According to a recent survey, 9 percent of Americans would be willing to have sex with a robot. With the creation of Roxxxy the sex humanoid, that may soon be possible.

The “world’s first and highest quality sex robot” was invented by electrical engineer Douglas Hines and sold on his True Companion website. The doll’s description says she is “always turned on and ready to talk or play.” In terms of appearance, Roxxxy is 5 foot 7, weighs 60 pounds and has skin that imitates human epithelia. She has wigs in several colors to suit different tastes, and costs about $9,000. And True Companion isn’t one to ignore the need for variety: The sex robot also comes in a male version named Rocky.

But how human can Roxxxy and Rocky be? Hines answers this question on the BBC:

Mr Hines says his aim in developing his robot’s artificial intelligence engine, was to go beyond a simple sex aid and to provide companionship.

“The life experience with a partner goes beyond that – and that’s really what we’ve gone for.”

However, no matter how well-programmed a robot may be, it is still a machine, and he agrees a plastic and metal humanoid is not capable of replacing the real thing – yet.

“We are getting closer and closer. The gap between what is robotic and mechanical and what’s human-like will minimise, so it’s a very exciting time.”

But some caution that inventions such as these can damage human relationships. MIT professor Sherry Turkle warns, “It is time to reconsider the premise that a robot is better than nothing. … Because, if you are trying to solve the problem of care and companionship with a robot, you are not trying to solve it with the people you need to solve it with — friends, family, community.”

The sex robots were born out of Hines’ line of health care robots, originally designed to take care of patients incapable of meeting their own needs. The question, it seems, is where to draw the line in terms of which needs. After all, these humanoid robots are not only aiming to satisfy a sexual urge, but also fill a desire for company that may not be so easy to come across in today’s increasingly isolating world.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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