The Sex Robot Show is a video series discussing the future of sex robot technology and its potential impact on various facets society. The original intention of the series was to share the data from my thesis, Anticipating Future Scenarios for Sex Robots . This includes original interviews from a variety of backgrounds like law, art, activism, ethics, psychosexual therapy and more. (Read more about interview participants here).
The first run of episodes focus on common themes that arose from the interviews, such as the male orientation of the market, the importance of cybersecurity in sex tech, and expanding the use of sex robots to other industries. These themes were used in the thesis to inform four scenarios that take place 25 years in the future. If things go well, I would eventually like to make a second "season" of the Sex Robot Show based on these scenarios. Sprinkled between the larger episodes are shorter content videos that focus on a single topic in the sex tech world.
I get asked this more than anything else and in all honesty I kinda just fell into it. I moved to Taiwan at the end of 2017 to pursue a masters degree in Futures Studies. Early on, I wasn't really committed to a topic for my thesis, I just wanted to live in Taiwan and enjoyed Futures Studies, which is a pretty niche field of study and there happened to be a university with a program in Taipei.
The course registration process was half in Mandarin and without realizing it I was signed up for a thesis writing course. I decided to use an essay I had written for another class on sex robots, and the professor loved it and urged me to pursue it (I suspect he just wanted an exciting project for the department). It was an easy topic to cover given that the literature base was pretty small and I figured when a better idea came along I could always switch.
But it never did. Nothing ever came easier than writing about sex robots, and the research was always interesting and fresh. So that's it. Im not some sex deviant or transhumanist or particularly horny person that wants to write about sensuality and self care all day.
I mean why not?
When I chose my thesis topic in 2018, there was no other tech sector working harder to provide a consumer robot that was as realistic as possible, both "inside" and out. There were, and still are, manufacturers making pet-like or assistant robots that may win over user's affection and understand commands, but there isn't really a financial incentive for those robots to look human, much less be detailed down to arm hair. When we do see ultra-realistic humanoid robots, they are in high-end special effects for films or theme parks; one-offs, not intended for domestic environments and certainly not sophisticated in terms of what they can do.
Then there is the AI, which, for the sex robot, needs to go far beyond simply "passing". In order to be successful, the sex robot AI needs to illicit feelings of intimacy, while not interrupting the user's sexually aroused state. It cannot be clunky or too stilted. Then, once that balance has been struck, it should ideally manifest in different "personalities", in order to cater to the diversity of human sexual preference.
Then comes paring down all the tech and materials so that it is actually affordable while retaining efficiency and aesthetics. So I ask again, how are sex robots not worth our time discussing? You can almost put the fact that people fuck them completely aside, and still have plenty to talk about, but that people do just gives you so much more.
I mean kind of. The character is a custom avatar i put together from a 3d chat program called 'imvu' an all but defunct chat program for horny teens centered around shopping, in game currency, and virtual dry-humping. Every detail from the face shape, eyebrows, hair and so on were choices I made, but I didn't render any of the components.
The animations from the beginning of episode one are screen recordings of different environments that can be purchased for hosting chats, that I dropped my avatar into and manipulated the viewport to look "cinematic".
I also spent like a whole month rigging the avatar in Live2d to eventually talk in my place but in the end it was weird and didnt seem to match my voice. Plus, my free trial ran out and i got distracted by something else.