As I mentioned previously, I wanted to find disrupting innovations in Slush. Well, I wrote about Memphis Meats and it's cultured meat, but the other innovation is related to sex robots. Yes, you read it right. I didn't come up with an individual company, but more of a vision where this industry might be going. And I believe, it is closer than we think, and its bigger than we think. Talking about sex can be considered as a bit of a taboo, but this is just too big to pass!
You might think that sex robots are just some science fiction rubbish, but actually these sexy AI-robots are already here and they are growing rapidly. They are simply, hot. There are already services in Japan and South-Korea that let you rent sex dolls and not just sex dolls, but technologically advanced sex dolls. On top of that, an American artist Matt McMullen is adding to his already existing "real people modeled" sex dolls AI so they can interact and talk to you. Also, Douglas Hines has designed a robot to respond verbally to touch and also talk about the news. A sex doll including a CNN news service. Interesting.
Sex robots are improving all the time, but at least for now they are not a danger for replacing human partners. Apparently, they feel just like toys according to Tufts University research. Only time will tell, when these will develop into fully functional "sex people" (what do you even call these). It seems that you can buy a creepily realistic talking and moving sex doll already NEXT YEAR, if thats your thing. A robotics expert David Levy estimates these to price somewhere around €15,000. A sex toy or a Toyota for 2017?
Robots are already super advanced in several areas. In addition to manufacturing, robots can perform advanced multidimensional movements that helps them to play sports and instruments. But what they are lacking is the capability for having emotions. There are several companies tackling this problem. I believe that building emotions on AI robots is though, but it is definitely possible and my intuition says that robots with some sort of emotions are clearly part of the future. Levy again estimates that people will fall in love with robots (and even marry them) by 2050. Looking at the exponential growth of robotics and the significant advancement of artificial intelligence, I cannot but relate to Levy's estimate. Is this the future we are creating?
It is fascinating to see what kind of an impact robotics has on us. But even more intriguing is to figure out how can we control this movement? How us, humans can still keep our jobs and live together with AI robots. I believe we need to create an environment where we, people plus robots equal the greatest outcome and not fear the change. In state of fear and panic we are locked and thus reactive and not proactive, which might lose our significance on our daily jobs and ultimately on planet earth. More on this at later posts. Now back to sex dolls...
Sex sells and consumer robots are becoming increasingly more popular. Together they can form a huge market. A market worth of several billions. There definitely is a niche investment opportunity. So are sex robots bad? First of all, we need to define bad and secondly, we don't know yet. The sextech industry is relatively new and sex robots are purely early stage. The serious issue we should pay attention to is the fact that are we people going create relationships with robots? And how is this going to affect our mind? But first we have to test the market and start with a question: If you could design your dream sex robot that matched your exact desires and interests, would you buy it?