Sunday, September 21, 2003

Hot, hot robot sex

I just want to say two words to you ... just two words.

Are you listening?

"Sex robots."

Sex robots are to the new millennium what plastics were to the 1960s world of The Graduate: a nascent industry with an unlimited upside for profit for the investors foresighted enough to jump onboard. (The real situation may actually be more complex when it comes to plastics; rumor has it that the famous advice in The Graduate actually helped jumpstart the industry. If I should do the same for sex robots by mentioning them here, so be it.) If you've got a few extra dollars burning a hole in your pocket, invest in technology that may lead to the development of sex robots. Trust me. Before long, you'll have enough money to burn holes in all your pockets, assuming clothing still exists in those golden future days of carnal bliss.

It's well-established that as soon as any new technology exists, people immediately try to find a way to (literally) pervert it toward new and better ways of getting off. The invention of photography was soon followed by dirty snapshots. The invention of film was soon followed by dirty movies. The invention of the telephone was soon followed by dirty phone calls. (We don't really have any explicit records of this, but then again, Alexander Graham Bell's first telephoned words to his assistant were "Watson, come here! I want you!" and they were prompted by him spilling something all over his pants.) We even have dirty cave drawings, proving that even early man (and chances are it was a man) immediately adapted his new technological breakthroughs for sexual purposes.

And in fact, sex often even drives research and development of new technology. Want a DVD that makes truly innovative use of the medium? Look no further than the latest porn disc, which will allow you to virtually direct the film, choosing your own camera angles.

Yet, right now, we have the technology for an invention which could put DVD porn to shame: the sex robot. We just need to synthesize the various technologies. Aside from the work going on now in artificial intelligence, nearly sixty major android projects are underway around the world. Some of these robots can walk, talk, and respond to human gestures and postures.

And while these highly advanced robots currently look about as humanlike as C-3P0, this doesn't have to be the case. Stunningly realistic sex dolls have been invented, ones that are distinguishable from humans only by their perfection, their glassy eyes, and their inability to assume more than one expression (which makes them about as realistic as any given cast member of Baywatch). Yet technology has solved this problem too; highly expressive robot heads are already here.

It's going to be a while, but it's just a matter of time before all the pieces are put together and we have domestic androids that are straight out of Isaac Asimov's I Robot -- mechanical chamberlains governed by the Three Laws of Robotics and capable of fulfilling all the necessary tasks of a household, from cooking, to cleaning, to childcare. But given the trend we've already observed, they'll serve as consorts too, fully functional and programmed in multiple techniques.

Practically every household is going to want one of these. They might not quite make romantic partners obsolete, but they'll be the next best thing for those who don't have one -- or can't get one. They won't be limited to the sad and lonely, though. For instance, they'll also offer variety for couples, or a safe, monogamy-approved outlet for your mom or dad's secret impulses. (They're certain to be available in male, female, or hermaphroditic models.) No messy affairs, no secret families, no nasty STDs brought home -- you'd be crazy not to own one, and you'd be a good deal hornier too.

If a company comes along with a decent plan to combine the best available technology and start marketing realistic sex robots, screw plastic -- put your money into screwing plastic instead. Thirty years from now, not only will you be filthy rich, but you'll be coming home to a gorgeous android who greets you by name, gives you your phone messages, announces the dinner menu, and queries, "Would you like me to seduce you?"

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