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Robot Girlfriend
June 27, 2009 5:17 PM   Subscribe

Sega has developed a 15-inch tall robot girlfriend, who can identify human heads and will kiss them on command. But they seem to be licensing it from WowWee, who call it Femisapien.
posted by Chocolate Pickle (54 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
This robot, it vi...

Wait, no, I don't want to know.
posted by Decimask at 5:23 PM on June 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Every day we move a little bit closer to the day when I can make two robot Bjorks make out in my living room.

I love living in the future.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 5:27 PM on June 27, 2009 [7 favorites]


I may just buy one to explore those 59 “hidden” functions.
posted by gman at 5:29 PM on June 27, 2009


Gender is socially constructed.
posted by DU at 5:39 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's a year too late for the BSG finale.

"They have a plan, and it involves quite a lot of kissing."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:39 PM on June 27, 2009


XKCD has already explored the possibilities and pitfalls of such technology.
posted by permafrost at 5:39 PM on June 27, 2009 [7 favorites]


Sure, this looks like fun now, but as time goes on Sega will start adding insufferable robot friends to the product line until the whole thing implodes on itself under the sheer weight of extra robots that nobody wants to make out with. We want to make out with Femisapien, not all of her worthless friends!
posted by Servo5678 at 5:40 PM on June 27, 2009 [9 favorites]


Femisapien™ speaks her own language called "emotish" which consists of gentle sounds and gestures.

Stay classy, male roboticists.
posted by DU at 5:42 PM on June 27, 2009 [17 favorites]


Gentle, sweet, and deadly. That's how I want my robo-girlfriend.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:46 PM on June 27, 2009


I can't tell if this most demeans women, or men, or humans.
posted by orthogonality at 5:49 PM on June 27, 2009 [18 favorites]


Obligatory XKCD link.
Only sans link.
posted by signal at 5:54 PM on June 27, 2009


DON'T DATE ROBOTS.
posted by boo_radley at 5:56 PM on June 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


From the link: Last Updated: June 18, 2008

Not snarking, but I think I actually saw one of these in the last chance bargain bin at a Japanese Toys'R'Us last weekend.
posted by bakerybob at 5:56 PM on June 27, 2009


DON'T DATE ROBOTS.

The relevant public service announcement.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:58 PM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Will she have blast processing?
posted by FireballForever at 6:05 PM on June 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


I agree with boo_radley and Servo - Don't Date Robots!
posted by garnetgirl at 6:13 PM on June 27, 2009


Oh Sega, how the mighty have fallen. Once, you made great games. Now you make 3rd party peripherals for men without game.
posted by yeloson at 6:18 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


For some reason this makes me want to claw my eyes out, but I'm not gonna do it.
posted by marxchivist at 6:19 PM on June 27, 2009


"... has developed a 15-inch tall robot girlfriend, who can identify [a] human head and will kiss them on command".

Developer 1: Tom thinks we should secure their commands, he said ssl? Ok?
Developer 2: sed s/s/l, got it.

Oh, the humanity.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:47 PM on June 27, 2009 [18 favorites]


s/s\/s\/l/s\/s\/l\/g/
posted by DU at 6:53 PM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I want one, just to program her to do very strange and time-consuming dance moves. Maybe moonwalk.
posted by Malice at 6:54 PM on June 27, 2009


I can't tell if this most demeans women, or men, or humans.

Well, from the second link's features list:
"RS Femisapien can communicate with, and even control, other WowWee robots, including the original Robosapien™".
So perhaps the answer is, all of the above, but only if they're into that?
posted by FishBike at 7:27 PM on June 27, 2009


It's 15 inches tall and "gives kisses"? That sounds more like a robot dog than a robot girlfriend. I find it unsettling that Sega made apparently can't tell the difference.
posted by fshgrl at 7:43 PM on June 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can't believe that I'm going to live in an age of gendered ROBOTS. ::facepalm::
posted by agregoli at 8:03 PM on June 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


a 15-inch tall robot girlfriend

Imagine all of the fun going out shoe shopping.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:07 PM on June 27, 2009


I can't tell if this most demeans women, or men, or humans.

I'm pretty sure it's the robots are getting the raw end of this.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:14 PM on June 27, 2009


If you own a RoboSapien *and* a FemiSapien, do you have to pay extra for protection?
posted by jamstigator at 8:38 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, Sega, I'd really just settle for a Dreamcast II. Can we make that happen?

Or a new Sonic game that doesn't suck. Either, or.
posted by gc at 8:59 PM on June 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


he said ssl

That is the most complex and obscure joke I've ever found amusing, well done
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:23 PM on June 27, 2009


I guess losing in the console wars really takes its toll on the psyche.
posted by Kronoss at 10:02 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also: Fun-loving and headstrong, RS Testosapien™ speaks his own language called "awesomish" which consists of rippin' zingers and lines from Holy Grail. There is no remote required; interact with him directly and he'll totally party with you, bro.
posted by brain_drain at 10:04 PM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you own a RoboSapien *and* a FemiSapien, do you have to pay extra for protection?

You have that backwards. You have to pay extra for the self-breeding robot army feature.

It was like sticking a vibrator in a fleshlight.
posted by loquacious at 10:06 PM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


20 interactive routines? I only have about 12!
posted by orme at 10:07 PM on June 27, 2009


I highly recommend robots-dreams.com for news on the hobby robotics world, including RoBo-One bipedial robot wrestling and soccer news. IIt's written by a few anglophones based in Tokyo.

Here's their writeup of EMA/Femisapien.

I don't know any good blogs that follow cutting edge research and development in academia and industry, unfortunately.
smart-machines.blogspot.com looks good, actually, and may be a good starting point.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:16 PM on June 27, 2009


Seriously, Sega? Resources that could have gone to a new Shinobi or Phantasy Star went to this instead? We get a lonely-bot instead of a new E-SWAT? This is how you get back into the consumer electronics game? Oh, Sega ... your Fail Skill has made me sad, on and off, since the eighties. Since those SMS 3D glasses that should have been badass, at least.

Try to prevent a total loss on this project if you can, Sega. Maybe sell Ulala, Tyris Flare, Sarah Bryant and Alis skins for this creepy little automaton. Bundle it with a limited-edition Sonic fedora for your dateless customers. And please, oh please, don't forget to add a few useless attachments in the years to come.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:38 AM on June 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, the way they made it "female" is a bit annoying.

Intelligent and interactive, RS Femisapien™ speaks her own language called "emotish" which consists of gentle sounds and gestures.

Because, you know, using actual words (like the "male" Robosapien) would be non-feminine.

(Then again, the older RS makes fart jokes, which is only funny in a surreal way. So there's that.)
posted by rokusan at 2:37 AM on June 28, 2009


Cameron Diaz.
posted by WalterMitty at 4:21 AM on June 28, 2009


"She's very lovable and though she's not a human, she can act like a real girlfriend."

EMA can also hand out business cards, sing and dance."


This is great! I don't have anyone to hand out my business cards and sing and dance for me since my last girlfriend dumped me for no reason at all...

And will the male version of "emotish" consist of grunting "uh uh" and gorilla-like chest-beating?
posted by kolophon at 5:15 AM on June 28, 2009


How come the male version can be marketed just as a cool robot thing, but the female version has to be marketed as a 'girlfriend replacement'?

*sigh*

*gets out credit card*
posted by chrismear at 5:51 AM on June 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


I find this disturbing because it seems clear to me that what people really want is a robot which is human in every way except in that it lacks the ability to refuse sexual acts (or anything else, presumably). Fucking a simulated woman who has been designed to be unable to say no is, I think, diminishing to the humanity of a man.
posted by clockzero at 7:55 AM on June 28, 2009


California Overturns Law Barring Human-Robot Marriage.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 8:12 AM on June 28, 2009


It's like someone stuck a vibrator in a fleshlight!
posted by lazaruslong at 9:34 AM on June 28, 2009


I want to get one so that she can hang out business cards for me.
posted by joni. at 11:53 AM on June 28, 2009


I also just made a typo and accidentally flagged my own post.
posted by joni. at 11:54 AM on June 28, 2009


clockzero: I find this disturbing because it seems clear to me that what people really want is a robot which is human in every way except in that it lacks the ability to refuse sexual acts (or anything else, presumably). Fucking a simulated woman who has been designed to be unable to say no is, I think, diminishing to the humanity of a man.

Traditional seduction is already "diminishing to the humanity", since once you get past all the romantic dressings it's essentially just the exploitation of another full-fledged human for one's own sexual gratification. Hardly what I'd call a noble activity, but we're not disturbed by it because there's been no alternative for all of human history. If fucking robots disturbs you, then it's not because they're diminishing humanity, but because they show us a warped reflection of our base flaws that we go through such pains to cover up and ignore. The robots are just messengers that we'd prefer to shoot.
posted by PsychoKick at 1:14 PM on June 28, 2009


I don't think sexual activity with another human being is inherently exploitative, PsychoKick. And while I certainly wouldn't advocate shooting the robots, I do think that their existence demonstrates something disturbing about the mentality that created them, which I guess means we sort of agree?
posted by clockzero at 2:47 PM on June 28, 2009


I don't think sexual activity with another human being is inherently exploitative, PsychoKick.

Yes, but we're not talking about sexual activity itself, per se. Rather, the concern you raised was of consent and refusal ("lacks the ability to refuse", "unable to say no", etc). Hence my usage of the term seduction, ie: the methods humans use to gain consent for/circumvent refusal of sexual activity.

And while I certainly wouldn't advocate shooting the robots, I do think that their existence demonstrates something disturbing about the mentality that created them, which I guess means we sort of agree?

I don't find it disturbing actually, because it's as perfectly natural as any other base desire or emotion (hate, lust, fear, etc). It's perfectly natural to desire maximum possible return of sexual gratification, with the minimal jumping through the hoops of consent and refusal. These hoops have only gotten more and more complicated in these modern times, where the issue of sexual consent and exploitation has become such a political and social minefield, all while sexual imagery abounds everywhere. People are constantly exhorted to be both sexually liberated and sexually restrained with each other. Is it any wonder then, that more and more people would rather play it safe and just wank off with their sex toys, which will one day include robots?

/ That's really all that sex-bots are. A horrendously complicated form of masturbation, in response to a society where getting sex has become horrendously complicated. It's probably inevitable, as base human nature and instincts can't possibly keep up with the blistering developmental pace of higher human morality.
posted by PsychoKick at 5:44 PM on June 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


A horrendously complicated form of masturbation, in response to a society where getting sex has become horrendously complicated.

Sex is horrendously complicated? What are you talking about? I have very reliable birth control and modern clinics that check me for nasty diseases once a year. (More checkups if sans monogamy). My gender stopped routinely dying in childbirth, and men who have sex with me before marriage are no longer shackled to me in an unbreakable domestic contract. I can have sex with women, with hardly a ripple of notice, I can secure a safe, legal abortion and as long as I stick to the over 16 set my own species and non-siblings, there are few legal repercussions. And there’s all these guide books available off the shelf in libraries if I don’t understand the positions or risks.

So I haven’t the foggiest idea what you’re talking about. Could you please expand on this?
posted by Phalene at 6:51 PM on June 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Uh, Phalene, I think PK is saying that it's the getting, and not the sex, that's complicated.

Knowing how to ask, who to ask, when to ask; Henry Rollins boiled the whole dating thing down to its ridiculous extreme: guys are just saying, "Let me fuck you." It's not 100% accurate, but he has a point.

And for guys who are not extremely confident, figuring out how to say that without saying that is, indeed, horrendously complicated.

Me, I just want a robot girlfriend who will laugh at my jokes, watch movies with me, spend time with me, and enjoy being around me as much as I enjoy being around her. Sex is totally optional if I find a woman who enjoys my company.

(Why, yes, I am divorced, overweight, and poor. Why do you ask?)
posted by Mister Moofoo at 10:15 PM on June 28, 2009


The thing is, Mr. Moofoo, that's not a sexual partner, that's a good friend. And we could all use plenty of those, of any gender. Making robots who love us and we can love, in that context, is no more perverse than domesticating animals and has nothing to do with sex being complex and seduction being brutal. Or it being somehow harder to get laid.
posted by Phalene at 11:03 PM on June 28, 2009


So I haven’t the foggiest idea what you’re talking about. Could you please expand on this?

Remember, you're speaking from the perspective of the gender that hasn't needed to have sex robots built for it. I'm not sure words are sufficient.
posted by chrismear at 5:36 AM on June 29, 2009


Remember, you're speaking from the perspective of the gender that hasn't needed to have sex robots built for it.

Please visit babeland.com and reconsider.
posted by electroboy at 7:57 AM on June 29, 2009


Chrismear- I spent several years in involuntary celibacy. There's this myth that poon falls on you from above if you have a vagina, but for the most part there's a lot of horny frustrated female virgins out there, writing slash porn in their mom's basements.

Despite this period of celibacy in my life, it's still a hell of a lot easier to get laid than even 50 years ago, for either gender, for the reasons I listed.
posted by Phalene at 10:38 AM on June 29, 2009


See, Phalene, there feels like a false dichotomy in your categorizing "sexual partner" vs. "good friend." I'm talking about someone who's both, but not necessarily the former. I guess it'd just set the slider about 80-95% toward "friend."

Anton LaVey posited "Artificial Human Companions" as one of the five pillars of his ideal society. He was talking mostly about sexbots, I think, but I really like the "AHC" term. For me, this elusive AI personality would have to be a major portion of a sex robot that would be at all desirable. That, and indistinguishability from a real person. If strangers on the street could tell that my AHC was a robot, well... I was going to say that that would be a bad thing, but maybe it wouldn't matter. Who knows?

Granted, a "Robot Girlfriend" who doesn't speak in words is a major indicator of the problem, here. I don't get the stereotypical male attitude about not wanting to hear women talk, and all that crap. I didn't get it when I was growing up in redneck land, and I don't get it now. When you compare women with the men who talk about women that way, I choose without hesitation who I'd rather be able to silence. For those just tuning in, it ain't the women.

A face would be nice, too, robot-makers.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 4:22 PM on June 29, 2009


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