The robots are here. Are the "sexbots" close behind? Amid reports from the Drudge Report to The New York Times , sex robots are rapidly becoming a part of the national conversation about the future of sex and relationships.
Remembering the chatbot that was my introduction to artificial intelligence.
Back when texts cost 50 cents to send and receive, and people paid for Internet by the minute, AOL Instant Messenger was what the cool kids used to keep in touch. Armed with awesome screen names filled with references to passing pop culture trends and random numbers, people around the country tied up their parents' phone lines for hours on end while talking about nothing of any particular importance. In an ideal world, those conversations were with other people, but when your Buddy List was looking a little sparse, there were plenty of bots willing to have awkward discussion at any time of day. One of the most prolific accounts was SmarterChild, who quickly became a conversation partner for lonely people everywhere. I originally wanted to have a real conversation with SmarterChild for this article, but it appears that it has been extinct for quite a few years.
There's a problem defining what a 'sex robot' is
It's hard to tell if there's anything left to invent. Airbnb for dogs? That's real. Tinder, but for gamers?
The few bright spots that do exist in my memory, though, revolve around the three essential pillars: television, books, and AOL Instant Messenger. There were few things as satisfying as logging on to AIM and finding a Buddy List populated with the dorky screen names of dozens of my friends. Whether they were across the room or half a world away, I could connect with anyone I wanted from the safety of my own bedroom. SmarterChild was an AIM chatbot for the lonely and uninformed. Or the particularly chatty and curious, depending on how you look at it. It was armed with a wealth of information, from movie timetables to stock quotes, and could offer awkward, stilted conversation at all hours of the day. The days of SmarterChild are over, but chatbots are alive and well — perhaps more literally than ever. Companies often use chatbots, computer programs designed to mimic human conversation, to collect data from customers or provide frequently requested services and information. The future of artificial intelligence remains a topic of hot debate among programmers.