Before the robots replace us we will…
Before the robots replace us we will make love to them. This point is becoming increasingly clear as I wander through the odd world of teledildonics and marvel at the leaps and bounds by which the technology – once in the realm of fantasy – has become a mundane reality.
If you are skittish or squeamish about human sexuality I beseech you to click out right now or visit another, more palatable site. As it stands, I believe, this topic is part of technological advancement, no matter how squishy it seems.
Because I write about teledildonics I was invited to visit a site called Flirt4Free [NSFW] where, women, dressed or undressed, live stream themselves in their little jewelbox rooms. It’s some sort of proto-Gibsonian sex club where everyone is smiling and you, the user, can peek in briefly before deciding and requesting a paid show which usually consists of a slow striptease. The ladies, who ranged in style and fetish served, were all charming and beautiful and it’s abundantly clear why a lonely man or women would frequent their haunts. The human gaze, even over the Internet, is an important thing.
The site recently enabled something called the Kiiroo and outfitted some of the women with white dildos, called Pearls, that respond to touch along the tip and sides. On the other end a user docks with something called the Onyx. This is a wireless Onahole (a sex jar) and has a motorized arm that slides up and down. Originally aimed at those in long distance relationships, this system now allows strangers to safely “integrate” with each other over vast distances.
The site features a few Kiiroo-equipped women under the “Interactive” heading. You choose one. When you initiate a session the women languorously enable their Pearls while the user on the other end turns on his Onyx. The Onyx takes a while to connect on OS X but when it is ready to go it begins to buzz rhythmically like a drone ready for take-off. The user should lubricate the device before entering. The women then use the Pearl and the sensations are transferred to the Onyx.
Then begins the true test of your sexual mettle. Having sex with the Onyx is like mating with a 3D printer. The motors buzz, the machine wiggles, and the system tries to mimic the onscreen action with about a second’s delay. As you can imagine it’s a mish-mash of sensation that is at once pleasurable and slightly disturbing. But this is not a quiet pastime by any stretch as the motor is as loud as a broken Furby.
Was it pleasurable? Yes and no. The titillation of the live person at the other end was certainly fun but the device itself was, for lack of a better word, imprecise. It’s an exciting prospect, to be sure, and well worth a look if you’re into this sort of thing.
But the price – about six dollars a minute for the visit and $369 for the Kiiroo – is quite steep. The Kiiroo was originally aimed at couples but this solution, ostensibly one of the first of its kind, is aimed at those who would be willing to spend cash for release.
As an old hand at testing sex jars, the Kiiroo coupled with the site was definitely something different. The Kiiroo can also be paired with specially coded videos that are far better synced. Whereas the Kiiroo and a computer is a masturbatory experience, a Kiiroo and a human on a screen is something a bit different. It is private, it makes you slightly vulnerable, and, thanks to the buzzing motors, feels a bit goofy. As the technology improves, however, I can see a real benefit to this system. It is human, it allows interaction not normally associated with act of self-pleasure, and with more immersive experiences I suspect it will be well worth the price of admission.
In the end does the Kiiroo replace companionship? Absolutely not. Can it help a long distance relationship? Potentially. Does it at a clever twist to the standard webcam model? Absolutely. The system, no matter how sterile or robotic, can mimic intimacy through a mediated platform and it’s pretty fun. While the costs could be potentially disastrous (I’m reminded of when I was a teen and my friend once rang up sex lines with reckless obsession from all of his friends’ houses during a six month period resulting in massive phone bills) the prudent user will hopefully know when to fold.
Am I worried about Kiiroo? No. When we give robots power over the last thing that makes us human we risk losing everything to them. I have no fear that we’ll be lost to Kiiroo any time soon but its forthcoming offspring, coupled with VR and whatever else we invent, will lull us into strange worlds that will be increasingly difficult to escape. Perhaps, dangerously, many of us will want to make the trip and some of us will want to stay longer than we should. To paraphrase the bard: “How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such robots in’t.”