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June 19, 2008

Robot Girlfriend?

I’ve known some lonely times in my life but I don’t think I will ever be lonely enough to get a robot companion. At least I hope not. Apparently the robot guys have not been created but there are now robot girls that lonely men can get to keep them company.

The 15 inch tall robotic girlfriend was created by Sega, the video game makers, in Tokyo. She kisses on command, puckering for human heads when she is in “love mode”. I am very curious to see how many of these things sale. Of course, it was made so I am imagining that there is a market of some sort for these little toys. Not to mention, I’ve seen some pretty scary things, such as men attached to human sized dolls so I guess that a little portable one might do as well.

Again I make the point that humans are starting to try to simulate what you get from human contact with a robot. The online dating thing was the first part of the equation that did just did not sit well with me. I have friends that have had entire relationships with people that they have never met in person before. Electronic words and uploaded photos to build relationships just is not attractive at all to me. However, many people claim to have found love through this evasive technique.

I guess that I just don’t think that any type of robot can replace what it is that human interaction brings. I am curious about how well this contraption sells and how many men actually feel a bit of their loneliness taken away by having it. What can a bunch of infrared sensors powered by batteries really do for a person? Will those little robotic kisses really make a difference?

Sega is planning on selling 10,000 of the little robotic girlfriend during the first year of having it on the market. It will be available in Tokyo in September for about $175 dollars. So not only is it a robotic mini girl, it is not cheap either. Are guys really going to buy this thing? Unfortunately, I think that some will actually spring for it and find some type of satisfaction from having it.

I think it is a sad commentary to say that our world has become so cold and detached that robotic girlfriends are viable business items. What type of a world are we building for our children? Will the next generation grow up with the idea that robotic substitutes will do if you can’t find a mate? It might sound crazy right now but the robotic girlfriend can pass out business cards, sing and dance. Just what girlfriends are supposed to do?

I wonder how well the robotic girlfriend will sell in North America? Is there a market for such a contraption here. I am sure there will be a few people that will buy it just out of curiosity but will some people get it for loneliness? We will have to wait and see.

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