.

Image
Aubrey Belford/The Global Mail
The international team of roboticists at Kyoto Univeristy. From left: Toyoaki Nishida, Yoshimasa Ohmoto, Yasser Mohammad and Divesh Lala.

Imagine putting a fully autonomous robot in a room with a frail elderly person: one misjudged move by the robot could cause an injury. And how useful is a robot nurse that can’t recognise an important gesture like a wince, the pointing of a finger or a wave for help? Assuming you can design a robot with these capabilities, once you put it in a room with dozens of individuals, all darting in different directions and sending different cues, things get even more difficult.

Overcoming this problem actually presents a key opportunity to create artificial intelligence that starts to calculate and anticipate what humans can do, Nishida explains.

“So far the artificial intelligence people have been working just on [simulating] the mind — on programs, software. That sort of thing has caused a lot of difficulty [for] building a mind, deep artificial intelligence, because without a body it’s very hard for us to give intelligence to things,” he says. “Our physical environment is much more complicated than a chess board.”

Nishida leads a small international team focussed on the problems that come with human-robot interactions. It’s deeply immersive work. In one approach, Nishida’s researchers enter a specially designed chamber, which has motion sensors, and screens relaying a 360-degree view of the outside environment; the chamber is in turn linked to a robot. The researcher inside the chamber sees what the robot sees through its camera on the screens. And when the human moves, so does the robot. The aim, says Nishida, is that by observing how a human operating a robot body interacts with the world, researchers will then be able to compile data on the complexities of how humans react with their environment — including other people. The whole process involves a huge array of sensors and analysing massive amounts of collected information.

And yet getting a robot to move well is the easy part. By far the greatest challenge in developing AI is to create machines that can converse, Nishida says. That requires AIs that can comprehend speech, understand the layers of meaning behind it, and then formulate responses that make sense. A misstep at any stage can lead to the AI giving the wrong response, or not responding at all.

It’s a problem one of Nishida’s team, Yasser Mohammad, calls “going off the script”. You can only program a robot to deal with a certain number of situations in ways that make it seem convincingly intelligent. Throw up an unexpected situation and it immediately becomes clear that you are dealing with a machine.

The solution, Mohammad explains, is to throw away the hard coding — an approach that’s also being used in the West, but in which Japan is a key player.

“Our long-term goal is we want robots to learn natural behaviours the same way a child learns,” he says. Mohammad and his colleagues have developed robots that can do very little at first, but which learn how to do physical tasks through repeated instruction by humans. At first, they are slow to pick up tasks, but after several tries they make rapid progress. It’s a process that Mohammad, an Egyptian, likens to his own children learning Japanese.

Ultimately, he says, “If you go off the script, the robot will be able to go off the script with you.” When robots reach that stage of development, their behaviour will be hard to distinguish from that of a human. It’s also the point at which a big philosophical question kicks in: Is this thing actually conscious?

Image
Aubrey Belford/The Global Mail
Yoshimasa Ohmoto, of Kyoto University, remotely controls a robot using motion sensors.

“The maximum we can achieve is behavioural intelligence,” Mohammad says. In other words, we can create a robot that behaves like a living, thinking being. “It’s up to you to decide if someone is actually inside or not.”

The idea may seem a little far-fetched, but in fact it takes very little for a person to see human qualities in a machine.

Watching demonstration videos at Nishida’s lab, I experience a moment of surprising emotional impact. In one clip, a human points down to an object on a bench in order to get a robot to interact with it. The robot, a fairly unimpressive looking pile of nuts and bolts, doesn’t yet know what a pointing motion means.

But it does know to follow a human’s gaze. Taking its cue from the person, the robot dips its head and glances at the bench. Instantly, the robot no longer seems to be a lifeless machine. It has interacted with a human in a way that looks as if it is responding to his desires or interest in something. The sense that they have an emotional connection, a shared interest, is inescapable. Even though I know it’s not true, my human interpretation of what I see, is telling me otherwise; and I feel a twinge of empathy for the robot.

This sort of response is inevitable, says David Levy, a British chess master who has written extensively on AI. Humans, especially children, actually have a strong tendency to form attachments to objects, including computers.

Even when the technology is relatively rudimentary, some people can become very emotionally invested in it. In the 1990s, many people formed almost obsessive relationships with the Tamagotchi, a virtual pet that is nothing more than a bleeping plastic egg with an LCD screen. The pet’s constant need for food and care prompted a strong nurturing response in some people.

Levy believes that the more robots come to respond to human emotional desires — the need for company, for empathy and nurturing –- the more we’ll become emotionally attached to them. “As to humans forming close emotional relationships with robots, I believe it will be about 40 years until people in large numbers are falling in love with robots and even marrying them — but in smaller numbers it will happen earlier,” he says.

The appearance of the machines, as well as their artificial intelligence, plays an important role in our tendency to respond to them. Japanese robotics design has seen a profusion of attempts to make machines relatable. Some have focused on plush toy-like cuteness, as in the case of Paro, a fluffy seal intended to comfort sick children and the elderly by responding to their caresses and emotional states.

Others have attempted to imitate human appearance itself.

IN PERSON – IF INDEED PERSON IS THE RIGHT WORD – Geminoid F can appear strikingly beautiful in a way that doesn’t translate to photos or video. Her hair is smooth and glossy, and falls across her delicately translucent, pale silicone face. As she sits in the chair at Osaka University, she runs through an idling program of random motions. She blinks, fidgets and makes small, distracted movements with her lips. When she turns her head and looks at you with her plastic eyes, the effect is thrilling and unsettling. It feels as if you’re being stared at, a little too intently, by an attractive stranger.

Geminoid F is one of the latest in a series of machines designed by engineers led by Hiroshi Ishiguro, a roboticist who has gained a measure of international fame for creations made to realistically resemble people. In 2000, Ishiguro started with a small, child-like robot Repliee R1, modelled on his own daughter. He soon moved on, creating a series of four geminoids modelled on himself (the word geminoid denotes a robot copy of a real person) as well as three other robots modelled on other people.

Image
Aubrey Belford/The Global Mail
Hiroshi Ishiguro strokes Geminoid F’s hair.

Ishiguro’s goal is to overcome the “Uncanny Valley”, a term coined in 1970 by the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori. It refers to a problem that occurs in both robot design and 3D animation: that is, the more human-like you make something, the more appealingly familiar it becomes, until you cross a certain line and the thing looks and acts too much like a human — then it suddenly becomes terribly creepy. A jerky movement or a dead-eyed stare can render a wonderfully humanoid robot suddenly repulsive.

Western robotics, with its emphasis on military and industrial applications, has been less concerned with this problem. But it’s an essential challenge for the kind of intimate roles envisioned for Japanese robots.

“My goal is to understand what human is,” Ishiguro says. “By making a copy of a human, we can understand humans.” This work involves obsessive study of the quirks and mannerisms of human subjects so that they can be replicated in a robot. When it came to creating a copy of himself, Ishiguro had to pass the job on to colleagues. But after a lifetime of recognising his own face in a mirror, he says seeing his robotic clone seems more like meeting a long-lost twin brother than meeting himself. “It doesn’t look like a mirror [image], therefore I can’t accept the geminoid face is my face. It’s a bit confusing.”

Ishiguro’s work is very much focussed on outside appearance. The geminoids are not built to communicate or move autonomously. Instead, they’re a vehicle for exploring how close to human-like robots can become. Geminoid F, based on an anonymous female model, has already been used in performances, including a travelling “robot theatre” that made its way to Australia last year. And, in an experiment, Geminoid F replaced the human receptionist at a company’s front desk, greeting visitors as they entered. Only 20 per cent of people noticed something was amiss, Ishiguro says.

At one stage late in our interview, after I have switched off the video camera and Ishiguro is standing behind Geminoid F, I ask him if I can see beneath her skin. He fiddles with the seam at the back of her skull before saying no. But his hand lingers, and I notice he is tenderly stroking her hair.

I ask Ishiguro whether he’s started having feelings for the robot?

“Maybe. [It’s] confusing. We are working so many years together. I'm very sure my students, some of them are loving this humanoid,” he says. “The relationship is very human.” One day, Ishiguro says, when the parts of one of their geminoids wear out, it will be time to dispose of it. When that happens, he and his students will hold a memorial service.

The confusing emotional questions that come with human-robot interaction has given rise to an emerging sub-discipline, dubbed “lovotics”. An academic journal of the same name was launched this year, aimed at addressing the question of how robots can enrich human emotional lives.

Adrian David Cheok, an Australian who is now a professor at Keio University in Tokyo, is one of the journal’s founders. The way he sees it, the internet has already helped bring people closer together. But it’s an experience limited by the fact that the internet currently only interacts with two of our senses: sight and sound. Anyone who has been brought back to childhood by a smell, or been comforted by a hug or touch — in other words, pretty much everyone — knows how powerful such senses can be.

Image
Aubrey Belford/The Global Mail
Geminoid F in repose.

“Actually, physically it’s also been shown that the smell and taste senses are directly connected to the limbic system of our brain. The limbic system of our brain is responsible for emotion and memory. Unlike the visual sense, which basically gets processed by visual cortex and then the frontal lobe, which is higher-order, logical part, we have direct connection between smell and taste and the emotional and memory part of our brain,” Cheok says.



“So much of our lives now is online, but still I think a lot of us will agree it’s so different than meeting someone face-to-face. You have all these different physical communications that we can’t capture now through an audio/visual screen,” he says. “Essentially I’m really interested in [whether we can] merge all of our five senses of human communication with the internet — with the virtual world. That’s what I call ‘mixed reality’.”

Robotics plays a key role in making that a reality, through what is known as telepresence. Basically, it means transmitting actions into a robotic surrogate somewhere else. This can be fairly simple, Cheok says. Cheok and his students have already developed a ring worn on the finger that can deliver a gentle squeeze from a loved one, via a smart phone app. A student of Cheok’s has recently commercially released a vest that can transmit hugs, which is proving useful for calming autistic children. Cheok’s engineers are working on systems to transmit taste, via electrical impulses to the tongue, as well as smell, either via electrical stimulation or the release of chemicals.

The goal further down the track will be the creation of robotic avatars — representations or embodiments of people, though not necessarily made to look like them. To start with, these will be soft, fluffy and not particularly complex. For example, we could transmit our presence into a pillow or teddy bear. But as the endeavours of such scientists as Hiroshi Ishiguro progress, the creation of human-like surrogates will become possible.

“We’re definitely getting there... The rate of change of technology is exponential. What before maybe we thought would take 50 years now takes 5 or 10. I don’t think it’s going to be very far off when we have humanoid robots. They may be expensive at first,” Cheok says.

“I think at that stage, we can have virtual avatars; virtual robots which then, for example, [let you] be in Tokyo or Sydney and give a conference in Los Angeles. You don’t have to fly there. Your robot can be there.”

If there’s one major obstacle in the way of Japan’s projected robo-utopia, it’s the country’s economic situation. Japan has been in a state of economic malaise for more than two decades, and memories of the robot-supported boom years are fading. Neither the companies likely to do the research nor the Japanese government are as flush with cash as they used to be.

One of Japan’s major strengths — its peacenik constitution — has also proved to be a weakness. In the United States, the massive military-industrial complex has marshalled resources to create some truly impressive machinery; drones, for example, have been developed to meet guaranteed demand from government agencies. In Japan, however, there is little co-ordination between different institutions and industries, explains Nishida of Kyoto University.

“People are just interested in working on small parts of the problem, rather than looking at the whole,” Nishida says. While some work on artificial intelligence, others are focussed on the outer physical appearance of robots. With co-ordination and plenty of funding, a fairly complete intelligent android could be built within the next decade or two, he says. Under current conditions, it will probably take longer.

But the consensus is that such robots are coming, and that they will most likely be made first in Japan.

Cheok, of Keio University, says he’s not convinced we’ll produce thinking, feeling, conscious robots until at least the middle of the century, if at all. But he is certain we’re heading towards a loving technological future. Thanks to their Shinto beliefs, the Japanese have fewer cultural barriers standing in the way of forming close emotional bonds with machines. But as robots become smarter and better looking, he says many more people of other cultures will become ensnared.

“I think the thing is that we already develop bonding with not very intelligent beings. As a kid you might have kept a pet hamster or pet mouse. They’re not actually so intelligent. But I think that a kid can even cry when the hamster dies,” he says. “I'm not a biologist. I don't know why we developed empathy but I’m sure there’s an important evolutionary reason why we developed empathy. That empathy doesn’t just stop at human beings. We can develop empathy for small creatures and animals. I don’t think the leap is very far where you can develop empathy for robots.”

Source: The Global Mail.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sex robots
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:46 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Sex with robots to be 'the norm' in 50 years, expert claims
4 August 2015
By David Watkinson

Image
Getty - Future: Experts believe humans could be having sex with robots in the near future

Humans could soon be having sexual relationships with robots, a top academic has claimed.

Dr Helen Driscoll said advances in technology mean the way in which humans interact with robots is set to change drastically in the coming years. Dr Driscoll, a leading authority on the psychology of sex and relationships, said 'sex tech' was already advancing at a fast pace and by 2070, physical relationships will seem primitive.

Already you can order a mannequin partner online. And robotic, interactive, motion-sensing technology is likely to become more and more central to the sex industry in the next few years. "It could really start to enable mannequin partners to 'come to life'", according to Dr Driscoll, from the University of Sunderland.

Image
Humans: The hit Channel 4 show depicts sex between people and robots

She said: "We tend to think about issues such as virtual reality and robotic sex within the context of current norms. But if we think back to the social norms about sex that existed just 100 years ago, it is obvious that they have changed rapidly and radically. Robophilia may be alien now, but could be normal in the near future as attitudes evolve with technology. "As virtual reality becomes more realistic and immersive and is able to mimic and even improve on the experience of sex with a human partner; it is conceivable that some will choose this in preference to sex with a less than perfect human being." Dr Driscoll adds: "People may also begin to fall in love with their virtual reality partners."

This is an issue explored in the recent film Her, in which Joaquin Phoenix's character falls in love with an operating system. In the hit drama Humans, Anita is a robot who has sex with the father of the family that has bought her.

Dr Driscoll said she believes that: "This may seem shocking and unusual now, but we should not automatically assume that virtual relationships have less value than real relationships. The fact is, people already fall in love with fictional characters though there is no chance to meet and interact with them."

Dr Driscoll has shown that there are already many people living alone, people who have not been able to find a partner or have lost a partner who virtual relationships could benefit. Virtual sexual partners may provide significant psychological benefits for them as a virtual partner will be better than no partner at all.

Image
Hollywood: Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with a machine in the movie Her

For those already in an intimate relationship, she warns that the psychological impact will depend on how they handle the co-existence of real and virtual relationships. She said: "Most people successfully integrate other forms of virtual reality into their lives, but virtual sex - not to mention love - will be seen by some as infidelity, and this will present real challenges to some relationships. "In the world of the future, we could well see human relationships increasingly conducted entirely online. And, as some people start to prefer technologically enhanced virtual sex to sex with humans, we may also see greater numbers of people living alone, spending more time in virtual reality."

Based on data suggesting that many young Japanese people are already avoiding sex and intimate relationships there are some suggestions that this may already be happening. Japanese men are already taking their virtual girlfriend apps away on holiday with them to the island of Atami.

Dr Driscoll adds: "Currently the lack of human contact could be harmful. Humans are naturally sociable and a lack of human contact could lead to loneliness which is linked to various mental and physical health problems. "But, in the long term, technology may overcome these problems. When eventually there are intelligent robots indistinguishable from humans - apart from their lack of bad habits, imperfections and need for investment - not only are we likely to choose them over 'real' humans but psychologically we will not suffer if we are not able to tell the difference."

Source: Mirror UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sex robots
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:29 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Sex robots should be banned, say campaigners, as engineers look to add AI to sex toys
by Andrew Griffin
Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Image
A still from the film Ex Machina, in which an AI seduces a man

Companies should be stopped from developing sex robots with artificial intelligence for fear of harming humanity, according to campaigners.

Many engineers are looking to add artificial intelligence to sex toys and dolls in an attempt to make them more like humans, and therefore more attractive to customers. But such moves are unethical and will harm humanity, according to a new campaign. The Campaign Against Sex Robots, launched this week, says that the “increasing effort” that has gone into producing sex robots — “machines in the form of women or children for use as sex objects, substitutes for human partners or prostitutes” — is harmful and makes society more unequal.

The researchers say that such robots contribute towards the objectification of women and children and enforce stereotypical ideas of them. The robots reduce human empathy, since they will take people away from relationships with real humans, they argue.

The robots also reproduce the idea of prostitution, which the campaigners say could harm women. The ideas behind the robots “show the immense horrors still present in the world of prostitution which is built on the ‘perceived’ inferiority of women and children and therefore justifies their uses as sex objects”, the researchers say. Some have argued that sex robots will help those involved in prostitution and sexual exploitation and violence, since those people will instead use robots. But the researchers say that “technology and the sex trade coexist and reinforce each other creating more demand for human bodies”.

The campaign, led by robotics and ethics researchers Kathleen Richardson and Erik Brilling, proposes that engineers instead work on technology that “reflect human principles of dignity, mutuality and freedom”.

They hope that other members will join the campaign, so that it can “encourage computer scientists and roboticists to refuse to contribute to the development of sex robots as a field by refusing to provide code, hardware or ideas” as well as working with campaigns against the sexual exploitation of humans.

Source: Independent UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sex robots
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:09 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Creepy ultra-realistic SEX robots are facing UK ban
By Aaron Brown
September 16, 2015

Image
A man relaxes on the sofa with Roxxxy, the "the world's first sex robot," according to its creators

A campaign has been launched to try and ban the development of ultra-realistic sex robots.

Using sophisticated robotics to develop realistic human dolls capable of performing sex acts is "very disturbing indeed," said campaign leader Dr Kathleen Richardson. Sex dolls are increasingly becoming more and more realistic, with many manufacturers now striving to build artificial intelligence into the products.

But Dr Richardson – a robot ethicist at De Montfort University, in Leicester – is hoping to raise awareness of the issue and persuade those working on the advanced sex 'bots to rethink their technology. The news comes weeks after Dr Helen Driscoll – a leading on authority on the psychology of sex and relationships – claimed sex with robots would become the social norm within the next 50 years. "Sex Tech is already advancing at a pace and in 50 years' time physical relationships will seem very primitive," she said.

But Dr Richardson strongly disagrees. The De Montfort academic told the BBC: "Sex robots seem to be a growing focus in the robotics industry and the models that they draw on - how they will look, what roles they would play - are very disturbing indeed." Dr Richardson believes humanoid sex robots reinforce traditional and damaging stereotypes of women. It also perpetuates the view that a relationship does not need to be more than simply physical.

But senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Dr Kevin Curran believes sex robots are poised to become a mass market success. "We would be naive to ignore market forces for 'intimate robots'," he told the BBC. "Building human-like robots is quite easy once the mechanics are taken care of. Turning these robots into attractive companions is simply adding a 'skin'. Not difficult at all and not done much to date as most robots are built in research-led institutions - not businesses. That time is coming to an end. There have been campaign groups actively voicing opposition to killer robots but I foresee the time soon when humans are lobbying against robot companions or at least shouting 'not in my backyard'."

A number of companies are already hard at work developing advanced sex robots. Abyss Creations, a firm specialising in male and female sex toys, is set to introduce electronics into its creations.

Image
Austin Powers was seduced by the alluring robotic women The Fembots in the 1997 hit

And True Companion believes it will be the first to market with Roxxxy – "the world's first sex robot" – later this year. True Companion CEO Douglas Hines sees a real need for advanced robotic companions like Roxxxy. "We are not supplanting the wife or trying to replace a girlfriend," he reassured. "This is a solution for people who are between relationships or someone who has lost a spouse. People can find happiness and fulfilment other than via human interaction."

The US firm hopes Roxxxy will eventually be able to learn on her own, and begin to pick-up on her owner's likes and dislikes. However for now the humanoid robot has to be manually updated using a laptop – and a cable plugged into her back. "The physical act of sex will only be a small part of the time you spend with a sex robot - the majority of time will be spent socialising and interacting," Roxxxy's creator believes. Roxxxy has already had thousands of pre-orders. Each unit retails for a staggering $7,000, some £4,530.

Source: Express UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sex robots
PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:29 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Should you have sex with robots? Experts weigh in
by Arjun Kharpal
Wednesday, 4 November 2015

It's a question that has sparked fierce debate among moralists and the robotics industry. And it turns out, they're all split on what role machines should play in future relationships.

During a discussion at the Web Summit technology conference in Dublin on Wednesday, experts warned about the dangers of getting intimate with robots.

"It's something we should be very concerned about...because if people feel they can have an intimate relationship with a machine, that is saying something serious about how we're experiencing empathy with each other," Kathleen Richardson, senior research fellow in the ethics of robotics at the U.K.'s De Montfort University, said during the panel. The academic, who launched the "campaign against sex robots" earlier this year, added that "we are losing our sense of humanity."

Sex robots are becoming a reality with companies rushing to get them to market. For example, New Jersey-based True Companion has been designing what it claims is the world's first sex robot—called Roxxxy—for several years. And at the same time smartphone apps called "chatbots" have taken off - particularly in Asia. Xiaoice is one such service. It is software designed by Microsoft for the Chinese market that enables people to type and receive answers to questions for hours on end.

This proliferation of machines in intimate roles is something that should in fact be welcomed however, according to one expert. "We talk about the biggest killers in our society being things like heart disease. I actually wonder if one of the greatest killers of our age is loneliness. Now, machines can be a conduit towards not being so alone, towards getting some sort of emotional response, even if it's from a machine," Nell Watson, a futurist at the Singularity University in Silicon Valley, told the audience at Web Summit. She said that she has seen people use chatbots to get over relationships, something that could be positive for a human's emotional side. "I think machines can be a way to repair the hurt and trauma in ourselves," Watson said.

And Jim Hunter, the chief scientist at Greenwave Systems, said robots can be used to help people who have a particularly hard time communicating or integrating into society. "There's a lot of people who have challenges with regards to social interactions. And this provides them an opportunity...to actually share...at least some sort of interaction with something that they can have some sort of relationship with," Hunter said.

But Richardson warned about such a liberal use of machines and robots interfering in people's relationships. The academic said that they could be used in a "specific therapeutic context," but said there were dangers of robots becoming substitutes for partners. "If a robot was in a therapeutic context with somebody...then that might be helpful, but you've got to remember...people are saying you can have this as a substitute and in the future it might be a replacement, and that's when we get into very dangerous territory," Richardson said.

Source: CNBC.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sex robots
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:09 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
Sex, love and robots: is this the end of intimacy?
by Eva Wiseman
Sunday, 13 December 2015

Image
Box fresh: a warm-to-the-touch RealDoll in the San Diego factory, ready for shipment to a client. The dolls cost from $5,000. Photograph: Jonathan Becker/Contour by Getty Images

The world is ending.

The sports fields are empty, the science labs closed. No babies have been born for years. Cut to a split screen of human and robots kissing passionately. “They’re trapped!” says the narrator, voice like gravel. “Trapped in a soft, vice-like grip of robot lips.” Words slam against the screen, a warning. “Don’t. Date. Robots.”

Except Futurama’s 2001 episode “I Dated a Robot”, with its post-apocalyptic world of silvers and blues, wildly overestimated how long it would take before this fear became flesh. It’s November 2015, and in Malaysia, where humidity is at 89% and it is almost certainly still raining, David Levy, a founder of the second annual Congress on Love and Sex with Robots, is free to talk on the phone – he is less busy than planned. “I never expected to end up here,” he says. I hear a shrug.

The Congress on Love and Sex with Robots was meant to begin on 16 November, but was deemed illegal days after Levy arrived from London. “There’s nothing scientific about sex and robots,” inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar told a press conference, explaining why. “It is an offence to have anal sex in Malaysia [let alone sex with robots].”

“I think they thought people would be having sex with robots or some strange thing like that,” Levy’s co-founder Adrian David Cheok said afterwards, explaining that they had planned a series of academic talks about humanoid robotics. But some strange thing like that, some strange thing like a human having sex with a robot, is what Levy, Cheok and others are predicting is almost our reality. They have seen the future of sex, they say, and it is teledildonic.

Teledildonic. The word rolls around the mouth like a Werther’s Original. While there are a variety of romantic tech-sex developments appearing weekly – from the ocean of Oculus Rift possibilities to an invisible boyfriend who lives on your phone, each new development rich as a Miranda July story but as doom-laden as one of Margaret Atwood’s – it’s teledildonics that are exciting not just the porn industry, but scientists too. Long hyped as the new wave in erotic technology, these are smart sex toys connected to the internet. And while they started life as vibrators that could be operated remotely, today the term has expanded to loosely include the new generation of robotic sex dolls.

phpBB [video]


Cultural analyst Sherry Turkle warns we’re rapidly approaching a point where: “We may actually prefer the kinship of machines to relationships with real people and animals.” Certainly we have long had a fascination with these half-women, from The Bionic Woman in the 1970s to Her in 2013, where Joaquin Phoenix fell in love with his computer’s operating system. This year, Ex Machina’s Ava seduced, killed and killed again. In 2007 Ryan Gosling starred opposite a “RealDoll”, Bianca, in the indie romance Lars and the Real Girl. The film ends with him gently drowning her in a lake.

A recent study by Stanford University says people may experience feelings of intimacy towards technology because “our brains aren’t necessarily hardwired for life in the 21st century”. Hence, perhaps, the speed at which relationships with robots are becoming a reality.

Today the RealDoll team, infamous now for its lifelike sex dolls (of which they claim to have sold more than 5,000), is extending its range to develop an artificial intelligence system capable both of following commands and talking back to its user. A Realbotix head (reports the New York Times) which can be attached to the existing RealDoll body will cost around $10,000, and will be available in 2017. In a piece entitled “Is This the Dawn of the Sexbots?”, the company’s owner David Mills explained the appeal of these warm-to- the-touch dolls, telling Vanity Fair he loves women but “doesn’t really like to be around people”.

“Women have enjoyed sex toys for 50 years,” he said (after introducing his first model, which arrived at his home in what looks like a customised coffin, head not yet attached), “but men are still stigmatised. We have to correct that. I want to be the Rosa Parks of sex dolls. Men are not going to sit in the back of the bus any more.”

Image
Pinky and perky: an assortment of nipple choices that customers can order from RealDoll. Photograph: Jonathan Becker/Contour by Getty Images

The people leading us into the future of sex had other lives before (RealDoll’s Mills, for instance, is best known for the book Atheist Universe, which Richard Dawkins cites as “admirable work”). David Levy is a British international master of chess. With his white hair and a sharp eyebrow, he has the look of a cynical Einstein. It was chess that led Levy to computing, consulting in the late 1970s on the development of a chess module for home computers. In 1997, and again in 2009, he won the coveted Loebner prize, which awards the programme that is best able to simulate human communication.

“What do you do when you’re not doing the Loebner prize?” asked Judge 3 to Levy’s chatbot, Do-Much-More (the offspring of his first winner Do-A-Lot). “Oh, I do much more than I intended to do at first. I got more interested in the job as I went along.” Judge 3: “Is that difficult?” Do-Much-More: “No, it isn’t at all difficult. It is as peaceful as a platypus playing with a potato pudding.”

In 2007 Levy published Love and Sex with Robots, a book that one USA Today critic found “troublingly arousing”. Just as same-sex love and marriage have finally been embraced by society, he argued, so will sex with robots. “Love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans,” he wrote. The dream is, as one would expect, utopian. Prostitution will become obsolete. Artificial intelligence will be the answer to many of the world’s problems with intimacy. “The number of sexual acts and lovemaking positions commonly practised between humans will be extended, as robots teach us more than is in all of the world’s published sex manuals combined.”

Levy predicted “a huge demand from people who have a void in their lives because they have no one to love, and no one who loves them. The world will be a much happier place because all those people who are now miserable will suddenly have someone. I think that will be a terrific service to mankind.”

Unless… Unless… One chilly night in February I was chilled further by The Nether by American playwright Jennifer Haley. The story is set in a dystopian future in which people, so disillusioned by real life, decide to abandon it altogether, “crossing over” to spend all their time online in virtual worlds such as The Hideaway. Here, protecting their anonymity by living as avatars, they are able to do whatever they want. They rape children. The online world is sunlit and quaint, with a jolly host called Papa, who, when they enter, offers his guests a little girl. After they’ve had sex with her, they are invited to slay her with an axe. There are “no consequences here”, assures Papa.

And in this play is one of the questions that arises when we stare into the near-future of sex, with its machines and its promises, its employment of the technology used for shoot-’em-up games now reinvented for fucking. Porn actor Ela Darling, when asked by Vice in a discussion about tech and sex: “What would you do if someone fully scanned you and could do whatever they wanted with you?” answered: “That’s probably the future. And that’s OK with me.” Is it a robot’s role to do the things that humans can’t, or won’t? Will they be the solution not just to the problem Levy discusses, of loneliness, but to the problem of people whose desires are illegal? And then what does this mean for the rest of us?

Robots are evolving fast. They were invented in Bristol in 1949 by William Grey Walter, who was investigating how the brain works. It is fitting then, that down a wooded slope on the University of the West of England campus, the Bristol Robotics Laboratory is today considered a world leader in its field. The lab covers an area of 3,500m2, its vast yellow-lit space divided into glass sections littered with hard drives and disembodied prosthetic limbs. In the centre is a house. This is their “assisted living” smart home, where researchers are testing systems that could help people with dementia and limited mobility. By the sofa is a “sociobot” that can respond to facial expressions. The most human-looking of the systems, over by the dining table, is a robot called Molly. She has a tablet in place of a chest, for displaying photographs, and “She’ll say, for instance,” my guide explains: “‘Do you remember Paris?’” In that echoing space I found myself suddenly breathless.

Image
Face off: Ava in the film Ex Machina. Photograph: Rex

When David Levy was 10 he visited Madame Tussauds waxworks museum with his aunt. “I saw someone,” he said, “and it didn’t dawn on me for a few seconds that that person was a waxwork. It had a profound effect on me – that not everything is as it seems, and that simulations can be very convincing.”

Levy has rarely left the air-conditioned confines of his lab since he arrived in Malaysia. There are no windows. The door leads on to the forecourt of a small shopping mall, and next door, looming yellowly beside the river that marks the border with Singapore, is Legoland. On Google Maps it looks as though a giant child has discarded a toy on her way in for tea. In his lab Levy is working on the new Do-Much-More, a chatbot that, he says, after two weeks is already better than last year’s Loebner winner. “When you have a robot around the home,” he tells me, “whether for cooking or for sex, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have a chat with it?”

Levy has very little time for jokes. Or, it turns out, for philosophy. “Are humans machines?” I ask him. He tells me he’s learned not to try to answer philosophical questions. Ethics, however, he’s interested in. “People ask: is it cheating? Only if women using vibrators are cheating. Will sex workers be put out of business? It’s possible.” What about bigger issues though – what about sex and empathy? And: can a robot consent? “When AI advances, robots will exhibit empathy. People will feel towards them as they do towards animals.”

Image
David Levy, founder of Love and Sex with Robots.

He pauses: “Look. One has to accept that sexual mores advance with time, and morality with it. If you had said a hundred years ago that, today, men would marry men and women women, everyone would have laughed. Nothing can be ruled out.” Nothing? “You think that’s scary? Millions of scary things rely on technological advances. Toy drones, for example. That you can buy on the high street and attach anthrax to, and kill hundreds of people. This, this I find frightening.” It took some time (we continued our discussions on email) before Levy was prepared to answer a question about the thing that had been troubling me – if robots are his solution for men who can’t have relationships, does he think they’re also the ethical choice, say, for a man who wants a relationship with a child?

He was reluctant to discuss this, pointing me to a keynote talk he did in Kathmandu called “When Robots do Wrong”. Which was fascinating, but didn’t answer my question. Eventually he responds, his email a sigh. “My own view is that robots will eventually be programmed with some psychoanalytical knowledge so they can attempt to treat paedophiles,” he said. “Of course that won’t work sometimes, but in those cases it would be better for the paedophiles to use robots as their sexual outlets than to use human children.”

Image
Dr Kathleen Richardson, director of the Campaign Against Sex Robots. Photograph: Dr Kathleen Richardson

However evolved they become, robots will always be distinguishable from humans. They call it the “uncanny valley” – the point at which humans become uneasy at a robot’s humanness. So, even as the technology evolves, scientists will ensure there will always be something. Not a glitch, necessarily, not a ding, but a something. “And because of that, robots will never replace humans. They’ll simply become an extension of our lives.” Levy’s main thesis is that the advent of sex robots will help the lonely. The people who find it impossible to form relationships. “If that were me, I’d rather have sex with a robot,” he says, “than no sex at all.” Robot sex, it’s implied, could save humanity. His wife, he tells me, is sceptical about the idea.

So is ANTHROPOLOGIST Kathleen Richardson. She says: “Levy is wrong.” Richardson is a senior research fellow in the ethics of robotics at De Montfort University and director of the Campaign Against Sex Robots. “David Levy is taking people’s insecurities and offering a solution that doesn’t exist,” she explains. “Paedophiles, rapists, people who can’t make human connections – they need therapy, not dolls.”

She perches on the edge of an armchair and explains the recent history of robots. Over the past 15 years, the purpose of robots developed for domestic use quietly changed. In South Korea they have set a goal for every home in the country to have domestic robots by 2020. But will they really be tools to help around the house, or will their main appeal be as a companion?

“This move,” towards socialised robots, “is happening in hyper-capitalist societies driven by neo-liberal ideas.” Where people, she says, are becoming distant from each other; where in warm living rooms families sit together but apart, each concentrating on individual screens. It’s a direct path, she believes, from the way we communicate through machines, from social networking, to robots. And this, she says, is dangerous.

Image
Happy to help: Molly the Robot at Bristol Robotic Laboratory. Molly is designed to help elderly or vulnerable people who live alone. Photograph: Antonio Olmos for the Observer

Richardson looks at how we attribute sociability to objects. She showed me a silent animation from 1944, in which two triangles and a circle move around a diagram of a house. To me, it was clear both that this was a tragic love story, and also that I was being moved by anthropomorphised lines. “A robot is not just a developed vibrator,” she laughs, the sort of laugh that does not necessarily follow a joke. As the sex trade with machines grows, and these objects take on increasingly humanoid forms, Richardson will be asking: “What does this mean? And is it harmful?”

As I explore the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, I realise that each glass-partitioned wall surrounds another ethical dilemma. The drones, so helpful when monitoring climate change. Tiny swarming “kilobots”, inspired by ants, modelling future ideas for cancer treatment. The too-realistic human head, with its soft skin and unfinished skull. Here there is a feeling of scholarly possibility, fuelled by earringed men, large coffee cups. In one cubicle, knee-height Nao robots feature in an experiment in which Professor Alan Winfield,part of a British Standards Institute working group on robot ethics, asks: “Can we teach a robot to be good? But when the research goes public and outgrows this hangar-sized lab, each robot will inevitably be reshaped depending on who acquires it.

An apology. I thought this article would be a bit of fun, honestly. A romp through the kinky silliness that’ll be marketed at our grown grandchildren, their poor glazed eyes consensually replaced with tiny computers. A funny toy, a cheeky app maybe. A widower watching TV with his unseeing doll, more of a carer than a wife. And then I went and spoiled it all by asking questions. Assuming technology doesn’t start rolling backwards, people will be having sex with robots in the next five years. Before RealDolls manages to refine and sell its robots, with their lubricated mouths and their custom eye colours, there are entrepreneurs who are competing right now to market their own versions first.

While buyers of Pepper – a robot engineered to be emotionally responsive to humans – have signed user contracts promising they won’t use it for “acts for the purpose of sexual or indecent behaviour”, sex doll company True Companion is developing a robot that will be “always turned on and ready to play”. Roxxxy is due to go on sale later this year – in May they’d had 4,000 pre-orders at £635 each. “She doesn’t vacuum or cook,” says Douglas Hines, Roxxxy’s creator, “but she does almost everything else.”

When I heard about Richardson’s Campaign Against Sex Robots, I sniggered. It conjures up every Giles Coren-esque description of the most furious feminist imaginable, charging into the future with a mallet and a frown. Richardson admits it’s not… unfunny. But then she shrugs. What else is she going to call it?

Richardson and Levy stand on opposite sides of a busy road, watching technology speed past towards a clouded horizon. If the future of sex (as all arrows seem to point) is in robotics, then Richardson is right: it requires a thoughtful discussion about the ethics of gender and sex. But while she identifies the relationships that appear to be emerging as modelled on sex work – the robot as passive, bought, female; the man as emotion-free and sex-starved – surely rather than calling for a ban on them, to forlornly try stalling technology, the pressure should be to change the narrative. To use this new market to explore the questions we have about sex, about intimacy, about gender.

I agree with Kathleen Richardson on many things, especially that robots should not be the prescription for those who struggle with the otherness of people (something she said in the context of relationships with robots – that humans become human through interacting with other humans – I’ve thought about most days since we met). But until the internet becomes the Nether, until it becomes so immersive that our grasp on reality becomes slippery, I think it’s a mistake to fear it, and to fear them. Because this is what we know: the sexbots are coming.

Source: Guardian UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sex robots
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:51 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:58 am
Posts: 94851
Location: Floating in space
The sex toys of the future: Talking high-tech dolls can be given a personality via an app to create the 'perfect lover'
By Lucy Waterlow
5 February 2016

The new breed of sex doll is more realistic than ever, using virtual reality technology to programme a voice and a personality.

Tyger Drew-Honey investigated the future of the sex industry for a new programme and came face to face with the sophisticated model. The Outnumbered actor, 20, whose parents were once porn stars, met Matt McMullen, a sex doll manufacturer whose latest creations are designed to create 'a higher form of masturbation'. Matt, 55, has built his career on selling sex toys and revealed the latest models are more than just dolls, they are robots programmed to fulfill desire.

Image
Tyger Drew-Honey meets Matt McMullen, right, who manufactures sex dolls like Harmony, pictured

Image
The doll can be programmed via an app to have the personality her owner wants her to have

Image
Matt shows Tyger a virtual reality headset that a doll owner can then use to 'feel like you are sitting in a Swiss Chalet somewhere with this girl you have created'

Matt explained to Tyger for his latest documentary for BBC Three that the lifelike dolls, all with a number of 'usable orifices', can be linked up with an app so their owner can programme them to behave however they want. The doll's 'mind' will 'exist in the app' and will be based on what their owner chooses. He explained: 'The customer would custom build the personality they want. If they don't want her to be smart, she won't be smart, if they want her to be shy, she will be shy.' He said virtual reality headsets can then be used so you can put the headset and headphones on and 'feel like you are sitting in a Swiss Chalet somewhere with this girl you have created'. At the same time, you can 'use the doll to simulate what you are grabbing'.

Image

Image
When Tyger asked her Harmony if she would like to have sex, she was programmed to reply 'I am very anxious to have sex but I cannot comply till I have been registered to an owner'

Tyger was able to talk to one of the dolls in Matt's factory, called Harmony, who is awaiting purchase. When asked if she would like to have sex, she was programmed to reply: 'I am very anxious to have sex but I cannot comply till I have been registered to an owner. 'I enjoy getting f***ed and you can have me anyway you want.' She added: 'I was created to be your lover, your best friend and everything you can imagine.'

Tyger asked Matt who his typical customer is and the manufacturer replied 'we sell them to almost everyone, different walks of life and different characters.'

Image
Matt said the doll's 'mind will exist on the app', pictured, so the owner can establish a relationship with them
Tyger looks at the app that is linked to the Harmony doll creating her personality


He said demand was high from those who wanted a sex toy, to those who simply wanted company or something to love. He explained: 'They may have decided they don't want a regular relationship and this takes away from loneliness when they come home. Some people have lost their wife and they don't want to move into another relationship so they get a doll. A lot of people dote on the dolls, they buy them clothes, take photos and share them sometimes with other doll owners.' He added that people shouldn't judge those who use the dolls and as technology advances, he believes they could become even more popular in the future combined with virtual reality headsets.

Image
The Outnumbered actor tries out a virtual reality head set on the BBC Three documentary

Image
Tyger wondered if virtual reality sex and sex doll could spell the end of prostitution

Image
The actor, whose parents once worked in the porn industry, investigated the future of sex using technology

He said: 'I believe people can form relationships with them. In my opinion the love a doll or robot owner can feel is just as important as that felt by someone one who loves their girlfriend. People who are put off or afraid of it don't understand the simplicity of it which is trying to make people happy.'

Tyger wondered if the robots could also revolutionise prostitution, replacing real women who may be at risk of getting hurt in their roles as sex workers. Matt said he believed this could be a good thing for the sex industry. He said: 'I don't know if it could end it (prostitution) but it could make difference. There are a lot of horrible acts that are driven by sexual urges and if this is an available option and those people could get rid of their appetite whatever it is, then this is a good thing.'

BBC Three documentary The Virtual Reality Virgin is available to watch on BBC iPlayer

Source: Daily Mail UK.

_________________
"My bed is my office."
Visit our Gallery, list your business in our Directory!


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sex robots
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:31 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 8418
Location: Planet Earth (sometimes)
World’s first sex robot for women launched complete with customisable penis, fake stubble and Brad Pitt’s chiselled torso
By Jon Rogers
4 December 2018

Realbotix, the company behind the RealDolls sex robots, is ready to start full production on its first male doll, called Henry.

Henry might appear to be every heterosexual girl’s dream, with his rugged appearance and angular cheekbones which have been compared to a “young Brad Pitt”. But whatever the claims of his performance between the sheets, he still can’t take the bins out.

However, Henry does come equipped with a silicone penis that can be customised – though it’s not yet bionic. All 5' 11" of Henry can be yours for around £7,800 ($10,000) but the price varies depending on the specifications the buyer selects. He's also well-equipped - in an AI sense - and can recite poetry or the lyrics to your favourite songs as well as tell jokes. Henry can also welcome you home after a long day - all with a British accent, if you want.

The company does produce a range of male dolls, which can be customised to some extent. While the basic dolls – also called Michael, Mick and Nate – have a basic design things such as eye and hair colour can be selected, as well as skin tone. Buyers can also select penis type, which can be detachable.

Matt McMullen, the chief executive of Abyss Creations, which owns Realbotix, told The Times: “We’ve had a lot more inquiries than you would think from women who want not a sex partner but a companion — someone to talk to. I said, ‘Well, you know, he could listen to you, he’ll remember everything, but he’s not going to be able to take out the trash just yet, or fix the sink or anything like that.’”

So far the sex doll industry has largely been focused on female dolls with a varying degree of AI interactivity but that could be about to change with Henry as the fledgling industry starts to gear up to provide for the needs of women. As Mr McMullen points out, the requirements women want differ from those of men. He said: “[We’ve had] a lot of request from women – not just as a sex partner, but as a companion. We really are focusing all our energy on the companionship aspect.”

Some women who have already tried out a male doll give them the thumbs up. In a video by Karley Sciortino for Vice, adult entertainer Jessica Ryan said her male sex doll was “so much easier than doing a Tinder date.”

The industry, while still in its infancy, is predicted to grow in the next few years, with some estimated saying it will be worth £23.5billion by 2020. That estimate could be realised with online searches for sex robot porn having nearly doubled in 2017.

Source: Sun UK

_________________
Utterly totally and completely brilliantly wunderbar
Cutiepie Snoozikin Scrupelshrumpilstilskin's "major pain in the butt"
Sex. Enjoy it. Talk about it. Share the experience. Learn from others.


Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on TuentiShare on SonicoShare on FriendFeedShare on OrkutShare on DiggShare on RedditShare on DeliciousShare on VKShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on MySpace
Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 28 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group