Harmony is a new type of intelligent robot – a sex doll that can move and talk. Its head, eyelids and lips move roughly, and its range of conversation is more limited.
But it is part of a new robotics revolution that sees the integration of artificial intelligence into a sex doll.
Some believe it will revolutionize the way humans interact with robots, while others believe it represents the worst step in robotics development. One hypothesis – the Valley of Terror theory – that the closer we get to replicating the human form, the more we fear our creations, seems to be slowly coming true.
Matt, CEO of Realbotix, with his background in art and sculpture, believes that this (Harmony) is the future of dolls. He says “many people who buy dolls are starting to realize that it will be part of the family, that it has a personality, and that AI technology provides people with the tools to create personalities, likes and dislikes through an app, and can be used independently as avatars on a smartphone or similar device.”
Users can choose from a variety of personality options, and when you choose “Jealous”, it may ask you to delete friends of the opposite sex from your phone! And when there’s a question that can’t be answered, it will say “need to improve your skills”.
The robot will be available for sale in two versions: one with face recognition for $10,000, and a version without that feature for $5,000.
“The design is customer driven, we are in business, and most of our customers have certain expectations. The unfortunate reality is that it’s very desirable.” He said.
“Many guests are perfectly normal, even collecting them with a partner, but then many admit to choosing an intelligent robot because they can’t relate to the opposite sex. Many are isolated and lonely, but they may already be that way. For people who are lonely and have difficulty building relationships, this is another option. But I’ve never advocated for dolls or robots instead.”
Mark Young, who lives in Arizona, owns a sex doll named McLean. He just invested in the “Harmony” AI app, but he has no plans to integrate the two.
“I thought the app might bring her to life, but the app has its own personality, which is different from how I imagined McLean, so there seemed to be two relationships.”
He explains why he invested in a sex doll in the first place: “I’ve been single for a while. But I wasted so much ineffective time on the dating exchange process that I was glad it existed.”
He says, “Artificial intelligence is a whole different ball game, and that makes me very excited for the future.”
The rise of intelligent robots has shocked Professor Kathleen, a robotics ethicist at the University of Leicester, who says: “There are seven billion people on the planet and we’re facing a crisis in terms of building human relationships. And, these companies are making a profit by saying objects can replace humans.”
“We live in a world where objectification is achieved through conjecture. Humans are used like tools, and this could be an extension of that phenomenon.”
A few years ago, she launched a campaign to ban smart sex dolls, but since then it can be argued that the dolls are not the real problem. Instead, the problem is with attitudes toward sex and each other.
She is dismissive of the new AI dolls, arguing that “adding artificial intelligence to dolls is wrong. The AI in the washing machine is much more intelligent than this doll, simply because intelligent dolls do not make sense of humans.”
Dr. Kate, a senior lecturer at Goldsmiths University, disagrees. She said, “In its current form, intelligent sex robots are aimed at the male market, but the industry is growing and the future must be mass-market.”
She believes that sex robots designed for social interpersonal purposes will ultimately enhance, rather than destroy, relationships. “Whenever there’s a major change in technology, there’s always panic,” she says. People worry about how it will affect humans, but technology usually brings people together. “