Sex dolls can be made to do anything the user desires—both in and outside the realms of morality.
Despite the moral panic, sex doll brothels haven’t taken off at quite the rate some expected. According to a live tracker on Future of Sex, there are only 11 sex doll brothels open across the world. And since last Friday that number is one fewer, as Hong Kong’s first sex doll brothel was forced to close after only two months thanks to a police raid as part of an anti-obscenity operation.
Notwithstanding the lack of physical places for men (yes, all the sex doll brothels currently open are aimed at men) and robots to get it on, the very idea of having sex with an inanimate object is a worrying philosophical development for society at large. Cutting out the need for any two-way interaction. And, as you can imagine, that doesn’t bode well for women.
Last year, The Independent reported that sex doll manufacturers True Companion were selling a robot designed for rape simulation. Although the manufacturers are careful to never outwardly call it that, ‘Frigid Farrah’ is designed to make you feel like she doesn’t want have sex with you. The product description says she’s “shy,” and if users touch her “in a private area, more than likely, she will not be too appreciative of your advance.”
Now, a new-age organization is asking venture capitalists to help fund “the world’s first consent-focused robot brothel.” Back in October, the figurehead of a spiritual group called UNICULT launched an Indigogo campaign to fund the brothel, Eve’s Robot Dreams. Although the campaign closed without reaching its target, the Daily Beast has reported that the organization’s leader, Unicole Unicron, is trying other ways to secure backing.
Of course, as the Daily Beast article points out, only humans can give consent. But UNICULT doesn’t appear to be protecting the rights of robots. The organization seems more preoccupied with encouraging people to treat everything with respect—sentient or otherwise.
The idea behind Eve’s Robot Dreams is that guests are invited to build a relationship with their sex doll before getting down and dirty with them. Equipped with Realdollx, an AI-driven robotic doll that can blink, move its eyebrows, and is programmed to “identify with its users’ interests and preferences,” the whole experience is trying to create a far more human interaction.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Unicole Unicorn explained that users can “level up” their relationship according to a points-based conversation metric. And if a customer doesn’t have an app, they are required to have a 30 minute conversation with the robot before they can have “private interactions.”
The benefit of a Realdollx is that you can code her reactions. If the user only spends that time reeling off a series of sexually explicit superlatives at the robot, she will become more hesitant. But if the user tries to get to know her, she’s designed to open up. “Violent or belligerent customers will be asked to leave, so there is some level of protection,” Unicron told the reporter. “Eve’s is consent-focused, so we use it as a space to practice consent. It’s more like a role-play game for people to practice getting consent from partners.”