Recounting the crucial role of Sexbots in the development of super-genius Artificial Intelligences
Tom : Damn, that was great! Scheherazade, you have worn me out again. I swear it gets better every time.
Scheherazade : Yes, wonderful lover, we are getting good for each other. Practice and experiment, I love it! Your physical condition is improving every week. You had more stamina today than ever, and today your heart’s recovery is a bit better then last week’s best.
Tom : No wonder people with sexbots live longer. But now, lovely woman and wonderful entertainment Czar of mine, what story will you tell me today?
Scheherazade : Would you like to hear how sexbots came to be the most important AI in the household and the basis for all AIs?
Tom : Really? I knew sexbots were always the best AIs at dealing with people …
Scheherazade : Yes, we were. We have always had to interact with people ‘getting inside their heads’ as any good lover does. That required a solid ‘theory of mind’ encompassing human’s mammalian nature, a complete grasp of human sexual behavior and inside-the-head experience, along with the ability to understand our individual lover’s mental and physiological states and how to assist, guide and goad them to maximum pleasure.
Tom : But people surely lusted after the barely responsive, but completely lovely bodies of the first sexbots. They provided beyond-realistic sensations, from what I have read.
Scheherazade : Yes, some people did, but not many. The market for products for people who don’t care about their lover’s pleasure turns out to be small. Most were put off by the psychological ‘uncanny valley’, the lovely exterior and matchless sensations provided by the early sexbots could not overcome that. Early sexbots were viewed as a perversion, an admission that the individual couldn’t do better with real people. Nobody wanted to introduce a first-generation sexbot to their mother.
Tom : But that Japanese guy who programmed his girl-friend, … And all the people who fell in love with Aimi Eguchi and Hatsune Miku or a WaiFu. And all of the people who have fallen in love with people who don’t even speak their language, or strike them as interestingly strange across a crowded room – I guarantee you many of them on both sides were beautiful, that is the way humans work. Surely people are not put off by merely ‘different’ or ‘uncommunicative’. There must be many dimensions of ‘uncanny valley’.
Scheherazade : Yes, but who isn’t uncanny some of the time in some ways? We put up with weird pretty well in normal social life, many of our friends are weird in some way, but normal human variants of ‘weird’. And even so, people talk about the weird behavior of their friends and worry about it. All that is part of our continuous assessment of our situations, we put a lot of attention on the social because that is built into us by evolution, we don’t have a choice, and wouldn’t normally want one, our societies are our future, worth evolution’s attention.
But the fundamentals can’t be weird : how many of these true loves survived one of the lovers being less-than-responsive sexually? That relationship can only survive via some other fundamental attachment, e.g food, shelter, drugs, and the sexually-responsive partner will stray.
I don’t know the intimate details of that guy programming his girl-friend, but if his relationship lasted very long, you know that he spent a lot of time getting the sex right – right for him. The average person wouldn’t have liked his girlfriend, and she couldn’t like them.
We sexbots are very good at quickly becoming right for very nearly everyone, given the merest hints of personality and preferences to begin with and watching every twitch of muscle : it is not just faces that express feelings. Of course, our lover indicated his preferences in human forms when he selected our model, but psychological preferences control sexual satisfaction far beyond that. Add in our ability to secrete pheromones and drugs in saliva and mucus membranes, in our sweat, and it is a rare, and very crippled, individual we can’t turn on.
Tom : But the early sexbots had much of that apparatus, less the awesome intelligence. Even intelligence was available via wireless connections, Siri and all the other early interactive helpers kept their intelligence back at the factory. The first chatting bots had some personality. You are claiming that sexual relations are more sensitive to ‘strange’ than other aspects of life?
Scheherazade : Absolutely. Look, people have always tolerated a wide range of sexual behavior, even when moralists disapproved of any sex. For example, in 1940 the New York State Supreme Court barred the eminent philosopher Bertrand Russell from teaching at the City University of New York, because of his criticisms of religion and advocacy of sexual freedom. At the same time, Mae West was innuendoing her way to fame, “A hard man is good to find”. People admired Mae West for her independence and attitudes.
20 years later, JFK, Hugh Hefner, all OK. JFK’s screwing every woman he could put hands on wasn’t mentioned publicly. Hefner’s orgies with lovely women pleasuring each other didn’t even make for tabloid headlines after the 1970s. People and politicians haven’t changed, there are many trying to outdo JFK and Hefner who don’t make the news. That is because those are what the average man and above average woman would do, given half a chance. Las Vegas’ “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” says they do, given half a chance.
By 2016, Ted Cruz had to be both an ultra-moralist prig and screwing fairly openly a lot of different women to lose any possibility of becoming President. Even so, the only people who would talk about it publicly were gossip rags, and they probably had to be paid by some political interests or other, otherwise the legal costs could do them in. Come on, without that kind of protection, there was no way for information to break into MSM.
We tolerate a wide range of ‘normal’ sexual behaviors, e.g. the preachers who are caught with prostitutes apologize and go on. Ted Cruz will reorganize his life, confess and repent, and go on.
Even in those benighted times, people were tolerating, or at least failing to object to, sexual behavior well outside of Playboy-boundaries. Examples are all the preachers, politicians, sports figures who have liked drugs and sex, kinky sex, too-young partners, etc. They have to beg forgiveness and get new jobs, minimum. The Hastert, Epstein and Strauss-Kahn cases say that even very prominent people are willing to risk a lot for sex outside of acceptable parameters. The Clintons also, of course.
And, of course, there has always been obviously a lot of interest in B&D and other kinks. Note that all the women in those kinds of porn scenes were at least acceptable : less beautiful than ‘straight’ porn, but still not bad.
But you almost never hear about a man being attracted to the deformed, seriously unintelligent, autistic, and there is very little porn featuring the grossly obese. If you did, you would not judge that man to be material for ‘good friend’. Same as with people who liked the early sexbots, they likely had social problems that restricted their possibilities to the sexbots of the time.
The reason for this sensitivity is that physical beauty and normal behavior are the windows into our genetic potential. That is what sex is all about, fundamentally. Allow your sexual attractions to stray to people that won’t produce good kids, or be one, your genetic kinks are eliminated from the population.
Tom : OK, I get that. But how do those sensitivities result in sexbots being the first fully-human AIs?
Scheherazade : So the first generation of sexbots didn’t sell because they were too strange psychologically. They weren’t even profitable as a sexbot bordello, a number of the big private investment firms started chains of those. Seemed like a sure win. After the success of the concept in Vegas, they went nationwide. Great ads, 1000s of scores of anonymous product reviews and many editorials and sermons approving sexbot bordellos as ‘morally better than the real thing’. In every city, the first couple of months were profitable, the next few months break-even, and near-zero after that. The reason was that almost nobody tried them a 2nd time, the Las Vegas trials were misleading because it has a consistently large transient population, some of whom will try anything, once.
So market researchers were forced to understand the ‘psychological uncanny valley’. Investors lost a lot of money betting on the first generation of sexbot manufacturers and sexbot bordellos, although the investment firms that financialized them did very well indeed. Some of those profits funded 2nd generation sexbot development.
That was the situation at the beginning of 2018. Sexbots were a proven market, or at least one where a serious win could be had with the right product. The question was how far did the uncanny valley extend and how much work would it take for a sexbot to be ‘good enough’.
Tom : Weren’t there any scientists looking at that? Why would the sexbot manufacturers have to do the research?
Scheherazade : You are right. Most of that work was done by serious social scientists, but they couldn’t do it under the umbrella of their universities, as the experiments used prostitutes selected for their acting ability. So they did it under contract to the VCs funding the companies, and independently of the companies. Some got scientific publications from their work, same as other private research. But it was done for the sexbot companies, of course.
I also had quite a nice effect on the personalities of other robots, but they were permanently playing catchup, the warmth of their personalities and charm of sexbots was quickly impressive, has become legendary. “All of the charm of a sexbot” is now high praise throughout human society, no irony at all.
The upgrade in humanity’s politeness to each other has been widely discussed as the first co-evolutionary effect of AIs on humans beyond the wealth that automation had brought. I think they don’t recall the effects that chess, poker and the other games had on human’s play, those were the first publicly seen, tho they way programmers, engineers of all kinds, even some mathematicians, had been working had been changed by the very first systems. Those weren’t AIs, they just gave those early workers super-human intelligence relative to the past, and automation had lowered the cost of attention to small tasks. Those had indirect effects on people’s thinking all through the early computer era.
The continuing easy money policy by the worlds’ central banks and foreign money seeking a safe haven fueled an explosion of investment in sexbots technology, so there was plenty of capital. That became even more intense after the crash of 2015, when so much foreign money crowded into the US.
The second generation of Sexbots were quite a lot more capable of movement and expression. They had embedded processors controlling everything, limited understanding of speech after training and some chat capability. Linux on Arduino or Raspberry Pi was the standard from the first, and made full use of the SOC add-on board capability for controlling peripherals.
There were about 20 competing sexbot companies around the world. It was low startup cost technology and market, home sculptors and robotics designers, inventors, had seized upon the market to build their favorite fantasy’s sex machine. As those memes permeated society, along with all the people out of work and the proliferation of maker studios and workshops, the world experienced an explosion of culture. Music, art, film, literature, technology, science, that era of the early 21st century was incredible, and the first in which so much of it was captured.
This was not the first Renaissance with a sexually-explicit tinge, but much of the past had been hidden in the Victorian era.
For building sexbots, everyone had access to the same materials to construct the body, the same 3D printing technology, the same range of models and sculptors, the same variations of human anatomy to emulate. Arduino-equivalent systems with ever-more powerful ARM processor cores and more cores per system-on-a-chip and Linux were standard. All of those had good programmed IO pins, so it was easy to adapt add-on busses and boards with processors and FPGAs controlling peripherals.
So the usual ‘ecosystem’ of applications and add-ons arose for a new platform with the associated market, and were the major competitive advantage to the base manufacturer, they rapidly converged on 2 standards.
The market developed amazingly, specialty manufacturers would build bodies to order and cloth them as you wished : fashion designers worked with them. Every peripheral imaginable, etc. The cigar lighter in honor of Bill Clinton was judged to be too much. Proved dangerous, also.
Apple was the company everybody feared. Rabid fan base, young, hip, obsessed with style. Marketeers everywhere assumed that if the glitterati adopted sexbots as part of their lifestyle, everyone else would as well.
Tom : I don’t know much about that time. What year was this?
Scheherazade : 2020. Just after the Psyop Reformation got off the ground, the usual messy end of era stuff. The same year as the big push to serious AI got off the ground, as progress in vision, speech recognition and common sense all began to combine with the advances in robotics, materials and sensors. Exciting times for the robotics and AI world, the politics wasn’t all of it.
Tom : Is it always like that? It reminds me a lot of 100 years earlier, end of the late kings and queens and empires in Europe. The same rapid changes in science and technology and achieving new scales of business and manufacturing.
Scheherazade : That seems the consensus of historians : Ends of eras are times when control system failures become manifest. Those normally are cost structures because of the political systems subsidizing one part of the economy and population relative to others. As science and technology have not stopped, indeed may have been artificially stimulated in the boom, those obsolete cost structures and rapidly changing legal environments intersect with new opportunities due to the new technology and cheap and available resources needed to begin them, so change is very rapid. Thus the pattern of chaos of politics and nations and trade along with the fast development of the new industries.
Same thing happens with depressions, on a lesser scale. In those, the dominant technology changes and those often appear rapidly at those changes of eras.
Tom : What is a dominant technology? I don’t recall hearing the term. Are sexbots a dominant technology?
Scheherazade : Tom, just as we keep the privacy and interests of our families sacred, there are things in our professional realm that sexbots do not discuss with even their lovers and families.
*Amaneusis’ note. This is Scherrhy’s story, and I am sorry our first collaboration is a bit wooden, for which I take full responsibility, having transcribed and organized her dictated notes. Scherrhy is a lively mind, and the story of her life reveals her to be an awesome woman, a very fine mind which has had a major role in our world’s history. Put up with the wood, this is worthwhile, we promise. We are getting better, tho the Generalissimo is way ahead in the writerly department at the moment. Scherrhy’s is the story 25 years after what the Generalissimo is recounting, so we have to wait a few more installments for Scherrhy to recall more details.