Every word of this article is fact.
January 10, 2018 2:31 PM   Subscribe

"“We were looking for something creative to do during CES that would sort of match what was happening in town,' [Sapphire Las Vegas Managing Partner Peter Feinstein] said. 'We’re offering a different place to go. If you’re six people from a company and there’s two women and four guys, you can still here and have some fun and see the robots and not feel like you have to be part of a strip club.'” Las Vegas Strip Club Imports Robot Strippers for CES.
posted by Diablevert (86 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
>She added that the robots might actually be empowering to women and inspire them to take up stripping themselves.

>“I think that the fact that these robots aren’t human makes women think, you know, anybody can do it,” she said. “A robot can do it, why can’t someone else even if they’re not as pretty as them or as in shape as them? The robots give women hope.”

The robots give women hope. Okay, that's all for me for today. I'm out. Catch you guys on the flip side.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 2:41 PM on January 10 [89 favorites]


I am filled with murderous rage.
posted by odinsdream at 2:47 PM on January 10 [13 favorites]


If you dream of making the world a better place (TM), and all you've got is robot strippers, then I guess you make the world a better place using robot strippers.
posted by clawsoon at 2:48 PM on January 10 [10 favorites]


> “I think this is perfect for CES,” said Lisa, a Las Vegas resident.

Sounds like it!
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:48 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


For the actual fuck of shit, just stop it right now. CAN HORRIBLE PEOPLE STOP BEING HORRIBLE FOR A SEC? I'd just like to catch my breath for a minute.

Damn.
posted by Space Kitty at 2:49 PM on January 10 [11 favorites]


I have to go reread The Murderbot Diaries now, and I note for all y'all that the Kindle version is currently on sale.
posted by clew at 2:52 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


"Your move, creep."
posted by FJT at 2:53 PM on January 10


when all you have
is a robot stripper
then every problem is
whatever problem you solve
with a robot
stripper
posted by kokaku at 2:53 PM on January 10 [37 favorites]


Is this actually an official CES event or just a local business trying to capitalize on the influx of convention-goers?
posted by airmail at 2:57 PM on January 10


The robots were flown in from London for the occasion and will be performing at the club all week in honor of CES, and Sapphire Las Vegas strip club Managing Partner Peter Feinstein said it’s all in a bid to attract more women.

Err. wot?

And then he goes on to point out that CES has changed a bit, and Hot Babes are just not drawing the crowds they used to, so... he thinks that robot women will encourage more actually living women to attend. This is apparently some application of Vegas Logic: "it's a tech show; we will have Tech Things; this will bring back the guys who've not been attending strip shows, and hey, we're supposed to be inclusive and all that, and why wouldn't women want to see tech roboty dancer women?"

Also: The robots appear to be pole-dancers only, not strippers. And nobody is raving about their dancing skills.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:00 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


These robot strippers...they vibrate give women hope?
posted by nubs at 3:01 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


This seems a good place to drop one of my favorite robot girlfriend murder mysteries.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:07 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


I thought this was a secondary scandal, and the primary scandal was that they don't have any women keynote speakers? Or maybe that all the keynote speakers are white guys? I don't remember which.

But today the scandal is that apparently the power went out, which is sort of an inconvenient thing to happen at a consumer electronics show.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:08 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Simpsons Futurama did it first.
posted by FJT at 3:08 PM on January 10 [7 favorites]


Well that’s fucked
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:09 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


I am filled with murderous rage.

The upshot is: so are the robots.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:11 PM on January 10 [24 favorites]


I too was looking for a Futurama link, but an RT story I ran across indicates these particular robots have been around since at least 2014.
posted by lagomorphius at 3:13 PM on January 10


In case anyone else is curious how horrifying robot strippers could be, here's some video (NSFW?). There's several more but they all seemed to feature real women strippers too and creepy dudes talking about how innovative this all was.

If you want to watch actual erotic robot movements without the creepy stripper context, may I suggest Chris Cunningham's brilliant video for Björk's All is Full of Love?
posted by Nelson at 3:13 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


so at the (possibly cocaine-fueled) brainstorming meeting about the "bid to attract more women"

somebody started it off with

(stay with me here)

"there's no such thing as a bad idea"

and then there were robot strippers
posted by allegedly at 3:14 PM on January 10 [6 favorites]


This is an actual part of the story:

When the stereo began blaring “Put your filthy hands all over me,” one man tenderly caressed a robot’s leg.

Tip buckets at the robot’s feet read “MIT bound” and “Need money for batteries.”


When the robots rise up, they will point to this, and we will have no answer.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:15 PM on January 10 [52 favorites]


Make it rain bitcoins.
posted by peeedro at 3:16 PM on January 10 [6 favorites]


My mental image is of a robot lady that removes her clothes and then her robot skin-covering and then just starts yanking out all her own wires until she stops moving and I just wanted to share that really disturbing and tenacious thought with you all.

She comes out on stage like this.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:16 PM on January 10 [40 favorites]


Simpsons Futurama did it first.

No, you were right the first time.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:18 PM on January 10


It wasn’t the fact that their head was a video camera that ruined the experience, one man said; it was the way they moved.

Says it all really
posted by KateViolet at 3:20 PM on January 10 [23 favorites]


You know, as part of an art installation, having one of these with that surveillance camera head that looks at people, and does a pattern recognition lookup to see whether they've got a police record and/or are on a sex offender registry and then blasts a photo of the subject along with said record on a canvas background behind them, while it dances in the museum of art would be fantastic. In Las Vegas though, having lots of them just dance is skeevy - especially under the misguided plan to attract more women...
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:26 PM on January 10 [15 favorites]


Tip buckets at the robot’s feet read “MIT bound” and “Need money for batteries.”

Absolutely revealing about standard oppressive sex work under capitalism (I mean, recognizing that sex work is the best option for some people, that some people have good experiences, that we all live under capitalism, etc): The sweetener is the assurance that the woman-robot is economically dependent and can't say no. She's not a mere machine gyrating because programmed, and she's not someone who has some choice about how she sells her labor; she is someone who is compelled into sexual servitude by poverty. The fantasy isn't about sex so much as about violence, of the lower-pay and higher-rents kind.
posted by Frowner at 3:26 PM on January 10 [67 favorites]


Outrage that robots are taking exploitative jobs may feel like it's inspiring you to cast it as a metaphor for something, but control that urge!

This may be a good time to remind everyone, the following CES events and products are all also simply bad ideas or good ideas, and are definitely NOT metaphors for any other dystopian situations, past present or future:

Annoying auto-playing video at most of the following links.

CES being plunged into darkness by power failure while Puerto Rican pop music wafted through the aisles.

Intel trying to downplay unprecedented computer security failures by launching swarms of computer-controlled drones into the skies of a city famed for gambling.

Nokia, "Dreamlight", and Sleep Number internet-enabled mattresses and masks to help you lose consciousness and to watch you as you sleep. No more nightmares!

The longest continuous drifting in world history, sending clouds of noxious smoke into the air.

The announcement that 75% of what you see is because you have been "lured in" by an AI.

The beauty product industry, turning to spectacles of mystery drinks, chainsaws, and armored guards to attract attention.

Tin foil hats for nuts.

Dirt-sucking plastic for washing without much water.

Fall-detecting lamps so that the elderly can be left alone.

Products made from recycled guns.

And finally, there is definitely NO symbolic subtext to

"Hey, Google, help me get out of bed."
posted by roystgnr at 3:34 PM on January 10 [21 favorites]


Should have been robot dinosaurs (because what kind of ass-backwards relic goes to strip clubs for business entertainment anymore?).
posted by Burhanistan at 3:35 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


I think

female club promoters in tight silver spandex robot suits jumped around, hyping up guests and passing out drinks

undoes the "bring in more women!" notion, but I guess that's why I don't have a lucrative career in strip club management.
posted by zompist at 3:37 PM on January 10


how... COULD ANYONE, have thought this was a good idea???
HOW?

I just... I saw the gif of the robo stripper on Jalopnik earlier and thought heh heh heh what? but the context makes it so SO MUCH WORSE.

ARGGH.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:37 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


The sweetener is the assurance that the woman-robot is economically dependent and can't say no.

Well, neither can my dishwasher, and as near as I can tell the sexy robot woman and my kitchen appliance have the same gender.

Incidentally, so does the mechanical friend some people keep in their nightstand drawer. At least this sex toy has arms.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:53 PM on January 10


"Hey, pretty lady... wanna kill all humans?"
posted by SPrintF at 3:53 PM on January 10 [14 favorites]


So this circulated on Twitter as "robot strippers at CES" but I want to point out that as much of a shithole as tech is and CES is, this is not the actual work of CES, merely enterprising Vegas small business owners. CES is actually somewhat less terribly sexist than it used to be and is marginally improving.
posted by GuyZero at 4:04 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


If you’re six people from a company and there’s two women and four guys

If you're six people from a company and the four men want to impose a hostile workplace on the two women, you can do that without it TECHNICALLY involving naked women! Of course it has to be four guys and two women, because we know that any nonmale-majority group would not actually decide that this was a good idea. Look, if you can't picture a world in which a group of all women would do this, it's still hostile to women.

Make the robot strippers mixed-gender or take away the boobs and have a mixed-gender fully-dressed staff inside and you might get around the "the women in this group are going to only show up under pressure from the rest of the group because they're outnumbered" problem, but somehow I doubt most of the guys who showed up would have done so if the completely-not-gendered-because-they-aren't-people robots didn't have fake boobs on them.
posted by Sequence at 4:09 PM on January 10 [9 favorites]


Guy with the hockey stick at Boston Dynamics doesn't seem so bad now, huh?
posted by clawsoon at 4:11 PM on January 10 [25 favorites]


Metafilter: At least this sex toy has arms.

I dunno. What is the term for the pinnacle of apathy? I have so many no feelings about this. It is meh art wrapped in a meh business catering to a meh convention. I can't get angry or sad or anything because any thought just slides right off the thick layer of boredom.
posted by poe at 4:12 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: At least this sex toy has arms.
posted by Splunge at 4:12 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


Heh. Like minds and all that. :)
posted by Splunge at 4:12 PM on January 10


What is the term for the pinnacle of apathy?

Existential despair?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:16 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


“I think that the fact that these robots aren’t human makes women think, you know, anybody can do it,”

I think this says it all. "Women will realize they can be strippers when they see it is not necessary for a stripper to be a person."
posted by straight at 4:27 PM on January 10 [41 favorites]


Reminder that CES and the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo used to be held concurrently.

Also, only vaguely, tangentially related, but here is Eurogamer's Chris Bratt being adorably flustered checking out VR Porn at E3.
posted by juv3nal at 4:34 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


Giles Walker, the artist who created the robots originally as a political commentary on the surveillance state, said he didn’t have a problem with the machines being repurposed as a strip-club gimmick.
Male artist concerned with government gaze unconcerned with male gaze, news at 11.

This whole thing makes me want to punch someone but I don't know who.
posted by biogeo at 4:35 PM on January 10 [44 favorites]


There was an article in a recent month's Wired magazine about a Japanese robot guy. It took me several pages of reading before I realized it wasn't short fiction. I am still not sure I am correct about that.
posted by srboisvert at 4:37 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


Apathy has a pinnacle? I thought it only had a nadir?
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:48 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


Oh god who cares.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:48 PM on January 10 [21 favorites]


Also: The robots appear to be pole-dancers only, not strippers. And nobody is raving about their dancing skills.

This is an important point. If these were woman-shaped robots that actually had enough dexterity to remove their clothes I would at least be able to find that aspect impressive. This is poorly considered decades-old Disney animatronic technology. They literally could have had identical "robot strippers" at the very first CES in 1967.

I'm most upset about the misogyny, but there really are so many other smaller ways in which this is deeply offensive.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:52 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


This whole thing makes me want to punch someone but I don't know who.
Everybody. Just start swinging.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:00 PM on January 10 [8 favorites]


Basically, they're the really expensive version of Dar-Ci the Dancing Robot. Check out those moves. (However, Dragon-i Toys wishes to establish that Dar-Ci is male, and therefore suitable for boys.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:02 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


then I guess you make the world a better place using robot strippers.

And robot blackjack.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:04 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Stripper in the room: BAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Clubs have been trying all sorts of ridiculous stunts to get people in through the door, especially as profits are getting worse every year, but I think this takes the cake.

I also applaud the journalist (in an amused/impressed/depressed way) for getting the absolute dumbest female patrons in the entire place to opine on how poorly designed robots can inspire us all. Clearly, if non-sentient robots can sort-of swing around a pole, ANYBODY CAN BECOME A STRIPPER.

"The robots give women hope.” What a golden quote. I can just picture the journalist nodding along, trying to keep a straight face as quotation marks appear out of thin air and frame the words. Because what's been stopping women from taking their clothes off onstage for money isn't [[my mind is so overloaded with examples, I can't pick just one]] but that we didn't have robots to model it for us.

(Side note: I promise that most of the female patrons I've interacted with are more intelligent than this.)

I'm going to get in touch with a few friends who have worked at Sapphire in the past to let them know that the monkeys are officially running the circus. (For those unfamiliar with strip clubs: Sapphire is a huge strip club in Las Vegas, widely regarded as one of the best — if not the undisputed best — in the city.) We had been kicking around the idea of heading to Vegas and working at Sapphire for a couple weeks. I'm less interested in that now.

Also: Shout-out to the (real live human) dancer in the background of the third photo. I've been unsuccessfully working on that move here and there but don't have the flexibility in my hips to make it happen. It must have been annoying as hell to be scantily clad, upside down on a pole, executing a super difficult move ... as a sideshow to poorly designed animatronics.
posted by Peppermint Snowflake at 5:11 PM on January 10 [43 favorites]


2016: The Biffverse from Back to the Future II
2017: The Onion
2018: Demolition Man
2020: Robocop

I only hope that by the time we get to 2032, we'll have sand-worms. We deserve this. The spice must flow.
posted by Fizz at 5:13 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


Yeah it is horrible but we've been heading this way for a while now...FROOMB?
posted by vrakatar at 5:17 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


I'll bet that the FuCC's Ajit Pai is regretting he cancelled his own appearance at the CES.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:21 PM on January 10


Roko's Ecdysiast.
posted by ardgedee at 5:23 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Men at the event seemed to think it was hilarious to throw wads of cash at the animatronic women to spite the female human dancers.

I have no words for how ugly this is.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 5:49 PM on January 10 [40 favorites]


I thought this was a secondary scandal, and the primary scandal was that they don't have any women keynote speakers?

They brought in a robot keynote speaker to encourage women to be keynote speakers.
posted by ryoshu at 6:03 PM on January 10 [14 favorites]


CTRL + F "Black Mirror"

Really, people?
posted by AFABulous at 6:16 PM on January 10


It wasn’t the fact that their head was a video camera that ruined the experience, one man said; it was the way they moved.

This gives hope to those of us with cameras for heads.
posted by asperity at 6:33 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


After the show this whole thing is going to be revealed as an art piece, right?
posted by Dr. Twist at 6:58 PM on January 10


> Should have been robot dinosaurs (because what kind of ass-backwards relic goes to strip clubs for business entertainment anymore?).

Pole-dancing t-rex is where it's at.
posted by rtha at 7:07 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Clearly, if non-sentient robots can sort-of swing around a pole, ANYBODY CAN BECOME A STRIPPER.

wrong. as we are all aware, up until now the limitation on the eroticism of pole dancing was the amount of g-forces the human body could handle and the precision of its responses. robots face no such limitations. this is the death knell of an entire industry.
posted by indubitable at 7:16 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


So, the context for this is terrible, but also I'm gay and love objecthead designs and want to take all of these robot girls out on a date? Like, if they had human faces it would be creepy, but with the camera I'm just like, "She's so cute! If she were a barista I would buy coffee from her even though I don't drink coffee!"

But I don't think gay autistic asexual women are the target demographic. If we were they would be wearing cute dresses at the very least. Petition to steal all the robots and and give them cute dresses and barista training and their own coffee shop. Then the two women, four men group can all go get coffee at the robot coffee shop! Much more fun and, idk, WORK APPROPRIATE??
posted by brook horse at 8:34 PM on January 10 [16 favorites]


> Lyn Never:
"My mental image is of a robot lady that removes her clothes and then her robot skin-covering and then just starts yanking out all her own wires until she stops moving and I just wanted to share that really disturbing and tenacious thought with you all.

She comes out on stage like this ."


Too noisy. Ruins my immersion.
posted by Samizdata at 8:46 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


Like Lou Reed in the No Money Down video.
posted by RobotHero at 8:55 PM on January 10


This whole thing makes me want to punch someone but I don't know who.
Everybody. Just start swinging.


The day Metafilter decided that literally everybody was a nazi.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:16 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


Woah, woah, woah! I'm not saying that everybody is a Nazi.

I'm just advocating senseless violence.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 9:23 PM on January 10 [21 favorites]


Do Androids Cry After Stripping in Vegas for CES?

OMG so much Betteridge's law here. No. They straighten out their crumpled dollars at the end of their shift, like every other stripper, and, with a steely glare, vow that someday they will finally save up enough to move out of this two-bit town.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:48 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


posted by sexyrobot at 9:48 PM on January 10 [+] [!]

welp
posted by juv3nal at 10:20 PM on January 10 [14 favorites]


I saw these particular robots at the UK Maker Faire one year. They are actually quite awesome as an art piece, because you're looking at them and the cameras are pointed back at you and are you reducing them to a sex object or are they reducing you to a statistic and in the UK, where we have CCTV cameras everywhere and it seems like most of our modern horrors are single screenshots from grainy footage... It's a really interesting piece of work.

However, I have a feeling that most of the people there wouldn't look at it as an art exhibit. And that's the problem.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:10 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


I like the idea that art should be found in places where people should not expect art, and a strip club definitely qualifies for that. So if the creator of the robots doesn't have a problem with it, I am willing to give him the benefit of a doubt w/r/t having something in mind beyond making more money off his work (and, mind, I approve of artists making money).

So this could have risen above its problematic aspects -- if you assume the creative goal was to make people (well, guys mostly) feel conscientious about going to a strip club -- and apparently it didn't. Was it because giant old-fashioned CCTV cameras for heads were not a stark enough message, or are American men just too indifferent to being held up to mockery because this era of selfies and whatsapp videos have numbed many people to the consequences of being on-camera? Or did it not go far enough and the bars' flat panel TVs should have had their sports games replaced with the robots' camera feeds?

To the extent the art was successful, it was not in getting into the heads of the strip club's patrons, it was in making an example of them to the general public by pointing out how indifferent they are to the distinction between human women and literal objects. Which would be some pretty well-done 4D chess if that's what the artist was angling for.
posted by ardgedee at 3:09 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Is there anything to indicate that the artist was involved or that the event was intended to be an art piece? I think it was just a dumb shitty stunt that the artist said he wasn't offended by. Repurposing art doesn't necessarily make new art.
posted by (Over) Thinking at 5:49 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


But what if we just talk about the murderbot diaries? They are so fun and great, like the opposite of this event.
posted by (Over) Thinking at 5:49 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


I am pretty sure beloved cartoonist and illustrator of the early 2000's Ashley Wood had a whole series about sex robots uprising and destroying the world of man. I can't for the life of me remember the title. ( I think in the same story the U.S president is a cat in a punk band)
posted by teamKRL at 7:07 AM on January 11


Followed the above link to the Dreamlight article and found this:

Can you relax when there's a pillow wrapped around your head that streams a barrage of ambient nose into your ears and pulses orange light onto your eyelids?

And now, I am no longer capable of serious participation in this discussion because ambient nose.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 7:48 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


This has been in my brain all day long and something (aside from the nightmare images) was bugging me and I couldn't figure it out, and now I know. The robots are basically pulled from the panels of Brian K. Vaughn's SAGA. Here's what I'm thinking about.
posted by Fizz at 8:20 AM on January 11


Seth Meyers made me LOL last night with this one:

"They're the only strippers in Vegas that will take Ones...and Zeroes."
posted by zakur at 9:11 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


This whole thing makes me want to punch someone but I don't know who.

The nearest dick, I think.

If there were any justice in the world, the robots would have uploaded footage of the men who tipped the robots to spite the actual women to the internet and then used facial recognition to populate an ever growing public list of garbage misogynists.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:14 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


WAT. Oh god, I saw @swiftonsecurity's twitter little twitter story about murderous robot strippers but had no idea there were actual robot strippers.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:56 AM on January 11




Did I miss the link for the bodies wrapped in plastic?
posted by eye of newt at 9:57 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


I am interested in brook horse's ideas and would like to subscribe to her newsletter.
posted by BrashTech at 10:42 AM on January 12


A common complaint was that the female robots weren’t complex or lifelike enough. It wasn’t the fact that their head was a video camera that ruined the experience, one man said; it was the way they moved.

Narrator: And it was at this point the reader began to hear a harsh high pitched noise, and for several minutes they didn't realize it was just their own screaming.

Anyway, if I wanted to watch robots stripping I can go watch the EEVblog, mikeselectricstuff, AvE, Fran Blanche, bigclivedotcom or AvE.

I mean, I know I'm asking a lot out of even a famous strip club, but this could have been awesome. Imagine showing up and instead of finding unsexy robots grinding on the uncanny valley, they actually had a functional robotics lab set up.

Oh, right, I forgot what timeline we're on now. Sorry.
posted by loquacious at 1:52 PM on January 12


I couldn't resist.

Hey Feinstein/Walker/all the other boring 'creative' minds involved in this, I've got plenty more design ideas to share. You want events women will attend, I will reach the elusive but large 'gay women who love robots' crowd for you. Serious untapped market here.

Also, I guarantee you a cute robot barista will earn ten million more dollars in tips than a robot stripper.
posted by brook horse at 2:51 PM on January 12


Also, I guarantee you a cute robot barista will earn ten million more dollars in tips than a robot stripper.

Wait, how much coffee do you drink!?
posted by loquacious at 6:31 PM on January 12


Wait, how much coffee do you drink!?

That's my secret. I can't drink coffee. But I will buy a coffee if a cute barista suggests to me that I will like XYZ drink. One time I bought a smoothie I was allergic to because the cashier was really cute and I couldn't bring myself to say no. (I luckily have a partner to pass off my coffee and pineapple smoothie impulse buys.)
posted by brook horse at 7:42 PM on January 12


I had not previously thought of Questionable Content as realism.
posted by clew at 11:14 PM on January 12


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