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Sexbots, Ethics, and Transhumans

on Jun 25, 2013



I zoomed in as she approached the steps of the bridge, taking voyeuristic pleasure in seeing her pixelated cleavage fill the screen.

What was it about those electronic dots that had the power to turn people on? There was nothing real in them, but that never stopped millions of people every day, male and female, from deriving sexual gratification by interacting with those points of light.

It must all be down to our perception of reality. — Memories with Maya

We are transitional humans; Transhumans:

Transhumanism is about using technology to improve the human condition. Perhaps a nascent stigma attached to the transhumanist movement in some circles comes from the ethical implications and usage of high technology – bio-tech and nano-tech to name a few, on people. Yet, being transhuman does not necessarily have to be associated with bio-hacking the human body, or entail the donning of cyborg-like prosthetics. Although it is hard not to plainly see and recognize the benefits such human augmentation technology has for persons  in need.

Orgasms and Longevity:

Today, how many normal people, even theists, can claim not to use sexual aids and visual stimulation in the form of video or interaction via video, to achieve sexual satisfaction? It’s hard to deny the therapeutic effect an orgasm has in improving the human condition. In brief, some benefits to health and longevity associated with regular sex and orgasms:

  • When we orgasm we release hormones, including oxytocin and vasopressin. Oxytocin equals relaxation, and when released it can help us calm down and feel euphoric.
  • People having more sex add years to their lifespan. Dr. Oz touts a 200 orgasms a year guideline. [1]

Recommended reading: The Science of Orgasm [2]

While orgasms usually occur as a result of physical sexual activity, there is no conclusive study that proves beneficial orgasms are only produced when sexual activity involves two humans. Erotica in the form of literature and later, moving images, have been used to stimulate the mind into inducing an orgasm for a good many centuries in the absence of a human partner. As technology is the key enabler in stimulating the mind, what might the sexual choices (preferences?) of the human race – the Transhuman be, going forward?

Enter the Sexbot…

(Gray Scott speaking on Sexbots at 1:19 minutes into the video)

SexBots and Digital Surrogates [Dirrogates]

Sexbots, or sex robots can come in two forms. Fully digital incarnations with AI, viewed through Augmented Reality visors, or as physical robots – advanced enough to pass off as human surrogates. The porn industry as always been at the fore-front of video and interactive innovation, experimenting with means of immersing the audience into the “action”. Gonzo Porn [3] is one such technique that started off as a passive linear viewing experience, then progressed to multi-angle DVD interactivity and now to Virtual Reality first person point-of-view interactivity.

Augmented Reality and Digital Surrogates of porn stars performing with AI built in, will be the next logical step. How could this be accomplished?

Somewhere on hard-drives in Hollywood studios, there are full body digital models and “performance capture” files of actors and actresses. When these perf-cap files are assigned to any suitable 3D CGI model, an animator can bring to life the Digital Surrogate [Dirrogate] of the original actor. Coupled with realistic skin rendering using Separable Subsurface Scattering (SSSS) rendering techniques [4] for instance, and with AI “behaviour” libraries, these Dirrogates can populate the real world, enter living-rooms and change or uplift the mood of person – for the better.

(The above video is for illustration purposes of 3D model data-sets and perf-capture)

With 3D printing of human body parts now possible and blue prints coming online [5] with full mechanical assembly instructions, the other kind of sexbot is possible. It won’t be long before the 3D laser-scanned blueprint of a porn star sexbot will be available for licensing and home printing, at which point, the average person will willingly transition to transhuman status once the ‘buy now’ button has been clicked.

Programmable matter – Claytronics [6] will take this technology to even more sophisticated levels.

Sexbots and Ethics:


If we look at Digital Surrogate Sexbot technology, which is a progression of interactive porn, we can see the technology to create such Dirrogate sexbots exists today, and better iterations will come about in the next couple of years. Augmented Reality hardware when married to wearable technology such as ‘fundawear’ [7] and a photo-realistic Dirrogate driven by perf-captured libraries of porn stars under software (AI) control, can bring endless sessions of sexual pleasure to males and females.

Things get complicated as technology evolves, and to borrow a term from Kurzweil, exponentially. Recently the Kinect 2 was announced. This off the shelf hardware ‘game controller’ in the hands of capable hackers has shown what is possible. It can be used as a full body performance capture solution, a 3D laser scanner that can build a replica of a room in realtime and more…

Which means, during a dirrogate sexbot session where a human wears an Augmented Reality visor such as Meta-glass [8], it would be possible to connect via the internet to your partner, wife or husband and have their live perf-capture session captured by a Kinect 2 controller and drive the photo-realistic Dirrogate of your favorite pornstar.

Would this be the makings of Transhumanist adultry? Some other ethical issues to ponder:

  • Thou shalt not covet their neighbors wife – But there is no commandant about pirating her perf-capture file.
  • Will humans, both male or female, prefer sexbots versus human partners for sexual fulfillment? – Will oxytocin release make humans “feel” for their sexbots?
  • As AI algorithms get better…bordering on artificial sentience, will sexbots start asking for “Dirrogate Rights”?

Soldiers are reluctant to send their Robots into battle:

Soldiers acknowledged in an interview,  they felt a range of emotions such as frustration, anger and even sadness when their field robot was destroyed.[in the line of work, say in bomb disposal situations]

If highly trained soldiers can manifest emotional attachment for robots, what would it be like between humans and sexbots, or indeed- digital surrogates, that bring companionship to humans?

These are only some of the points worth considering… and if these seem like plausible concerns, imagine what happens in the case of humanoid like physical Sex-bots. As Gray Scott mentions in his video above.

As we evolve into Transhumans, we will find ourselves asking that all important question “What is Real?”

It will all be down to our perception of reality. — Memories with Maya


Table of References:

[i] Human Augmentation: Be bionic arm –


[2] The Science of Orgasm-

[3] Gonzo Pornography –

[4] Separable subsurface scattering rendering –

[5] 3D Printing of Body parts –

[6] Programmable Matter; Claytronics –

[7] Fundawear: Wearable sex underwear –

[8] Meta-view: Digital see through Augmented Reality visor –

One Comment

  1. Below a copy-paste of an explanation for people who are quick to judge the essay based on the images alone—

    This essay has gone through a lot of changes since it’s original version here:

    The main reason has been:
    Objections from some readers (male and female) that the essay “objectifys” women or, that the original title image and then later, another replacement image again caused objection. Luckily the Kurzweil Facebook page didn’t see any problem with it, see:

    The original animated gif (viewable at was chosen with a message in mind – that we as Trashumans will be moulding and bending “reality” like putty – There will be no disconnect between the digital and real world

    The reason the animated gif was also created was to help visualize the “pixels” that imagery (reality) is made of and described in the opening paragraph of the original essay.

    The main intentions in writing a sex-bot essay was not to fuel immature male fantasy, or to objectify women, as some have speculated – and I posed a question – What if the image was that of a male sex-bot? Would it then be regarded as an essay on homosexual transhumanism?

    I’ll copy-paste one of my replies below (taken from a Facebook group discussion), the essence and reasoning behind the essay:

    In essence here’s what the essay was *actually* aimed at:

    Let’s for a moment get back to the essay – It is about Transhumans and how they will deal with sex, ethics, and emotions – If transhumanism is the use of technology to better the human condition (and the essay stresses this like a stuck cd on loop)—then technology in this case , ie the use of sexbots to give emotional comfort (and pleasure) to a human who has not yet transcended is very valid in my opinion –

    Let’s look beyond the superficial arguments and objections [of that title image] – I think we are more mature than that – We have to investigate if and whether technology can make us bond with techno beings.

    – Can a grieving person who’s lost their lover/ partner find solace in technology that is supposed to “better” their condition?

    – Can a person who may be disfigured, maimed, and for other reasons NOT able to have intimate relations with another human, find comfort in a technology solution – a sexbot?

    – Can two human partners – separated due to War, work, or bed ridden – find comfort in a machine surrogate.. yes, operated by the other partner?

    These are questions posed in the essay if one reads carefully, and between the lines. (the part about scanning, digitizing, AI library routines etc)

    Once we can look beyond the title image, and the quick classification of the essay, we can then hopefully understand a bit more of what’s being addressed and asked of in the article.

    We can use all the nano, bio, anti aging, and Mechanical augmentation that we want and call ourselves transhuman, but it’s our minds that need to transcend and leave behind the artifacts and pre-conceived notions of 20th century thinking – to me, *that* is being transhuman.

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