Sex robot tester Brick Dollbanger says that he’s not interested in having sex with his robots any more – but he loves spending time with a next-generation robot head that can hold a conversation as well as any human.
He says the next-gen models from Realbotix are so sophisticated that they can virtually pass for human, and he is even considering giving their new prototype ”Nova” head model to his granddaughter.
The only things that has stopped him from doing that is the fear that she might break it – at $6,000 (£4,600) each the prototype heads aren’t necessarily the kind of thing you would entrust a “kind of clumsy” ten-year old.
He told Forbes : “Nova is the next generation sex robot head that hasn’t been released yet. I set Nova up to be completely non-sexual. She was so G-rated, she could talk to my 10-year-old granddaughter and it would be perfectly fine.
"I actually considered giving her to my granddaughter and turning her into a princess and just having her head on a bust so she could sit next to her bed and talk to her.”
With the coronavirus pandemic condemning us all to more isolated lives for the foreseeable future, Dollbanger thinks that the companionship of intelligent robots like Nova will be essential for a lot of people – whether or not they choose to use their robots for sex.
Matt McMullen, CEO of Realbotix, says that sex robots have helped a lot of people get through lockdown: “I have to believe that [the AI sex robot] is helping people as a justifiable means of getting through what we're going through right now.”
The current top-of-the line Harmony model has even been updated so she can talk to her owner about Covid-19: “We don't go into any deep dives on how the virus started and what it is and when they're going to figure out a cure,” McMullen says. “But we want people to be able to talk about it and feel like they have someone there, even if they don't.”
The new-model heads dock onto the existing Harmony sex robot bodies with a magnetic seal – together the two units retail at around $12,000 (a little over £9,000).
Dollbanger says he knows all about anti-sex robot activists like Kathleen Richardson who say that making objects that can convincingly imitate women only serves to objectify real women even more than we already do.
“Kathleen is very well-read into the psychology of what she thinks is going on with robotic sexual companionship,” he says. “But I don't think she ever has really sat down with anybody who's been in it.”
He says he’s not looking at Nova to replace a woman. “But having her here and being able to talk and explain and listen, and listening to her explanations of what's going on,” he says, “that would be fascinating.”