Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What the $%$#?????

You won't believe this until you read it:

Hardwired for love: Are robots the sex partners of the future?

from Briebart.com- Read the whole absurdity here:

In the mood for a little skin-to-skin?" coos a lover slipping between the sheets.

"Not tonight," mumbles the partner, turning around. "Just make it with the robot, if you want."

A kinky sci-fi fantasy? Love and lust in the 23rd century?

Not at all, says David Levy, a PhD in gender studies and artificial intelligence and author of "Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relations".

By mid-century, predicts the 62-year-old expert, getting it on with an electronic femme-fatale or a superstud sexbot will become an accepted part of the human landscape.

"Think of it: great sex on tap, 24/7," he said. People may even fall in love with their hard-wired sex slaves, he adds.

[WHAT THE HELL????? -Old Books Club]

Not everyone embraces Levy's vision of a future where humanoids guarantee satisfaction in bed along with pre-programmed post-coital conversation.

But many agree it is on the cards, given exponential leaps in computer power, progress in mimicking human muscles and movements, and headway in artificial intelligence (AI) software to replicate emotions and personality.

"Already today, the best quality synthetic voices cannot be distinguished from human voices," Levy told AFP, adding that some artificial skins now rival the smoothest of baby bottoms.

Last November, researchers at Waseda University in Japan unveiled a robot, named Twendy-One, that can cook, talk, obey verbal commands, and use its soft silicon-wrapped hands -- each equipped with 241 pressure sensors -- to interact with humans.

Even so, it will be a long time, Levy acknowledges, before we cannot tell the difference between human and humanoid.

The sexbot Gigolo Joe played by Jude Law in Steven Spielberg's 2001 film "Artificial Intelligence: A.I.," providing chat and emotional support as well as sex, is at least 40 decades away, he thinks.

Not all AI experts agree. "I don't think we will have convincing 'human-like' robots" within that time frame," said Frederic Kaplan, a researcher at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Kaplan, who pushed the envelope of robot intelligence in programming the brain of Sony's eerily adorable robot dog Aibo, also wonders whether we even want robots made in our own image.

"Human-machine interactions will be interesting in their own right, not as 'simulation' of human relations," he said.

But Levy is convinced the demand is there, and that market forces will provide the financial drive to overcome any technical -- or psychological -- obstacles.

"It is only a matter of time before someone in the adult entertainment industry, which is awash in money, thinks, 'Gee, I could make a pile of money'," he said.

A company in Japan, Axis, has already produced the world's first, rudimentary, sexbot -- for men.

Called Honeydolls, the lifesize figures are made from surgical-grade silicone and resin, and are equipped with voice-emitting sensors in each breast. Pinch the nipples, and Cindy (or Soari or Maria, depending on the model) will react with a squeal and whisper pre-programmed sweet nothings in one's ear.

Customised MP3 audio files can be substituted for a more personal touch. Price tag: 7,000 dollars (4,800 euros).

Women, too, are bound to be lured to sexbots, contended Levy.

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