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The Rise of the Machines

Part 1:  Robotics


By:  David Deschesne


Fort Fairfield Journal, February 13, 2019


   Robotics has come a long way in the past decade and advances are taking place in increasingly shorter time spans.  While Artificial Intelligence (AI) is augmenting the capabilities of today’s robots, what I want to focus on here is the physical characteristics and capabilities of what’s available with today’s technology.  In next issue of FFJ, I’ll elaborate more on where AI is today, its feverish pace to achieve “consciousness,” and where that could ultimately lead the human race.

   What follows is three specific genres of robotics designed to cater to  specific sectors of society.  The confines of space necessarily mandate a brief overview, so I won’t be able to go into all of the various robotic designs and how they are being used but this should give you a good idea to understand where the technology is today.  


   Lifelike sex dolls are nothing new, and have been available for perhaps the past twenty years.  With advances in silicone polymers and Hollywood style latex foam productions, static, unresponsive sex dolls with highly accurate anatomical parts have become a normal product in the sex doll industry.

   What is changing at a very rapid pace, however, is the implementation of AI and soft robotics with these sex dolls.  While it’s still in its development stages, sex dolls with all of the normal anatomical frills are now being equipped with a “brain” that allows them to learn their human partner’s history, likes and dislikes and draw on that database to participate in simple conversations.

   At this point, the robotics is quirky and annoyingly noticeable as the computer attempts to match the voice of the doll with clunky, servo-controlled lip movements.  But, that technology is being rapidly developed and improved.  These sexbots also have eye movement and some, like the Mark I female bot, even come equipped with facial servos to create various facial expressions based upon the input the bot receives.

   The lifelike appearance of some of the more advanced sexbots makes them almost indistinguishable from humans.  The makeup artists who design these bots have brought the technology of skin texturing and even eyelashes to a whole new level of realism.  These aren’t the inflatable sex dolls of the 1960s-1970s.

   At this point the animated parts of most sexbots is essentially limited to above the neckline—mouth and eye movements, facial expressions, etc. while the body can be manipulated into virtually any position by its user. They are not at the point where they are walking around doing housework.  However, some models do have limited robotic arm  and leg movement controlled by their CPUs.

   The Samantha bot was created by Dr. Sergi Santos.  According to an interview at, “Santos says he invented Samantha in the first place because his wife was unable to fulfill his sexual desires and his current relationship with the sex-doll has saved his long-term marriage.  ‘For me, humans are not enough,’ he told The Sun earlier this year. ‘I need sex some times of the day that my wife doesn’t want to.’ He believes women and men ‘view sex in a very different way’ saying that men want more sex and they are also interested in women that are desperate to have sex with men.”

   While some robots have been developed to possess some movement of the limbs, at this point it’s not technically feasible to implement the  advances necessary for walking/balancing and other energy-intensive activities inside of the soft, voluptuous body that a sexbot needs to possess.

   While the technology is still young, it is advancing at an exponential rate and within perhaps ten– to twenty- years’ time, as technology increases their capabilities, and the price of these objects comes down, more and more men in society may be opting for these devices for personal companionship and to satiate their sexual desires instead of human females.   

   Cheer up, ladies, there are male versions of these robots, as well. 


Police Bots

   The section of robotics most interesting to government is those for police and military applications.

   Unlike the soft, fleshy robots that are mostly inanimate from the neck down, these hard robots are fully animated, can walk, use power tools and shoot weapons.  The Russian-built “FEDOR,” can do all that and drive an automobile by itself.

   “Atlas,” a 6 foot tall monster of a robot, is being designed to enter high danger areas and extract human victims.  Recently, Atlas became the first autonomous robot to do a back flip and land on its feet.

   South Korea, a leader in technological innovation, has come up with the 12 foot tall, one ton behemoth called “Method II”.  Method II can house a human pilot in its exoskeleton, or be controlled via remote control.  Method II is being designed to be deployed in extremely dangerous scenarios, such as failed nuclear reactors.  The manufacturer, however, has not ruled out police/military applications for the machine.

   While the police and military applications of these devices make authoritarian government bureaucrats giddy with excitement, the technology is still too new to deploy them in the field as operational units.  Instead, the first robots that are actually being deployed now are unarmed, semi-autonomous drones that more resemble R2-D2 from the movie, Star Wars (for example, the Knightscope bot).  These robots are being used by swanky silicon elites as essentially robot security guards and night watchmen.  As the mini drone robot patrols its beat, onboard cameras and microphones record its surroundings and beam the sounds & images back to headquarters.  If it detects certain sounds like glass breaking, gun shots, or a scream, it will alert the police and make its video available upon their arrival.

   These drone bots are currently in use but the larger, hard robots previously mentioned are only a few years away from being deployed against the people to make them do what’s required.  As Artificial Intelligence continues to develop and ultimately surpasses humans, who determines “what’s required” may switch to the bots.  Anyone remember that movie series?


General Labor Bots

   Most of us have seen video of the robots on automobile assembly lines.  That has been done for years. Those industrial robots are now moving into electronics assembly at an amazing pace.  Many cell phones today are now being built entirely from start to finish by an assembly line of robots.

    But manufacturer’s assembly lines are not the only place robots are being used.  Many locations in China are now featuring restaurant kiosks that provide fully cooked and prepared food done entirely by robotics. 

   Moley is a fixed position robot for kitchen use.  It has been designed to work in a person’s home, hovering over their stovetop and cooking and preparing food.

   Food preparation and manufacturing with robots is one thing, but the hotel industry and even television news reporting is now having robots adapted to those jobs, as well.

   As a cross between the hard robotics of the fully animated and the soft, fleshy robotics of the sexbots, a hybrid form of personal assistant robot has been developed to work in the service industry.  Japan even has one named, Erica developed for use as a television news anchor.

  NASA is now in the process of developing a fully autonomous astronaut robot, called “Valkyrie.”  Valkyrie has symmetrical parts designed to make replacement of the left or right sides interchangeable with just a few clicks and bolts.  It is currently being designed for a mission to Mars.

   Many of these robots possess various levels of Artificial Intelligence and while they may be running pre-programmed routines, some are also able to make their own decisions based upon input from their surrounding environment.

   As minimum wage laws continue to put pressure on business owners worldwide, the migration to cheaper and more reliable robots will soon outpace their human counterparts and most of the minimum wage jobs enjoyed by the youth and unskilled workers today will simply render that segment of the workforce obsolete.


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