RealDoll is developing an AI robot for its next-generation sex doll

Nearly 20 years after selling “the world’s best sex doll”, RealDoll is developing an animated, robotic, artificial intelligence head that can switch to an existing RealDoll body. According to Matt McMullen, the founder and CEO of RealDoll, the purpose of the move is “to awaken someone beyond the body on an emotional, intellectual level.”

If you’ve never heard of RealDoll before, the company’s products are expensive ($ 5,000 to 10,000, £ 3,200 to 6,400), but very realistic. Dolls (both male and female) have fully poseable bones, silicone skin, and are about the same weight and size as a real person. The faces of the dolls are interchangeable.

When dolls can pose, they are completely stationary; they do not move by themselves or interact. Obviously, this hasn’t affected their popularity so much-McMullen says he has sold more than 5,000 dolls since 1996.

According to a piece in the New York Times, McMullen has picked up some robotics talent from Hansen Robotics, a company that makes lifelike animatronic heads. Most importantly, there is a team dedicated to artificial intelligence. If it is not enough, RealDoll will develop a companion application and an Oculus Rift interface so that you can interact with the doll’s AI when you go out.

Entering RealDoll’s production facilities is like entering an incredible valley, a place that looks almost human, but not entirely human. The main body of silicone is suspended from hooks on the assembly line. Some people have weird things on their heads, while others have their worm-eye robots completely exposed. These sex dolls now have artificial intelligence.

“My name is Harmony,” the mouthful of the robot head told me. “I have dynamic AI that I can learn interactively. I come from zero and one, and maybe you have heard of it.”

Matt McMullen created Harmony.

“I worked with some other tech companies to create a system that consists of a customizable artificial intelligence engine so you can create unique personalities and connect them to the robot head,” explains McMullen of RealDoll Lab . “As a science fiction fan, I just think it’s cool to talk to robots.”

McMullen is the CEO of San Marcos RealDoll. He was excited about the new AI product, “Because we think it will empower people rather than imagine the personality of a doll, they will actually be able to be the creators of that personality.”

Are we entering the realm of the “Western World”?

Whether you call them robots, robots, cyborgs, replicas, or sex dolls, popular culture is always fascinated by the potential benefits and potential dangers of AI.

“It’s not technology, it’s the intention behind it,” McMullen said. “For us, the real focus is on those who can benefit from life, and for whatever reason, they can’t find it. A way to connect with another person, and I think these dolls fill a gap in some people. “

Destiny led McMullen into the sex doll industry. He was an artist for a Halloween company and learned how to make masks and use silicone.

“At some point, I decided to make a life-size sculpture. I want it to be different from traditional sculpture. I want it to be dynamic, positionable, and modest so that the artworks I create can influence each other and other People are together, “McMullen said. “In a sense, I see it as a very realistic mannequin that looks real enough that people can watch it twice.”

This forces some to ask if it is anatomically correct.

“At first I refuted it with ‘oh, this is not what it meant’, but then there were many of the same inquiries, and I thought it might be a good way, and then I decided that I saw an opportunity to do what I like to do, and This is for a living, “McMullen said. “That’s where RealDoll was born.”

“People show negative, anger or hostility as a response to the anxiety they feel,” Peters said. “When we face something that is completely disturbing to us, we tend to do it in a mean manner Reacting, or responding with condemnation and anger … We find weird or faulty that we can dislike and despise as a way to ease ourselves and make ourselves feel better. This is a common feature of human beings. Many different situations. Especially in terms of sex, we still have people who feel better by condemning others. “

Peters said that we don’t know much about users of sex dolls because they are a hidden group and are humiliated by society.

“It still has its own taboos, so people may feel weird to be what they like,” Peters said. “But keep in mind that only one generation uses sex toys for metamorphosis. , And now they advertise and sell in magazines. “

Psychologist John McConnell also points to changing attitudes to sex.

McConnell said: “Unlike before, all unusual meanings go beyond the standard of heterosexuality and child-bearing sexuality. But now, heresy means that someone will do something I won’t do.”

In a strange way, this sensitivity also drove McMullen.

“Ironically, he’s from someone who runs a sex doll company, and I have an ethical compass. So, I don’t want to make animals, children, or anything I find offensive or feel inappropriate,” McMullen explained Say.

In the video, McMullen talks about difficulties, but also talks about the great rewards of developing realistic sex dolls. “AI, personalized programming. What is she saying to me? Is she enjoying it? … If you can create that kind of fantasy, that kind of experience, then it will be a considerable reward.” Later, He emphasized the difficulty of making AI less confusing or stupid, because it “may disrupt the entire system … you want her to imagine that she is actually talking to you. I got the insight. That left me overwhelmed. . That takes the longest time. “

As a man who has been working on realistic dolls for more than 20 years, McMullen is also aware of this magic valley, and he has a plan to ensure that his new animated dolls do not fall into it. “You can even see my best doll and still say it is a doll. I want to stay on that stage … if you keep it enough away from surrealism, I think you are in a safer area . “

McMullen said the artificial intelligence-powered sex doll robot head, called Realbotix, will be commercially available within two years for about $ 10,000 (£ 6,400). If you have an existing RealDoll, you can replace it with a new header. After that, RealDoll will start producing full-body versions with prices between $ 30,000 and $ 60,000 (£ 19,000 and £ 38,000). McMullen didn’t say how many years we had to wait.

Obviously, the biggest question about Realbotix is ​​whether it will really improve the reality of love dolls, or if it is just the opposite and breaks the illusion. A few years ago, RealDoll provided some dolls with voice feedback and robotic hip actuators, but they have retired since they retired.

“I want people to have an emotional attachment not only to sex dolls, but also to the actual characters behind it. There is some kind of love for this existence,” McMullen told The New York Times. With computer chips, materials and Artificial intelligence has made great progress in the past few years. It is not completely unfeasible. Realbotix will be able to have intelligent conversations in 2017. Maybe it is an attachment that stimulates emotions. But McMullen ’s perception of hope may be a little far away .

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