Robots are capable of doing all sorts of amazing things. Tiny micro-robots may be able to perform tasks like personalized drug delivery, while giant robots are being used to build houses. Robots are being used underwater and in outer space. People are becoming used to the idea of living and working alongside robots as they become more and more a part of our everyday lives. Humanoid robots are being developed as well, and while most of them possess some level of creepiness, the new 3D printed sex robot from DS Doll is a new level of disturbing.
— DS Doll Robotics (@RoboticsDs) September 11, 2018
In a video put out by the Chinese company, a prototype of the doll, which features a mechanical-looking skeleton and a human-looking head, seems to “wake up,” shaking itself alert and then moving somewhat jerkily. It has rather malevolent-looking eyes, not exactly what you’d want to find yourself gazing into in the middle of the night, at least in my opinion. But this robot isn’t just for sex purposes, according to DS Doll’s Chief Development Office Qiao Wu.
The fear of robots replacing humans is a legitimate one, especially when you consider having humanoid robots working in the service industry. How many people will be put out of jobs if we have pretty robots taking our dinner orders, greeting us at front desks, etc.? Most of us have already experienced the frustration of being unable to get a human being on the other end of the line when calling about our electric bills and credit cards and such. What happens when we take human interaction out of our typical face-to-face encounters, like dining and visiting the doctor?
“One day, we hope the robot can be used in etiquette, presentations, human companionship, front desk services and other areas,” Wu said. “For a sex doll, a robot head is okay, but our robot will be a service robot. We want it to move all of its body. We hope our robot will not only have a sex function, but can help and serve people in the future as well.”
Robotics and 3D printing have been evolving alongside each other, and as artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated, 3D printing materials have become more advanced as well, allowing us to create medical models that look and feel like real skin and organs – some that even bleed. Creating full-body robots that look and feel incredibly human is not so far-fetched.Why is that a problem? It depends on how you look at it, but in addition to the potential for taking away jobs from people in the service industry, the very idea of a realistic sex robot is unsettling. One could argue that people have been using artificial means for achieving sexual pleasure for ages, and that’s true – but there’s no intimacy in a typical sex toy. A robot that feels like a human, and that can respond and whisper sweet nothings, comes close to replacing the human element of sexual intimacy – or at least that’s the idea. One could argue that if this kind of companionship makes people happy, there’s no harm in it – but there’s plenty of reason to be cautious about how much we blur the lines between humans and robots, and not just the danger that robots could become more intelligent that us and eventually destroy us all, as Stephen Hawking famously said. How much necessary human interaction can we replace with machines before we start to lose some of our own humanity?
DS Doll, with its new prototype, is aiming to create the world’s first commercially viable 3D printed sex robot – but with the way technology is progressing, it almost certainly won’t be the last.
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