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By Joaquín Roberto Díaz Durán

joaquindiazescultor@gmail.com; JoaquinRoberto.Diaz@alu.uclm.es

Sex robots Ars Electronica 2017


By Joaquín Roberto Díaz Durán

joaquindiazescultor@gmail.com; JoaquinRoberto.Diaz@alu.uclm.es

Illustration 1, The woman, the android and the hand of the engineer, Joaquín R. Díaz, 2007, at Ars Electronica 2017,
Linz

Artificial Intimacy was the name of a room exhibition dedicated to show a variety of devices and
projects about sex. From tele-presence dildos and male masturbators passing by kissing app and
OMGYES (an archive of tutorials about female pleasure) to cybernetic sex dolls with AI.

This gallery was located at PostCity the festival main space. PostCity was a massive show room,
with space for concerts, parties, conferences, workshops, performances and a lot of artworks and
projects. PostCity has two main parts, paid and free entrance. Artificial Intimacy was part of free
entrance space, but just for 18+ old people.

This room was shocking in many senses, you could see: artificial neural network generating
pornography, pedagogic sex projects and an android alike sex doll, Samantha.

Samantha is a human size sex doll ensemble with sensors, microphones, speakers, a computer
provided with AI and memory. Not just the ram memory!

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By Joaquín Roberto Díaz Durán
joaquindiazescultor@gmail.com; JoaquinRoberto.Diaz@alu.uclm.es

This doll (I can’t say it is a robot because it can’t move) is made by Spanish-Chinese company
placed in Barcelona called Synthea Amatus.

Despite of all the reflexive potential contained in this doll, capable of make us think in the social
prejudices and fears, I would like to speak about a scene provoked by the doll.

Samantha (the sex doll) was sitting on a coach in the middle of the exhibition room. She arise the
curiosity, in many sense, in all the presents. We all were shay, touching the legs and the fingers,
like if she was to wake up suddenly. This scene remembers the Yoko Ono CUT PIECE (1964)
performance where she was in the stage with a scissors to endure whatever the public liked to do
with her. In this case despite of the curios people, I count myself in this group, there was a woman
who in a very natural way sat near Samantha and began, not to touch her, but speak with her like
a woman. While she was doing this performance suddenly arrived Dr. Sergi Santos, the co-creator
of Samantha, who began to explain how Samantha works and how was build, in a very technical
and engineering style. During his explanation the real woman was making questions like: why she
just had sensor in the vagina, mouth and breast? Why she doesn’t have a tong? Why it was
designed just for men?

It was notorious the interest of Dr. Sergi to explain the doll as a very complex technical devise,
trying to go on a neutral zone using terms like evoke potential and so on. Thanks to the smart
questions of the spontaneous performer we could notice how this apparently just a technical
device is in fact a reflection of our society inclination for a male point of view and seeing the
woman like an object. I think it was value of having Samantha in Ars Electronica because it open
the gate to think about us in a technological age replicating our stereotypes and updating the
power relations.

What could or will happen with the introduction of sexual robots? If there is an impact with the
introduction of industrial robots in the national/world economy what will happen with their
introduction inside intimate life, will they collect data, what will be made with this information...?
The technology is not good or bad in itself, it depends how it is used. This is as true as say that the
design of some things helps to have some kind of behaviors instead others.